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Thread: Dunlap planes

  1. #1
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    Dunlap planes

    A while ago I picked up a Dunlap jackplane for $30 and have been trying to use it. I got the sole pretty flat with sandpaper mounted to a granite surface plate and have sharpened the blade to a mirror finish. It seems to work pretty nicely so far. I edge jointed a board and was able to get unbroken full width shavings about 2 mils thick. It's rusty though, and the handles are not in good shape and are a bit loose but I feel like this could be made into a decent tool. I don't have much first hand knowledge about handplanes, esp their history.

    Is Dunlap considered to be any good? Where can a find some good how-to's for restoring it better. I'd like some nice new handles for it too.

    thanks,
    David

  2. #2
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    Dunlap was a product name Sears used back in the 50's for a 2nd. quality line of tools below their Craftsman line. I have no idea how good the iron is. Probably another iron would fit it,maybe with slight mods. It is probably a fairly old plane. If it works,use it !

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the info George. As I said, I don't know much about the brand names. I also have a Sargent jackplane that I'm getting tuned up. Any insight on the reputation of Sargent?

    David

  4. #4
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    David,
    Johnny Kleso's site is an excellent resource for how to restore a hand plane. http://www.rexmill.com/

  5. #5
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    Any insight on the reputation of Sargent?
    Some people prefer the Sargent planes over a Stanley.

    From all I have heard, they are a good quality product.

    I have never owned one.

    jim

  6. #6
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    I have a Dunlap jack plane - no experience with it yet

    Most of the Sears tools (and Wards and other department stores too) were made by someone else under contract. Major makers: Stanley, Millers Falls, Sargent, Union.

    Walt Quadrato at Brass City Records and Tools has a handy guide for IDing bench planes made by these four makers, online at http://www.brasscityrecords.com/tool...lane%20id.html.

    My Dunlap plane appears to have been made by Union, based on the lateral adjuster. Union had a pretty decent reputation.

    As George Wilson said, you can probably (I would say, "almost certainly") fit another iron, if the existing iron turns out to get dull quickly; but you should try it out first. Often they're pretty decent steel. As an example, I have a Wards Master No. 4 plane (probably made by Sargent, based on the lateral adjuster), on which the iron is incredible - it went MONTHS of intermittent use before I had to sharpen it. If the cutting iron on yours is poor steel, you can shop around for a garage sale/flea market iron - I pick them up for $1 - or buy one from one of the specialty folks. Hock, Lie-Nielsen, and Lee Valley all make them. I like the Lee Valley irons because the back is machined nearly dead flat, to save you setup time.

    On the other hand, I have a Sargent version of the Stanley No. 78 duplex rabbet that is clearly built to a price point lower than the Stanley - cheaper casting, no adjustment except your fingers for the iron, etc. I haven't had time to play with it, so I don't know how good the cutting iron is, but for $6 (missing a fence - it's going to cost me more than I paid for it to mount a fence, and I still don't know why I'm going to the extra effort...), it was a worthwhile buy.

  7. #7
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    The LN open sided block rabbeting plane is a copy of the old Sargent,right down to the flat top front knob,except the sargent was cast iron. I have the LN model.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the advice. I like the Sargent, it seems to be made well and it feels comfortable in my hands. It needs some work though.

    David

  9. #9
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    David - Sargent made a line of planes denoted "VBM" or Very Best Made. I know some that consider them to be superior to Stanley's zenith (pre-1960s).

    Regarding an iron for your plane, I'd strongly consider a Hock. I've half a dozen of them so far, and they are the equal in performance to any other blade I have, including Lie-Nielsen, Lee Valley, and high-end antique British brands like Norris, I. Sorby, Marples, and others.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Keller NC View Post
    David - Sargent made a line of planes denoted "VBM" or Very Best Made. I know some that consider them to be superior to Stanley's zenith (pre-1960s).

    Regarding an iron for your plane, I'd strongly consider a Hock. I've half a dozen of them so far, and they are the equal in performance to any other blade I have, including Lie-Nielsen, Lee Valley, and high-end antique British brands like Norris, I. Sorby, Marples, and others.

    Would it say VBM somewhere on the plane? I'll consider getting the Hock. It is better than an A2 from LV?

    Thanks,
    David

  11. #11
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    My Dunlap plane appears to have been made by Union, based on the lateral adjuster. Union had a pretty decent reputation.
    I had a Union plane that was a very good user. The blade was heavier than a Stanley. The lateral adjuster seemed a little lighter than a Stanley.

    Stanley bought Union Plane Company in about 1920. Union Tool Company spun off the plane division about 1917 or so, give or take a few years.

    One thing to consider is find a plane maker to your liking and then stick with it. Otherwise, you will have to remember which have depth adjusters one way and which are the other and the same with the lateral adjusters.

    It is bad enough that after the type 6 planes Stanley changed the depth adjuster to a left handed thread. Almost all my left handed thread planes have the brass adjusters from after 1920, 1-1/4 inch. All the earlier ones have the original 1 inch adjuster so it makes it easy to know by the feel which way to turn for blade depth adjustments.

    Also, the spare parts from maker to maker are not all interchangeable.

    Even the blades may have a narrower slot from maker to maker.

    I have seen a lot of Union planes after about 1920 with Stanley Sweet Hart blades.

    jim

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