Vintage planers

I just saw a Porter Cable planer model 653 go for nearly $400 on ebay. It was in near mint condition and a comparable Skil 100 would have likely sold for over $1000. I’m a furniture maker first and a novice wood board shaper second, and I have a #653, though don’t use it. I suggest that compared to the Skil 100, which I have also used, it’s better built, twice the motor, has a spiral cutter, parts are still available, and overall a superior planer. So why don’t pro shapers use it. Too heavy? Can anyone give any advice or thoughts on this planer for shaping. As a side note, Porter Cable / Rockwell used to make a model 167 “block plane”. I’ve had one for decades and haven’t used it for years, but it seems to me that such a planer would be good for planing the hollow area of the nose rocker. Has anyone had any experience with this planer?

oh no don’t tell me we are going to start seeing planers and shit going for stupid amounts of money.

better still, didn’t the 167 come in a version with an abrasive sleeve? And what planer other than the 653 comes with a little gizmo that lets it sharpen its own cutters? The Skils are indeed going for an improbably high amount, while as yet the 653s are still going for prices comparable to whatthey sold for retail, not long ago. Though I dunno how long cutters will be available - I may have to snag a few and stick 'em aside. doc…

Speaking of 653 cutters, you’re probably aware Delta/Porter Cable still sell the replacement cutter, which is carbide and sells for $150 (cutter only).

Hi, Yes, those carbide jobs I’ve seen, though I much prefer the steel. Everybody seems to go nuts over carbide cutters, but as you know steel cutters are not only more easily sharpened but you can get 'em sharper than you can carbide. My tool repair guy mentioned not too long ago that he could get me some of the steel cutters - have to see what I can come up with. thanks doc…

Doc, If you get a line on steel cutters for the 653 post it. I agree with you about steel vs. carbide. When possible I do a double bevel on all my steel tools. On a plane blade for example: I’ll bevel and sharpen/hone it at 45 degrees. Then I’ll change the angle by about two degrees and hone a new razor edge on the end. It’s only about 1/32" back, but now you only have to re-sharpen and maintain a tiny band as you continue to re-hone it - means you don’t have to sharpen the full bevel every time you want a quick hone job. Eventually (months to many years) you’ll work your way to the last part of the initial 45 degree bevel and you’ll start all over again with a new ground 45 degree job. If you like your hand chisels ground and honed at 22 degrees, you can first grind and sharpen it to 24 degrees, then do that sliver of a second bevel at the desired 22 degrees. This has gotten way out there from the subject of the 653 blades, but your mention of steel vs. carbide got me off and running that direction. Razor sharp well maintained cutting edges make the whole process more enjoyable and I believe it eventually shows in the work.

Virutex makes a couple that use abrasive drums.

the two ebay made-in-China planers I got for $45 each. Hmmm…? They are nice tools, came with spare brushes and a few other things; I like 'em.

Speaking of ridiculous amounts of money, here’s a cute little hand plane with a cute little price and it isn’t even electric.

Heee…yes, I kinda like those, though they sure don’t give 'em away. And something like 95% of my work these days is wood rather than foams . Same company, I happened to notice, has a cute little vaccuum bag kit that’s not horribly expensive. Now, check out what the guy is doing in the middle pic…

I guess if you really know what you’re doing, you wouldn’t even need a separate sander.

though getting to where you knew what you were doing could be a bit expensive…

Y’know, I had been looking for one of those. Until now. Damnyuppie collectors. Why can’t they stay with those silly little ceramic whatsits or maybe baseball cards. There is an old tool store fairly close to where I live. Fortunately, they realise that there are still people who work with hand tools, not just whacko collectors, so they have one area for those who want to buy $500 planes that’ll sit in a collection and another area for $35 planes that’ll get used. And you know, it’s a funny thing - they seem to like selling me a box of tools and then discounting 'em 'cos I’ll be using them a whole lot more than they like Damnyuppie tool collectors.

Doc whats the name of this store and where? Thanks

OK now i’m getting horny with all of this plane chatter. I hate those friggin yuppie collectors! 25 years ago I had a sort-of apprenticeship to a master furnituremaker who collected and used hand tools. I spent wonderful times using most of his hundreds of planes. Scores of Norris planes in his shop, about anything Stanley ever made, and hundreds of joiner’s bench and molding planes. When he died I bought what I could from his widow, the rest went to collectors. God how I wish I had that Norris A-7 jack in my hands again, they’re selling for upwards of $2000 now. Although there were several low-angle jack planes (like the E-bay photo)in the shop, I never had much use for them. I preferred traditional English planes and still do. I like the way my planes sing to me, so I keep them in tune. ANYONE NEEDING TOOLS FOR BOARD SHAPING WOULD BE WELL ADVISED TO SEARCH E-BAY UNDER WOODWORKING TOOLS-PLANES AND BUY AN OLD STANLEY BLOCK PLANE FOR LESS THAN WHAT YOU WOULD PAY FOR NEW STANLEY CRAP!! A QUALITY TOOL IS A JOY FOREVER!!

Lance, I’ve been a furniturmaker for 30 years so I’m singing from the same hymnal when you speak of finely tuned planes. A razor sharp quality plane sliding down the edge of a piece of walnut with that familiar indescribable little sound is an experience few in this life will know. Speaking of planes and tryig to bring this back to crafting surfboards: for taking down stringers, if anyone out there wants to invest in what i believe is the most elegant and highest quality production made block plane currently being made, “invest” in the Lie Nielsen adjustable mouth block or low angle block ($150). Then if you’ve still got money to throw into tools (lucky you) go to Woodcraft Stores online or visit one and get their small palm plane fashioned after the old Stanley 100 (3 1/2" x 1"). Also have their version of the old Stanley 100 1/2 which has a radiused sole for getting into really tight hollows (nose concaves and scooped nose decks?) They are made of cast manganese bronze and sell for #79.oo. I am fortunate and spoiled enough to own both the Lie Nielsen and the bronze palm plane and I expect my son and his will someday love them as much as I do._

its really that way with the surforms too, The old 50’s 60’s ones are so much better that the plastic/aluminum ones they sell now. I love the old wood handles and the weight, Ive actually bent the sides of the new surforms since they are so lightweight.

Richard I have the Nielson plane and it is a fantastic tool, do you have a web site for the wood crft store I would like to get one of the stanleys you mentioned.

Yea Doug, It’s a remake of the old Stanley 100 and 100 1/2, but sold under Woodcraft’s name. I’ve contacted Lie Nielsen, but they have no current plans to produce a similar one. I think you’ll like the woodcraft version a lot. Are you a shaper? Thinking of the standard model 100 or the radiused model 100 1/2? Enjoy the ride!

and while you’re about it - Here’s a guy making his own planes… and the company he gets his tool kits from ( see link below) - some of the luthier’s tools are not only useful but fairly inexpensive. Click on Tools and then select Luthier’s Tools. And then, for those with far, far more money than they need - Ok, returning to our level - The Stanley Bailey’s at rational prices. Quite inexpensive, in fact. May have to snag a couple of the 60 1/2s before they get snapped up…