Plans are coming together for the 2017 Annual meeting at Old Sturbridge Village, an organization and venue that has had a relationship with EAIA as far back as 1946, the date that the Village was founded and opened for business. The Village interprets life in a rural New England village during approximately 1790 through 1840, a period of great economic, social and industrial change. It includes more than 40 original buildings, including homes, meetinghouses, a district school, country store, bank, working farm, three water-powered mills, and trade shops – all situated on more than 200 scenic acres. In addition, the Village has a collection of more than 50 thousand items and an extensive library of early works.
Old Sturbridge Village serves as an ideal location for the Annual meeting, providing all of the resources in one location necessary to address the interests of every EAIA member, from those interested in its extensive collections to those interested in seeing how things were done in the period represented….and perhaps of more interest….how to do them. Old Sturbridge Village not only has very knowledgeable interpreters and a very extensive collection and library, but it is well known for its educational philosophy, particularly a hands-on approach to learning by doing.
The interpreted aspects of the Village revolve around life in a typical village of the period. The historic homes are interpreted for activities that were typical for residences which range in size and sophistication from a very small family house (the Little House) to the simple but comfortable home of a blacksmith (Bixby House) and ultimately the sophisticated, large, and well-furnished home of a well-to-do farmer (Salem Towne House). Kitchens are often in operation and domestic activities such as spinning and sewing are evident.
The typical crafts of the period are demonstrated at the appropriate venues, in the shoe shop, blacksmith shop, tinsmith shop, and cooper shop, all of which are relocated historic buildings.
Of particular interest to those interested in early industrial processes of towns near rivers….and most were near rivers….are the mills of which the Village has three: a gristmill, carding mill and sawmill. All three are powered from the Village’s millpond on the Quinebaug River and are operating on a regular basis.
Members of the Fiber Interest Group will enjoy the wide range of fiber arts interpreted at the Village. The fiber processes start where fiber starts: with sheep and plants, all part of the agricultural aspects of the village. The process continues with various fiber processes including dying, carding, spinning, weaving and ultimately design and sewing.
Members will also be interested in a number of static exhibits including guns of the period, lighting, glass and one of the country’s largest collection of clocks of the period.
Several of the events of the Annual Meeting will be held in the onsite dining and convention facilities of the Village including the Stephen Brewer Theater and the rooms of the Oliver Wight Tavern.
Perhaps one of the most attractive aspects of the Annual Meeting activities will be the hand-on activities for which the Village is very well known and emphasizes as part of engaging history. These will include actually doing blacksmithing and tinsmithing in the Villages educational facilities. For the Fiber Interest Group it will include planning and starting a fiber arts project while at the Village.
The planning for the 2017 Annual Meeting at Old Sturbridge Village is coming along well. Save the date (May 17-20, 2017) and look for information in the coming months about the detailed program and registration.
Aluminum Block Planes from the Stanley Model Shop
In the first couple of decades of the 20th century, aluminum became available to manufacturers at a reasonable cost. Although aluminum comprises 8.2% of the earth’s crust, making it the most abundant metal in nature, it never occurs in its free form. In 1825, Hans Christian Oersted, a Danish chemist, was the first to produce small amounts of free aluminum. It remained extremely expensive to produce aluminum until Charles M. Hall, a young American chemist, and Paul Héroult, a French chemist, almost simultaneously invented a process in 1886 for obtaining aluminum oxide at a reasonable cost. German scientist Karl Joseph Bayer developed a process to obtain aluminum from bauxite a few years later, and the Hall and Bayer processes are used to this day to produce aluminum. Hall founded the Pittsburgh Reduction Company in 1888 which eventually became Alcoa (The Aluminum Company of America). Hall’s first products were tea kettles and pots and pans, but it didn’t take long for other manufacturers to appreciate the advantages of aluminum. Count Ferdinand Zeppelin used aluminum to make the frames for his Zeppelin airships. In 1903, the Wright brothers used a cast aluminum crankcase in their first airplane to save weight. This was the first time aluminum was used in the construction of an aircraft engine. By the First World War the Germans produced the first full metal aircraft, the Junkers J1 monoplane that was built primarily from aluminum.
Aluminum continued to gain popularity and found increasing uses after the First World War. Stanley paid attention to these developments as well. On April 28, 1915 the Stanley Rule and Level Operating Committee voted that “…the Manufacturing Department be authorized to make 11 #45 planes the same as the regular #45 made to Spec. #1111, with the following exceptions – the main stock, Fence, Fence Plate, and Sliding Section to be made of Aluminum, the finish on these parts to be brushed and lacquered, and that the Inspection and Packing Departments be authorized to accept these goods.”
Despite these instruction from the Operating Committee, Stanley did not offer any aluminum planes for sale in their catalogs until 1925, when an expanded line of Stanley aluminum planes were offered for sale in the Stanley No.34 catalog. They included the A4, A5, and A6, bench planes, and the A18 block plane (See Fig. 1). The A78 duplex rabbet and filletster plane and the A45 combination plane were added to this line in the 1926 Stanley No. 34 catalog(See Fig. 2). These planes were identical to the same Stanley planes offered in cast iron but the bodies, frogs, and fences were made of aluminum and no japanning was done on these planes. They were significantly lighter than their cast iron counterparts and were about 30 percent more expensive .
Stanley didn’t aggressively market or advertise their line of aluminum planes. They were lighter weight, didn’t rust, and were not likely to crack or break like cast iron when dropped, all of which were good selling points. However, the aluminum planes when used, tended to discolor the wood, leaving black marks that were hard to remove. They also wore unevenly and the aluminum bodies were subject to scratches and dings if not handled carefully. Stanley also had the misfortune of introducing these planes just prior to the onset of the Great Depression and their extra cost didn’t help sales, so these aluminum bodied planes were removed from production in 1935.
You’d think that Stanley had learned their lesson the first time, but here are two aluminum block planes from the Stanley Model Shop that prove they at least thought about trying it again (See Fig. 3). The first plane is identical to a Stanley #110 block plane, but instead of cast iron, the body of this plane is cast aluminum with prominent milling marks on the sidewalls. It is 7 and 1/8th inches long, 2 inches wide and has a 1 and 5/8ths inch cutter. A 1/32nd of an inch-thick piece of polished rolled steel has been glued to the bottom of the plane, most likely to overcome the problem of black marks being left on the planed surface by the aluminum and to minimize the scratching and gouging of the plane sole that was so common on Stanley’s earlier aluminum planes (see Fig. 4).
There are no casting marks or numbers on the body of the plane. The front knob is stained hardwood screwed onto a coarsely threaded post on the toe of the plane. The lever cap is nickel plated cast iron with the number “12” and the letter “B” stamped on its inner surface. The lever cap adjusting screw is made from stamped steel. These stamped steel lever cap adjusting screws appeared in the Stanley Full Line catalogs in the mid 1980’s placing this plane squarely in that time period (See Fig 5).
About 1979 Stanley changed the cutter adjusting mechanism and the method of attaching the lever cap on their #220 block plane that they had produced continuously since 1898. (See Fig 6). The cutter adjusting mechanism on the earlier versions of the #220 block plane was based on patent #645,220 awarded to Justus Traut on March 13, 1900.
While the adjustment mechanism on the post 1979, #220 block planes looks different, it operates using the same principle as seen on the earlier versions of the plane. A bent strap with a small nib on the forward end is attached to the shaft of the adjustment knob. Corresponding slits in the cutter fit over the small nib. Turning the knob moves the cutter to increase or decrease the depth of cut. It is a surprisingly sensitive adjustment mechanism and works very well. The front knob is stained hardwood . The lever cap on these planes was also different from the lever caps seen on the earlier version of the #220 block plane. Made of aluminum that was painted black, the lever cap has a hole that fits over a threaded rod screwed into the bed of the plane. Pressure is applied to the cutter by tightening a knurled thumb nut onto the threaded rod.
The second aluminum block plane from the Model Shop shown in Figure 7 is identical to the cast iron version of the #220 but is made of aluminum. Like the cast iron version, it is 7 inches long, 2 and 1/16th inches wide and has a 1 and 5/8ths inch wide cutter. The lever cap is identical to that of the #220 cast iron block plane but it is polished instead of painted and the front knob is stained hardwood that is pressure fitted onto a short post on the toe of the plane (the cast iron version has a threaded post on the toe to accept the front knob, See Fig. 8).
The cast iron version has U.S.A. cast in raised letters on the heel of the plane body while the aluminum version has “MADE IN USA” cast in raised letters on the heel of the plane body. Both lever caps have “1” and “AA” cast into the back of the lever cap but have different casting numbers on the bed of the plane just behind the mouth (see Fig. 9). This plane also dates to the late 1970’s or early 1980’s.
Neither one of these planes made it out of the Model Shop and into production. Stanley was actively shifting it’s production of woodworking planes from the United States to England during the decades of the 1970’s thru the 1980’s and didn’t seem to be very interested in producing high quality woodworking planes. These two block planes are in pristine condition and don’t look like they were ever used on a piece of wood. Despite the ongoing shift of plane production to England, the guys in the Model Shop were still active and produced these planes in the U.S. But it appears that the decision makers at Stanley decided that the idea of an aluminum plane was no better in the 1980’s than it was in the 1920’s. And yet, the existence of these two Stanley Model Shop aluminum block planes proves that, “what goes around comes around”. Stanley is still producing both the #110 block plane (first introduced in 1874) and the #220 block plane (first introduced in 1898) and these two block planes have been in continuous production in one form or another since their introduction all those years ago.
Paul Van Pernis
 Heckel, David E., The Stanley “Forty-Five” Combination Plane, Forty-Five Publishing, Charleston, Illinois, 2002, p.77. Original source for this information was microfilmed minutes of the Stanley Rule & Level Company Operating Committee Minutes, April 28, 1915, courtesy of Clarence Blanchard. Heckel’s book is an excellent resource for anyone interested in learning more about Stanley’s combination planes.
 Dave Heckel has discovered that the earliest listing in a Stanley No. 34 catalog of their aluminum planes was a September 1924 insert that was placed in a 1922 British Edition Catalog No. 34. It shows the A4, A5, A6, and the A 18. The earliest American catalog listings for their aluminum planes were the 1926 Stanley pocket catalog and the No. 34 catalog.
 Cast Iron Plane Cost -1926 Aluminum Plane Cost – 1926
No. 4 $ 4.40 No. A4 $ 5.80
No. 5 $ 5.00 No. A5 $ 6.60
No. 6 $ 6.50 No. A6 $ 8.80
No. 18 $ 3.00 No. A18 $ 3.50
No. 78 $ 3.30 No. A78 $ 4.20
No. 45 $15.00 No. A45 $20.00
 This version of the #220 block plane was made for a very short time. It first appears in the 1979/1980 Stanley Tools Full Line Catalog and by 1993 it was replaced by an alternate version of the #220 with a new locking lever cap, slightly different depth of cut adjuster, an added lateral cutter adjuster and a “moulded textured plastic finger grip.” Stanley started shifting the manufacture of woodworking planes from the U.S. to their plant in Sheffield, England starting in 1971. This shift continued and by 1989 all woodworking plane production was done in Stanley’s plant in Sheffield, England. (Many thanks to EAIA member Walter Jacob for providing the information on the shift of manufacturing from the U.S. to England!)T By 2008, Stanley woodworking plane manufacturing once again moved, this time to Mexico. Most Stanley plane users prefer planes made by Stanley prior to World War II.
There’s no question that Pam Howard sets a tough example. Teaching, being a mom and wife, traveling, and still finding the time to spin, weave, dye and blog! Down here in deep South Texas time and people move a lot s-l-o-w-e-r (especially in the summer). I’m waiting for the lovely white wool that I will be making into a hat. Meantime, I have been knitting another hat and scarf that I hope will be off the needles by the time I get Pam’s yarn. Just off my wheel is the last of a bag of grey alpaca I got from a friend who resurrected it from her stash box and gave to me.
I picked and carded it and then spun and two-plied. Since this wasn’t anything “special” or expensive I did a little experiment. After winding off and hanking, I put each of the three hanks into net washing bags and ran them through the washer (horrors, you say!!) on delicate, then hung to dry. They came out a treat! Clean and fluffy. This is alpaca so minimal felting issues to worry about. Weaving-wise I have an empty loom.
Draped over the Bergman loom are four of the summer/winter towels from the May/June Handwoven. I gave a workshop for my guild/study group on warping b2f recently and warped up about 200 threads of pearl cotton for a scarf. I did an undulating twill that was really cool. Easy peasy to weave and gorgeous when done. It went as a gift to a weaving friend. I snagged a stash off-load at our guild house recently of a two ply knitting cotton, Cassino, which I am laboriously separating into singles and will weave into a plaid.
And another stash add…I was in North Carolina in August and attended a fiber swap meet. I snagged a bunch of cones of cotton chenille in a cranberry red for a song. Do I sense a Christmas throw in the future???
Stash is like a savings account. Always there for the future. Finally, Patrick and I are hosting a dear friend who recently lost her husband. She has been here since May and will remain until she resettles in another state. She is a knitter, too, so we knit together alot and talk. I will miss her when she is gone. My house gathers dust, laundry is an afterthought, we eat out as much as in. When summer is over I will go outside and see what is left in the yard that hasn’t washed away in the storms or burned up in the heat. I’m looking forward to the EAIA board meeting and Brown’s auction in Harrisburg at the end of October. Can’t wait to see a tree that changes color and experience temps below 90! Oh yeah, and see my fiber buddy, Pam Howard! Keep spinning!
It has been three months since we had our first EAIA Fiber Interest group meeting. It was great to see such an enthusiastic group of fiber artists. Summer has been very busy but I have managed to get some weaving, dyeing, and spinning done. Speaking of spinning there is a fun project that has been brewing since our stay at Pleasant Hill Shaker Village that you might be interested in.
One of the nice things about our annual meetings is we get to meet other EAIA members. My husband and I were staying in the West Family Dwelling. So were several other folks from all over. Gwenn and Pat Lasswell and Dianne and were staying there as well. Gwenn was knitting, I was spinning some of Gwenn’s Jacob fleece and Dianne was putting a puzzle together. Soon the three of us were chatting about this and that. Dianne was curious about my spinning on my new wheel. Soon told us about how she had several Shetland cross sheep on her farm in Pensalvaina. She explained that she had sheared the sheep in the spring and had all of this wool. Of course, being the teacher in me, I said…” well you need to learn to spin.” Diane said she was not interested in learning to spin, but would I like to have the fleece ? I said ……Sure!
About three weeks later I hear a honking outside my house. My mail lady was calling me out to her car and said, you have mail!. Oh yes, I did, three bags full. Big cloth bags crammed full of wool. Oh my, I was thinking a small box of wool that I could wash and card in no time. Well, this was 13 1/2 pounds of mostly white wool. That is quite a lot of wool for one spinner ( me ) to skirt, wash, pick and card, let alone to spin. What was I going to do with all of this wool? I got it! I will talk to my “fiber partner in crime” Gwenn Lasswell.
Gwenn listened as I told her about the wool that Dianne had sent me. I also said that the wool needed to be skirted, washed and at least picked so that it would be spun. I then told her about my idea for part of this wool. Why not have a group fiber project. Dianne has donated the wool, I have it professionally cleaned and will spin a portion of it and Gwenn will spin additional yarns from this wool. After the wool is spun, Gwenn will knit a hat and I will weave a scarf. Then both pieces will be donated at our next EAIA Annual Meeting Silent Auction.
I started spinning my portion of wool last month when I accompanied my husband Ron on a trip. Ron took a week long advanced blacksmithing class and I just spent my time spinning on the wool project.
I am not sure if I am going to dye my yarn yet, but if I do I will most likely use natural dyes. All white is nice, but I sure do like more color in my life. Not sure what Gwenn is going to knit with her contribution of spun wool, but I bet it will be wonderful.
There is still almost 8 months till the next EAIA Annual Meeting. I hope sharing this blog post will peak your interest about our little adventure. It might make you more incline to come and join in on the fun at the annual meeting and better yet come and bid on these two hand-made fiber items. Hey get busy other members and try to work up a fun collaborative project for the silent auction. It really can be fun!!!
On October 21st, 2014, I posted a blog on this website about the United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s Order 210 regarding the importation, exportation and sale of ivory in the U. S. (You can read the earlier post here.). This order applied to revisions to the Endangered Species Act Special Rule for the African Elephant. After publication of the proposed rule as put forth in Order 210, the Fish and Wildlife Service received over one million comments regarding the rule. Many tool collectors, tool dealers, tool groups, musicians, scrimshanders, antique dealers, and others took the time to comment on the new regulations. Those comments were “considered” and some small alterations were made to the rule. On June 6, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published the final rule revising the African Elephant rule under section 4(d) of the Endangered Species Act [50 CFR 17.40 (e)] on June 6, 2016. The rule changes became effective July 6, 2016, 30 days after publication of the rule in the Federal Register.
Based on the information on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service web page (You can visit the FWS page here), here’s my interpretation of the rule as it is currently published:
1. The purchase, sale, and ownership of African elephant ivory containing tools is still legal within a state (intrastate commerce) if you can document that the ivory in the tool was lawfully imported prior to January 18, 1990. This documentation can be in the form of a certificate from the Fish and Wildlife Service, a dated photo, a dated letter, sales invoice, another document or other evidence referring to the item. If you live in New Jersey, New York, or California which have passed laws that are stricter than those adopted by the Fish and Wildlife Service, you should check your state laws regarding owning and/or selling ivory.
2. The sale of African elephant ivory items across state lines (interstate commerce) is prohibited, except for items that qualify as Endangered Species Act (ESA) Antiques and certain manufactured or handcrafted items that contain a small (de minimis) amount of ivory and meet specific criteria. De minimis is a Latin term used in the legal profession to describe something of minimal importance. In this case it’s used to describe something that is exempted from government rules or regulations.
To qualify for the Endangered Species Act Antiques Exemption, an item must meet all of the following criteria:
A. It must be 100 years old or older.
B. It must be composed in whole or in part from ivory from an Endangered Species Act listed species.
C. It must not have been repaired or modified with any Endangered Species Act listed species components (in this case ivory) after December 27, 1973.
D. It is being or was imported through an endangered species “antique port” (The allowable antique ports are Boston, New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Miami, San Juan, New Orleans, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Anchorage, Honolulu, and Chicago).
If the ivory containing tool was imported prior to September 22, 1982, or if the tool or item was created in the United States and never imported it must comply with elements A, B, and C above, but not element D.
To qualify for the de minimis exception, manufactured or handcrafted ivory tools must meet all of the following criteria:
(i) The ivory containing tool is located within the United States, the ivory containing tool was imported into the United States prior to January 18, 1990, or was imported into the United States under a Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) pre-convention certificate with no limitation on its commercial use.
(ii) If the item is located outside the United States, the ivory had to have been removed from the wild prior to February 26, 1976.
(iii) The ivory is a fixed or integral component or components of a larger manufactured or handcrafted tool and is not in its current form the primary source of the value of the tool, that is, the ivory does not account for more than 50% of the value of the tool. For tool collectors this could be a problem if the value of a woodworking plane containing ivory nuts, or a wedge, or other components made of ivory is more than twice the value of a similar wood working plane that does not include ivory.
(iv) The ivory must not be in a raw state, i.e. it can not be unworked ivory.
(v) The manufactured or handcrafted tool is not made wholly or primarily of ivory, that is, the ivory component or components do not account for more than 50 % of the tool by volume. This criterion would immediately make ivory rules not eligible for the exemption since ivory makes up more than 50% of their volume.
(vi) The total weight of the ivory component or components is less than 200 grams. 200 grams is equal to 7.055 ounces or just less than one half of a pound! In addition to the problems this causes for ivory rule collectors, this restriction could present a real problem for tools that contain several components made up of ivory such as fence adjusting nuts on a plow plane, an ivory wedge, or ivory inlay, etc.
(vii) The tool must have been manufactured or handcrafted before July 6, 2016.
For items made of African elephant ivory that qualify as an ESA antique or meet the de minimis criteria, you do not need a permit from the Fish and Wildlife Service to sell ivory containing tools across state lines. However, if you are offering tools containing African elephant ivory for sale or wish to buy ivory containing tools, you should be prepared to provide to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, if asked, appropriate documentation demonstrating that the tool meets the criteria for either the Endangered Species Act Antiques Exemption or the criteria for the “de mininimus” exemption. The Fish and Wildlife Service doesn’t indicate what the “appropriate documentation” should be. However, this documentation might include information from old tool catalogs indicating the years of production for ivory rules or other tools containing ivory, tool collector’s guides which contain this information, original sales receipts, dated photographs or other documents that can help to date the tool, etc. If you are buying an ivory containing tool you should require this documentation from the seller if you don’t already have the information, and conversely, if you are selling an ivory containing tool you should pass along all documentation to the buyer of your ivory containing tools.¹ For more detailed information on documentation requirements, please refer to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website listed above.
Ivory rules were last made in the U.S. in or around 1925, and ivory was probably last used in wooden plow planes about 1900. So, if you’re a tool collector you need to understand these new regulations and keep them in mind if your buying or selling ivory containing tools. Ivory rule collectors will need to be extra cautious at least until 2025, when all of the U.S. made ivory rules should fall under the exemption of being more than one hundred years old. In short, the more information you have about ivory containing tools both before and after you buy them and certainly if you intend to sell them the less likely you are to run afoul of these regulations. The new regulations will still allow you to give your ivory containing tools to a museum or other non-profit (a cashless transaction), gift them to your heirs, or continue to enjoy them as part of your collection.
As I said before I’m not an expert, just a tool collector who wants to understand and follow the rules, which to my mind are complex and at times confusing. I hope my understanding of these regulations is correct, and that you find the information useful, but as you all know, trying to understand bureaucratic legalese is at best fraught with pitfalls. So I encourage you to also take the time to learn about these regulations. As always, I look forward to your comments.²
by Paul Van Pernis
The Stanley Rule & Level Company was always interested in providing its customers with the tools they wanted. They were very adept at bringing to market variations of their tools to satisfy the demands of as many workmen as possible. They listened to their customers and often incorporated their suggestions into the tools they produced. This resulted in the Stanley line of over 250 different models of woodworking planes. As any Stanley plane collector can tell you, trying to collect all of the almost infinite versions and variations of these planes is a near impossible endeavor. A surprising number of these planes (over 40) were designed as rabbets and filletster planes.
Before we begin discussing the Stanley #278 Rabbet and Filletster plane, its time for a bit of digression! The woodworking world’s use of the words rabbet (rebate if your English) to describe certain woodworking planes and filletster (fillister if you’re English) to describe other woodworking planes has over the years created understandable confusion and some controversy. So, here’s my attempt at enlightening you as to the difference between these two types of planes.
The English word rebate is derived from the Old French word rabbotre which meant to beat down or beat back. It gradually changed to rabbat in French which was defined as a recess in a wall. The English adopted the word as rabbet in the late 14th century and at some point in the late 18th century the word became rebate in England but remained rabbet in the United States. The French still use the word rabotage to describe the process of removing wood from a board with a plane, i.e. planing. If you think in more modern terms, when you receive a rebate from a manufacturer or sales person, a portion of the purchase price is removed or given back. A rabbet is simply put, a recess or step along the edge of a board. So when you make a rabbeting cut with your rabbet plane, you’re removing a portion of the board to create a rabbet (rebate).
Rabbet planes characteristically have a cutter whose cutting edge is just slightly wider than the sole of the plane. This slightly wider cutter allows the cutter to produce a sharp corner in the rabbet. This wouldn’t be possible with a bench plane because the cutter in a bench plane fits inside the body of the plane. The cutter in a rabbet plane may be skewed or straight and the gracefully designed side escapement hole of the plane allows the shavings to escape without clogging the plane’s throat (See Fig. 1). Rabbet planes do not have an integral fence, although woodworkers often tacked or screwed a piece of wood to the body of the plane to create a fence.
Figure 2. Image of a Filletster Plane from A Guide to the Makers of American Wooden Planes, Emil & Marty Pollak, 4th Edition, Revised by Thomas L. Elliott, 2001, p. 466
The etymology of the word filletster is a bit more complicated. The word fillet meant a narrow band of fabric used on a hat in 14th century France. It was derived from the Old French word filet meaning “thread”, which was derived from the Latin word for thread, filum. The word fillet moved into the English language and has several definitions still very much in use including; a narrow band or ribbon worn around the head to hold the hair in place, the vertical strips between the flutes on the shaft of a column, or any narrow band or strip of metal or other material.[i] The addition of the suffix -ster to fillet led to the word becoming attached to a woodworking plane. Originally a feminine suffix in 14th century English -ster eventually became gender neutral and indicated, “a person associated or being something specified by the prefix attached to -ster. Think youngster, spinster, gangster, etc.[ii]
A filletster plane is then a plane associated with producing a stepped cut along the edge of a piece of wood. In effect a filletster plane also produces a “rabbet” (See Fig. 2). However, the filletster plane is a different animal than a rabbet plane. Filletster planes always have an integral fence that controls the width of the cut. The sides of the cutting iron do not extend beyond the edge of the plane body. The cutting iron in a filletster plane is always skewed and the escapement throat is straight rather than curved. Filletster planes may or may not have nickers and/or a depth stop. So, while both planes produce a rabbeting cut, there are subtle differences between the two planes. And there will always be planes that are exceptions to the characteristics described above. I’ll let you decide whether this digression was of any help![iii] Whether helpful or not, let’s move on to the topic at hand.
Stanley decided to blend a rabbet and filletster plane and came up with the production model of the Stanley #278 Rabbet and Filletster Plane (See Fig. 3). It was based on Christian Bodmer’s patent #1,201,433 granted on October 17th, 1916 (See Fig. 4). Stanley actually introduced the plane in their 1915 No. 34 catalog, a year before the patent was granted. The plane cost $1.75 when introduced in 1915, and it was in production for 38 years from 1915 until 1943.
The plane is small at only 6 and 13/16ths of an inch long and 1 inch wide. Both sides of the plane are ground flat to allow it to lay flat on either side. The plane is made of two cast iron pieces secured with a single large slotted pan head machine screw ( See Fig. 5).
The nose piece has a rather unique circular portion which Bodmer describes in his patent as a “finger or thumb hold”. When the nose piece is removed the plane can be used as a chisel plane. The cutter is seated bevel up at a bed angle of 20 degrees (See Fig. 6).
There are a series of grooves machined into the back of the cutter. These grooves engage two teeth on a stamped steel adjusting lever that is held in place in the rear casting by a pin. Raising or lowering this lever moves the cutter forward or back, controlling the depth of cut. A groove cast into the uniquely shaped lever cap engages a similarly shaped rounded projection cast into the body of the plane which loosely holds the lever cap in place.
Tightening the nickel plated adjusting screw tightens the lever cap down onto the plane cutter and at the same time wedges the lever cap tightly against the triangular projection cast into the body of the plane. The Stanley “Sweethart” logo and “Made In U.S.A.” is stamped into the face of the lever cap adjusting screw (See Fig 8).
The fence rod can be screwed into either side of the plane. The adjustable fence is 6 inches long with the hole for the rod positioned in the center of the fence. The fence is secured to the rod with a thumb screw (See Fig. 9).
The plane also has a small depth stop that can ride in a “V” shaped groove on either side of the nose piece. It’s held in place by a small thumb screw and washer. Spurs are present on both sides of the plane and can be rotated into place for working across the grain.
In 2006, a pre-production Stanley Model Shop version of the #278 came to auction. Shown in Fig. 10, it differs in several ways from the production model.
The casting is a bit rougher on the Model Shop version but the most obvious difference is the shape of the rear portion of the body of the plane which does not have the peaked arch seen on the production model. This lower arch makes the plane more difficult to hold in your hand and the production committee no doubt asked for a change in its design. The Model Shop version is 6 ¾ inches long and has only one spur located on the right hand side of the plane while the production model which included a spur on both sides. Stanley accommodated this second nicker on the production model by lengthening the front casting slightly making the production model of the #278, longer at 6 and 13/16ths inches in length.
There are no marks on the cutter or the lever cap adjusting screw in the Model Shop version and there is no model number cast into the plane as that had not yet been decided at the time this plane was produced. There is a small remnant of white paint on the top of the rear casting which is all that remains of the Model Shop number (See Fig. 11). The production model is identical to the plane shown in the patent drawing, so we can surmise that this plane was produced prior to the patent application. This would date it to late 1914 or early 1915 prior to the release of the 1915 Stanley catalog and before Bodmer applied for his patent.[iv] As opposed to many of the Model Shop planes I’ve discussed in previous blog posts, this one made it into production with minimal changes and was part of the Stanley line of planes for almost 40 years.[v]
The next time you’re at a tool show look for one of these interesting little planes and see what you think. They’re somewhat scarce, and often are missing the depth stop and fence. Sometimes the fence has been replaced from a Stanley #78. It’s easy to tell the difference if you remember that the fence on the #278 had the hole for the rod in the center, while the #78 fence has the hole for the placed asymmetrically. When properly sharpened and tuned up, they’re fun to use and great if you’re making delicate rabbets for window glass in cabinet doors.
Paul Van Pernis
[i] The word fillet (filet in France) was also used in the 14th century to describe a thin cut of boneless meat or fish that was prepared by being tied up with a string. Thus “filet mignon”.
[ii] Spinster originally meant a “female spinner of thread”. Spinning was commonly done by unmarried women. The word was used in legal documents starting in the 1600’s to denote an “unmarried woman” and by the early 18th century was being used as a derogatory term to described a woman who was still unmarried and was not likely to ever be married. The suffix -ster has come down to us as well in many English names such as Webster (a weaver), Dexter (a dyer), Foster (a saddletree maker), Brewster (a beer or ale maker), etc.
[iii] Gary Robert’s did a good job of highlighting the differences between rabbet and filletster planes on his Toolemera Bog site. You can read it at http://toolemerablog.typepad.com/toolemera/2012/04/rebate-rabbet-fillister-fillitster-and-why.html.
[iv] Bodmer applied for the patent on June 2, 1916 and the patent was granted on October 17, 1916
[v] While part of the Stanley line of planes for several decades, for Stanley collectors the #278 is relatively rare. When found they are often missing the fence and or depth stops. Most of the examples seen are from the “Sweethart” era suggesting that Stanley made a limited number of casting runs of these planes primarily between 1920 and 1935.
The Early American Industries Association Eastfield Historic Trades Sampler, is scheduled for Thursday, July 28th through Sunday, July 31, 2016, at Historic Eastfield Village, East Nassau, New York. The program includes making domed wooden boxes, carving fish decoys, blacksmithing iron utensils, tinsmithing, decorative painting, flint knapping, making an atlatl* and black power shooting. Each project is led by an experienced tradesman including master tinsmith Bill McMillen, blacksmith Olof Janssen and woodwright Bill Rainford. The name Eastfield Historic Trades Sampler reflects what we actually offer—a sampler of various trades with an opportunity to learn about them while completing a small project related to the craft. Learn not only how things are done, but how to do them!
There are two different workshops each day. The classes start at 9 A.M. and there is a lunch provided in Eastfield’s historic tavern from noon until 1 P.M., at which time the afternoon session of the workshops resume. The workshops end around 5 P.M.
In addition to the lunches provided each day, which are included in the registration fee, two nights are accented by games and drinks in the tavern, and on Saturday a terrific dinner is cooked over a wood fire in the tavern kitchen. Helping with the preparation of the dinner is a fun and educational experience in itself. On the other nights, the group generally goes to a local restaurant for dinner at their own expense.
Eastfield is a village of historic buildings that Don Carpentier brought to the east field of his father’s farm in East Nassau, New York, over a period of forty years. Students are welcome to stay in several of these buildings which have been restored to their 18th and 19th century appearance; however there are hotels and other accommodations nearby. Please mark your calendar and plan to attend this year; the dates are Thursday, July 28, through Sunday, July 31, 2016. Registration information and a full schedule is available on our Web site. EAIAinfo.org
Seating is limited so classes are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. The cost is $485 for the four days and includes the daily workshops, morning coffee, & lunches. Some of the workshops will have a modest materials fee.
Send your payment to:
Early American Industries Association
PO Box 524
Hebron, MD 21830
Or contact us by phone at (703) 967-9399 or email EAIA1933@verizon.net
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A spear-thrower or atlatl (/ˈɑːt.lɑːtəl/ /ˈæt.lætəl/; Nahuatl: ahtlatl Nahuatl pronunciation: [ˈaʔ͡tɬa͡tɬ]) is a tool that uses leverage to achieve greater velocity in dart-throwing, and includes a bearing surface which allows the user to store energy during the throw. It may consist of a shaft with a cup or a spur at the end that supports and propels the butt of the dart. The spear-thrower is held in one hand, gripped near the end farthest from the cup. The dart is thrown by the action of the upper arm and wrist.
The throwing arm together with the atlatl acts as a lever. The spear-thrower is a low-mass, fast-moving extension of the throwing arm, increasing the length of the lever. This extra length allows the thrower to impart force to the dart over a longer distance, thus imparting more energy and ultimately higher speeds.
FUN, FRIENDS, AND LEARNING AT PLEASANT HILL SHAKER VILLAGE!
The 2016 Early American Industries Association Annual Meeting was held at Pleasant Hill Shaker Village near Harrodsburg, Kentucky. 150 EAIA members registered for the meeting and despite some rain, everyone had a good time, including EAIA President Pat Lasswell and EAIA Executive Director John Verrill (see above!). We stayed in restored Shaker buildings, ate delicious food, explored the wonderful exhibits, went behind the scenes in the collections area, and learned some new skills in the Shaker Hand-held Broom , Shaker Herb Bundle, and the Shaker Spirit Drawing Workshops. We increased our understanding of the Shaker way of life and worship. The displays were outstanding and our banquet and Silent auction were a great way to end the meeting. Enjoy the pictures that follow. Although not everyone in every picture is identified, look and see if you can find yourself in one of the pictures if you were there! We look forward to another great Annual Meeting at Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, Massachusetts next year on May 17th thru May 20th, 2017. Come join in the fun!
We hope you had a great time at Pleasant Hill! It’s a place well worth the visit! Thanks again from your meeting c0-hosts, Paul and Eileen Van Pernis and Denise and Rodney Richer.
by Paul Van Pernis
Here we are….. a group photo of those who came to the very first EAIA’s Fiber Interest Group meeting. We had 28 people who attended and brought items to share with the group. Below are photos of items that were brought to the meeting for show and tell. Members brought hand made items and textile tools. It was a great response to this newly formed group. If you would like to have more information about this group, join our EAIA Fiber Interest Group Facebook page, or read about what this group is doing in The Shavings. If you spin, weave, knit, quilt, sew, dye, collect textile tool, rug hook or any other fiber related interest…….we invite you to join this group. Our mission is to create an atmosphere in which the fiber and textile related industries will be promoted and shared. Our goals are to research, teach, demonstrate and have fun!
As I walked around I found the Shaker village a lovely place. The grounds, old buildings, the furnishings were so interesting to look at. Lots of the artifacts have been moved to the main Center Building where it is easier to get to see things. There are a couple of rooms that has fiber related items in it. Here are a few photos of what I found.
In my last blog post I talked about two Stanley block planes with rosewood buttons on their knuckle joint lever caps. In this post I’m going to discuss two more block planes from the Stanley Model Shop that are variations on that theme. And these two planes appear to have been made at least a decade earlier than the two I featured in my last post.
The first one (See Figure 1) has all the characteristics of a Stanley #9½ block plane, Type 5, which would put its dates of manufacture between 1875 and 1879. It’s 6 ¼ inches long, 1-7/8ths inches wide and has a 1-5/8ths inch wide cutter. “L. Bailey’s Patent Aug.6.67 Aug 31,58 EX’d.” is stamped on the cutter in an oval shape and helps to date the plane to somewhere between 1875 and 1879 (See Figure 2).
The unique and interesting feature of this plane is its lever cap. The lever cap is cast iron and similar in shape to those seen on Stanley bench planes. The front of the lever cap is japanned and has a recessed arched area on the front with the typical key hole. The edges of the casting are polished on the front while the back and sides of the lever cap are also japanned (See Figure 3).
A 1-3/8ths inch by 5/8ths inch piece of tempered spring steel acting as a flat spring is pinned to the back of the lever cap with a single rivet (See Figure 4). An eccentric cast iron lever that bears against the flat spring is pinned into a slot in the upper end of the lever cap.
The 1-7/8ths inch rosewood button on the lever cap is screwed onto a coarsely threaded post on the eccentric lever. Pushing down on the rosewood button pushes the eccentric lever against the flat steel spring and locks the cutter tightly in place. The plane is in unused condition with Model Shop #53 painted on the toe of the plane and on the rosewood button (See Figure 5).
Fine machining marks are still visible on the sides and sole of the plane and there are no blemishes in the japanning. The rosewood button on this attractive block plane provides a very comfortable resting spot for the heel of your hand when you’re holding the plane in the working position. Despite its attractive appearance, producing the lever caps on this block plane would have been expensive and the Stanley Production Committee decided to put this plane back on the shelf in the Model Shop.
The second plane, #58 from the Model Shop, is a steel bodied block plane. It has a lever cap very similar to the one seen on plane #53. The lever cap on plane #58 is polished cast iron with a ¾ inch by 1-3/8ths inch piece of spring steel with an arched top riveted to the back of the lever cap with two small rivets(See Figure 13). The rosewood button on this plane is attached to the small eccentric cast iron lever by three wood screws (See Figure 14). The 1- 5/8ths inch wide cutter has the trademark which dates the plane to about 1876 T.he body of this plane is made from folded steel (See Figure 7).
Justus Traut and Henry Richards had applied for a patent on June 15th, 1875 describing the production of planes with a “wrought metal stock” and were granted patent No. 168,431, on October 5th, of that same year (See Figure 8). This plane is made using that method. It has a folded steel body that is 6-7/16ths inches long and 1-13/16ths inches wide. The two side walls are held together by a threaded rod. The cutter adjusting mechanism is welded to the back portion of the plane.
The adjustment mechanism is a modification of the mechanism shown in patent #176,152 which was also granted to Traut and Richards on April 18, 1876 (See Figure 9 and footnote 3) .
This adjustment mechanism was used by Stanley on a number of their planes for many years. While this plane never made it into production, Traut and Richard’s folded steel plane body and cutter adjustment mechanism were put to use in the #104 Liberty Bell smooth plane and the #105 Liberty Bell jack plane which were introduced by Stanley at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition and remained in production until 1918. It may be that this block plane was meant to be a companion to the #104 and #105 Liberty Bell Planes (See Figure 10).
Even though the Model Shop numbers on the body of the plane and on the rosewood button on the lever cap appear to match, the lever cap doesn’t stay in place very well when slid under the rod which holds the two side walls together and compresses the flat spring on the back of the lever cap. The lever cap has a keyhole, which suggests that there was thought given to using a lever cap screw to hold the lever cap in place, but it obviously didn’t get done. The #58 is very clear on the body of this plane, but portions of the “8” are missing on the lever cap.
It’s hard to say with absolute certainty that this plane body and the lever cap belong together, but the light wear marks on the cutter correspond to those on the lever cap, and the style of the “8” on the body of the plane matches the partial “8” on the rosewood button on the lever cap suggesting that the two parts have been together since they were made. The cutter is stamped April 18, 1876, the date of Traut and Richard’s Patent No. 176,152, which dates this plane to 1875-1876.
A second piece of steel with a coarsely threaded upright rod is welded to the front portion of the plane to hold the front knob and also provides a rib on the front edge of the mouth of the plane (See Figure 14). The lever cap will stay in place when the spring is compressed, but would tend to slide back out when any pressure was applied to the cutter. So this block plane was also relegated to a shelf back in the Model Shop. But, it may have been pulled back off the shelf and possibly served as the inspiration for the Stanley #118 steel frame block plane. Introduced in 1933, fifty-seven years after the #58 Model Shop Steel Block Plane was made. Stanley advertised that the #118 block plane was unbreakable and encouraged it’s use in school shops. The similarities between the body of these two planes is striking (See Figure 15).
The rosewood button lever caps on these two planes with their eccentric clamping lever were produced several years earlier than the two shown in my last post. In some ways they could be viewed as the precursors to the “knuckle joint lever cap” which was based on S.D. Sargent’s patent No. 355,031. The knuckle joint lever cap was first introduced by Stanley on the #18 block plane in 1888 more than 10 years after these two block planes were made. No doubt, Justus Traut and Henry Richards were intimately involved with the production of these two Model Shop block planes. For me, a big part of the allure of Model Shop planes is that they can give us a bit of a peek at some of the thought processes of the early inventors at Stanley.
 Wells, John, & Schoellhamer, Jack, “One Hundred Years of Bailey’s Excelsior Block Plane, The No 9 ½ Family” can be found in Antique & Collectible Stanley Tools, by John Walter, Second Edition, 1996, pp. 686-701.
 Dood, Kendall J., “Pursuing the Essence of Inventions: Reissuing Patents in the 19th Century”, Society for the History of Technology, Technology and Culture, Vol. 32, No.4, Special Issue: Patents and Inventions, October 1991, pp.999-1017. “An Act Concerning Patents for Useful Inventions” was passed by Congress in July of 1832 stating “Whenever any patent…shall be invalid or inoperative, by reason that any of the terms or conditions prescribed in [the patent statutes] have not, by inadvertence, accident, or mistake, and without any fraudulent or deceptive intention, been complied with on the part of the [inventor], it shall be lawful for the Secretary of State, upon surrender to him of such patent, to cause a new patent to be granted to the said inventor for the same invention for the residue of the period then unexpired for which the original patent was granted.” The reissue 8 years into Patent #67398 gave Bailey and Stanley patent protection for this portion of Bailey’s patent for remaining 6 years of the patent.
 The adjustment mechanism on this plane was used on the #103 block plane, the #104 “Liberty Bell” smooth plane, the #105 “Liberty Bell” jack plane, the #120 block planes and the Type 1 #140 Rabbet and Block Plane. With slight variation, this adjusting mechanism was also used on the #122, #127, #129, 3132, and #135 wood bottom series of “Liberty Bell Planes”. Images below show the Patent Drawings for Traut and Richard’s Patent No. 176,152 date April 18, 1876.