Sometimes when you buy a plane, you don’t realize what it really is until later. What *looks* like a Stanley No.18, probably is, well – maybe. There are two Stanley No.18’s in my collection – but while I was photo-cataloging them this weekend – I came across an anomaly.
The first plane has a excelsior-style body, and a lever cap with a patent date of 2-18-13. The excelsior body is normally associated with early Stanley plane bodies, predating Traut’s design patent for a plane body, dated 1897. The plane has a lateral adjustment lever, added in 1895, which implies that the body is mid-1890’s. However, the lever cap is more likely associated with planes sporting the “Hand-y” depression, which was patented in 1897. It is more likely the excelsior body of the No.18 would have an earlier version of the knuckle lever cap.
The second plane, has a “Hand-y” depression, and the throat adjustment eccentric lever (patented 1894). This later body No.18 has an earlier version lever cap. In all likelihood it is possible for the body and lever-cap to co-exist, were it not for the fact that the lever cap itself has no patent information inscribed on it. This in itself implies a lever cap which pre-dates the patent of 1886, as clamping levers after this are stamped with “STANLEY” “PAT DEC 28 86.”.
The fix? Swap the lever caps. Now the planes look much more realistic.