Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Rocking Chair

Friends, Woodworkers, Blog Readers, I come not to praise Justus Traut, Edmund Schade and the Board of The Stanley Rule & Level Company, New Britain.

No sir, no way.

I finally decided I was sick of trying to keep this stoopid thing under wraps, mainly because I feel the need to Moan, and also I get more done when I have to Blog about it. So in a nutshell, I have to write something coherant about using a Stanley #55 Universal Combination plane. I said I'd do it, in a moment of weakness, and eventually a working example of same was assembled chez Alf. Well I say "working"...

This is the crankiest, low down, most evil-minded, sonofa... Ha hum. What I mean is - It's the worst example of a combination plane I've ever used.

It's already had a complete body swap because the original had the fence rod holes bored out of true, the fence has to be virtually bent to get it parallel to the skates, a spur cutter had to be sent from over the ocean, turned out to be for the wrong side and still needed to be filed to fit, the fence face was upside down, etc, etc. I've always felt a little superior to folks who say they need to use pliers to get the thumbscrews tight enough on their combi to stop the fence moving. I apologise unreservedly - this monstrosity is one such plane.

Just today I discovered the shoe thing that fits on the auxilary centre bottom doesn't - until I filed the bolt hole. Ack, and I've only got so far as doing the basics of ploughing, dadoing, T&G and beading. Norm knows what'll happen when I get to the tricky stuff - which is next...

I'm assuming this is simply One Of Those Planes and that other examples of its breed are merely just finicky. But to all those combination haters out there - if you got one like this bastard, well you have my every sympathy and I can see exactly where you're coming from. Do yourself a favour and get yourself a Record #043 toot sweet; it might help with the traumatic flashbacks.

We have a sort of saying/shorthand in our family, when someone really wants a certain thing for ages and ages. We say it's their rocking chair. Somewhere in family history or something must be a tale of someone who longed for a rocking chair, but when they finally got one it turned out to be a terrible disappointment and not nearly as satisfying as the anticipation of the chair. The latter, of course, now gone forever. For a while now, as I drooled and begged for one month after month, year after year, the #55 has been understood to be my rocking chair - and, oh woe is me, so it is proving to be.


  1. Wow! I decided my #55 was too finicky and got rid of it but I didn't have those problems! This does help me have a little more sympathy for those who moan about combi problems.

  2. I should have sent you mine instead of selling it, Alf. It was a sweet plane. I have used others which simply didn't adjust as easily, but none of which would be likened to your present dragon to battle.

    But I have been witness to some which I don't believe will ever work well. My feeling is these plans are virtually fitted together when new. Composed examples such as the ill-working ones I have seen have tantrums and rebel at every turn.

    Sorry you are having troubles. Perhaps it'll balance the article with warnings...

    Take care, Mike

  3. Always thought I "needed" a #55, but not so sure now - might not live long enough to get it working properly.

    Paul Chapman


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