Unbreakable smoothing planes

As a side note to the “the block planes of superheroes”, apart from the Stanley S4 (1926-1942), there is also Stanley’s two metal “Liberty Bell” planes.  The “Liberty Bell” planes were introduced in 1876 as five wooden models (122, 127, 129, 132, and 135), and two metal models (104, 105) – and sold until 1918. Both the Liberty Bell No.104, (Fig.1b) and No.105, were designed by Henry Richards and Justus Traut (Patent #: 176,152/RE7,565) and have a pressed metal sole (Fig.1d) – advertised in the early Stanley catalogs as “wrought steel stock”. There are two cast metals sub-structures which are riveted to the bed of the plane to facilitate the addition of the (i) front knob (Fig.1a), and (ii) the plane handle and frog (Fig.1c). These sub-structures are cast (solid) rather than pressed to provide much needed weight to the plane –  even though “lightness” was one of their advertising values.


Fig.1: The Liberty Bell No.104

They were reputedly made “for outdoor work where tools are apt to get knocked around and are subjected generally to more or less rough usage”. Due to the thinness of the sole, and the space between the pressed sole and the cast sub-structures, it is likely these planes were susceptible to corrosion, especially pitting.


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