Stanley Tools Combination Planes at the MacLachlin Woodworking Museum


The Stanley 46 and 47: Skew-bladed Dado, Fillister and Plow Planes

The Stanley 46 looks almost identical to the Stanley 45, except that the cutters are skewed or angled with respect to the bottom of the plane, and no beading or moulding blades were offered with them. Early models of the 46 and 47 had no fence, although the early 46's had a guard plate that attached to the outside skate to facilitate rabbeting. The guard was dropped when the 46 was given a fence similar to the 45. (The 47 was only ever an adjustable dado plane, it never had a fence or a guard plate so it couldn't be used to rabbet or plow).
Planes with skew blades are hard to sharpen because the angle of the blade must be maintained or else one side of the cutter will project lower than the other, and you won't be able to set the blade evenly. Since the cutters are set at a skew angle, they are more effective than straight cutters when working across the grain. This makes the plane much more useful for doing things such as cutting dados. This plane also has spur cutters on both skates which also help with all cross grain planing. To cut across grain the main cutter must be razor sharp, as will the spur cutters. Again, set the spurs slightly lower than the main cutter to slice the woodgrain in advance. The fence isn't used for cutting dados but instead tack or clamp a thin piece of wood as a temporary guide for the inside skate. We've never use the Stanley 46 or 47 as a dado plane - we have several sizes of Stanley 39 dado planes. Their set up is the same, and they do an absolutely fantastic job.

The Stanley 46 really excels at cutting rabbets, and is much preferred to to the Stanley 41 or 45 planes. The skew cutters help to keep the fence tight against the board, and the plane cuts tight spiral shavings called "spills" which can run the entire length of the board. Besides being satisfying to use, these planes make an impressive demonstration for our workshop and provides convenient "fire starters" for the museum's bread oven.

The Stanley 47 uses the same castings as the 46, but the front right depth stop is ground off. Being less expensive than the 46, it also came with fewer cutters and no fence or guard plate. The 47 pictured here is an earlier japanned model and includes an outside skate that was taken from an early 46. The Stanley 46 is a slightly later model with nickel plating and a piece of rosewood on the fence.

Back to Stanley 41 - 45 Next: Stanley 55

Copyright 1999 01 Inc., NYC