Since my last post was on the topic of bull nose planes from the Stanley model shop, I thought we would take a look at this smallest version of the bull nose rabbet plane manufactured by Stanley, the #75. Stanley started making these planes in 1879 and made them until 1983 in the United States.
At some point, which is not exactly clear, they started manufacturing them again in England and they’re still making them. You can easily find a new one or an older one to purchase with a quick internet search. There are no particular inventors or specific patents related to these planes, but they’ve obviously sold well over the years.
Now for a definition. A rabbet (or rebate if you’re English) is a recess or step along the edge of a piece of wood. The cutter in a rabbet planes is just slightly wider than the body of the plane. The slightly wider cutter allows the cutter to produce a sharp corner in the rabbet that wouldn’t be possible with a bench plane since the cutter in a bench plane fits inside the body of the plane. While there are a multitude of variations on the rabbet plane, we’ll limit our discussion to these little cast iron bull nose rabbet planes made by Stanley with a few unique examples from the Stanley Model Shop.
This first one (see Figure 2) is the earliest Stanley #75 I know of and came from the Model Shop. It is cast in two pieces. The upper casting has a nicely curved palm rest at the heel of the plane and the arch at the toe curves gracefully down to form the sole in front of the cutter. This upper casting is 4½ inches long and 1 inch wide.
There are narrow rabbets cast into the bottom surface of this portion of the plane that mate beautifully with the inside walls of the lower casting allowing the upper portion to move smoothly back and forth over the lower casting thereby allowing the user to regulate the mouth opening. (See Figure 3)
The lower portion of the side walls of the upper casting are nicely machined with fine machining marks that run horizontally. The lower casting is 3¾ inches long and 1 inch wide. The side walls of the bottom casting are machined with fine horizontal machining marks, there is a gentle curve at the back of the casting and a small lug is present at the heel of the plane. Both the upper and lower castings are heavily japanned and there are no identifying marks on either casting. (See Figure 4) The two castings are held together with a slotted pan head machine screw and a brass washer that fits through an oval-shaped hole in the upper casting and is screwed into a raised threaded portion of the lower casting. The oval-shaped hole allows the upper casting to be moved forward and backwards to adjust the mouth opening. The lever cap has a small knurled screw that when tightened wedges the lever cap against two triangle-shaped projections in the upper casting and thereby holds the cutter in place. The “T” shaped cutter is 3½ inches long is 1 and 1/32 inches wide. (See Figure 5)
There is a very early style Stanley logo stamped in the upper portion of the cutter.(See Figure 6) The cutters in all of these planes are designed to be used with the bevel down. The portion of the sole in front of the cutter is coplanar with the sole of the plane behind the cutter. The machining marks are very clear on this plane and the plane shows no evidence of use. It’s nicely designed, beautifully made and is comfortable in your hand. This one may have been a prototype, but some changes were made before the Stanley #75 went into production.
The second version is typical of the earliest production model of the Stanley #75 bull nose rabbet plane as listed in Stanley’s 1879 catalog. The upper casting is 4 1/8 inches long and 15/16ths of an inch wide except at the sole projecting in front of the cutter which is 1 and 1/16th inches wide. There is no palm rest on the heel of the plane and the arch in the front is not as graceful as the one seen on the earlier version.(See Figure 7)
There is no machining on the sides of the upper casting and the narrow rabbets on the interior of the upper casting have been replaced by four small tabs that fit inside the lower casting allowing the user to slide the upper casting over the lower casting to regulate the mouth opening.
There’s a slightly raised projection on the heel of the upper casting. The lower casting is 3 and 5/8ths inches long and 1 inch wide. There is machining on the sides of the lower casting 5/16ths of an inch up from the sole with the machining marks running vertically. The lower casting retains the casting lug at the heel of the plane and the raised threaded portion to attach the upper casting is the same as on the prototype. (See Figure 9)
A flat head slotted screw slips through an oval hole in the upper casting and threads into the raised portion of the lower casting to lock the two castings together and regulate the size of the mouth opening. The lever cap is identical to the one on the prototype except for the presence of a slotted knurled adjusting screw ( Some of the early versions of the #75 have an un-slotted knurled adjusting screw). The cutter is the same with the exception of the trademark stamped in the upper portion of the cutter which is typical of Stanley planes from the 1872-1885. (See Figure 10) Compared to the prototype, the casting is rougher, the machining, and the fit and finish are not as good. The plane is slightly smaller and doesn’t fit as well in your hand, But judging from the numbers out there, and its long production life this plane was a success for Stanley. The current version of the Stanley #75 being made today is essentially unchanged from the ones like this made in 1879.
This next version of the Stanley #75 illustrates that the engineers at Stanley were constantly looking at ways to improve their products. This version from the Model Shop is difficult to date, but was probably made sometime in the 1960’s or 1970’s.(See Figure 11)
The upper casting is 4 and 5/8ths inches long and 7/8ths of an inch wide except at the toe of the plane where it is 1 inch wide. A rear palm rest has been added to this upper casting and the projections on the inside of the upper casting that wedge the lever cap in place are now small narrow tabs rather than the triangular tabs seen on earlier versions. The under surface of the rails have been machined on the upper casting where it mates with the lower casting. This upper casting is shorter in height and lighter weight than on previous models. The upper casting is attached to the lower casting with a flat head slotted machine screw and washer that fits through the oval hole in the upper casting. The lower casting is 3 and 3/8ths inches long and 1 inch wide. The four tabs that were located on the upper casting on the previous version of this plane have been moved to the lower casting on this version of the plane. These tabs are more robust lower casting are more robust and the rails on the lower casting have not been machined. (See Figure 12)
The #75 is cast into the heel of the lower casting and to my knowledge this is the only time the model number appears on any version of the Stanley #75 bull nose rabbet plane. (See Figure 13)
The cutter is only 3 and 3/8ths inches long and the logo stamped on the cutter is characteristic of planes made after 1948 and into the latter half of the 20th century. The lever cap is unchanged but due to the shorter height of the upper casting the distal end of the lever cap extends almost to the end of the cutter. (See Figures 14 and 15)
With the end of the lever cap applying pressure on the end of the cutter the chatter in the cutter would be reduced. The lever cap adjusting screw is an un-slotted knurled adjusting screw. The plane is lighter weight and a bit shorter than the production model of the #75. The japanning is completely intact and the plane shows no signs of use and was never put into production. One wonders if the Stanley engineers had the opportunity to look at the prototype when they worked on this redesign of the #75. But this version didn’t make it into production and spent its life on the shelf in the Model Shop until it went home with someone during the periodic Model Shop “clean outs”.
The last version of the Stanley #75 is one of those planes that when it was done, the engineers at Stanley must have said to themselves, “What were we thinking?” It’s 3 and 5/8th inches long and 1 and 1/16th inches wide. It’s basically identical to the standard production model of the Stanley #75, but the arched portion of the upper casting that forms the sole in front of the cutter has been removed.
The upper casting is secured to the lower casting with a flat head slotted machine screw through an oval hole in the upper casting the same as on earlier versions of the #75. The plane has the small projection on the heel of the upper casting and a small raised lug on the heel or the lower casting. (See Figure 17)
The cutter is stamped “STANLEY MADE IN ENG”, and there is a sticker stuck on the back of the upper casting that says the same thing. (See Figures 18 and 19) The lever cap is identical to those seen on earlier versions of this plane and it probably dates from the middle to late 1980’s. There’s an unusual grouping of casting marks on both the upper and lower castings which looks and “8” followed by an “X” and then the number “1” on its side.( See Figure 20) But, once the adjustable mouth has been eliminated there is no reason for this plane to be made in two pieces! There’s really no reason to adjust the upper casting in relationship to the lower casting. It would have been much easier and less expensive to make this plane from a single piece of cast iron. While eliminating the adjustable mouth would have allowed this plane to work in tight corners, there was no need to make a two piece casting. This plane is in pristine condition and it appears it never touched a piece of wood. This was someone’s not very bright idea and we can only hope that everyone involved in making this version had a good laugh at themselves as they put this one on the shelf in the Model Shop.
Paul Van Pernis
29 thoughts on “Stanley’s #75 Bull Nose Rabbet Planes from the Model Shop”
Another great post about model shop planes. Very interesting thank you. I really like the design of the stanley 113 compass plane. Have you herd of any model shop compass planes? Thank you
I’m not aware of any Model Shop compass planes, the early ones by Bailey are pretty interesting as well as the ones he made when he left Stanley and started the Victor Tool company.
I wish they kept the first desgin. Must have cost to much to make. I like the desgin of the stanley 113 compass plane.any 113 model shop planes? Sorry if this pops up twice wasn’t sure if my first one went through
i have a Figure 1. Stanley #75 Bull Nose rabbet Plane, it looks quite new so i wonder if that model is stil made by the factory til now (sorry for my bad english)
The Stanley #75 is still being made in England. I’m sure if you search for one, you’ll find one on line.
Hello Paul, I am over the moon that I have found this site! I am an avid collector of the 75 plane. I have them from not only Stanley but a number of other companies and countries. I thought I had all of the Stanley’s but how wrong you can be!!!!! Fate has a way of opening up your purse strings again and again. I live in New Zealand and have never seen the first 75 you show and describe and also I am intrigued, the Model Shop, you describe is that something to do with STANLEY TOOLS or Stanley an area please?
It definitely looks a more comfortable plane to use and believe it a crying shame that it was not put into production, but either way they certainly had a huge amount of sales either way.
I am after the dates the English decals were issued do you know that information please?
Also I have a 75 that I am having difficulty identifying do you know the name PAREX at all please? It could be the French tool manufacturer DAREX but not sure at there is a blemish on the first letter. The tool has a nickle plating and a criss cross pattern on the handle and the trade name is in a diamond.
Thanks for you kind words. I’ll send you an e-mail with more information and hopefully answer your questions. Paul
It was just by chance, I came across your study on the No75 block plane. Very interesting, I to do a lot of case study on Stanley tools.
Tell you about that another till, if you are interested ?
But have the same ? as Nicky P about the dates on the English Decals ???
Your version three, was that made in England ?
The #75 with out the front casting was made in England, at least that is what was stamped on the cutter. I don’t have any dates on the decals so I can’t really date that little plane very well. all the other #75’s in the post were made in the U.S. I’m always interested in hearing about more type studies and interesting planes. Thanks for your comments
Hi Nicky Peake here, has anyone noticed on the English Stanley 75 the foundry numbers on the inside of the body of the planes? It seems it is only done by the English manufacturers of 75’s and that the American Stanley 75 manufacturer has not done this. This might help age the English 75 I am still trying to work it all out and Yes I too could do with some help in sorting and aging the decals on the English made 75’s….. any takers on the challenge?
Hello Nicky P here, I have had no end of troubles dating the English 75’s. To be honest I don’t think there is anyone alive left to ask these questions to, HOWEVER! That does not mean I have given up trying, I was in New Zealand the last time you heard from me and guess where I am now, Yup you guessed correctly…how did you do that? I am in England, took a while to get here but I now have the time to do some chasing and researching so I will let you know as soon as I possibly can…….hey you never know I could find out something really good….but this has bugged me for so long I would just be happy with finding out the dates on the English decals!
How nice to hear form you again. Good luck on your search for information! I’ll look forward to hearing about your search for information. Have a great time!
Hi Nicky P here, I am now in living in England, having left good old New Zealand a few years ago. I am still determined to try and track down some of the old timers who worked at Stanley and try and work this dating of 75’s made in England. Not sure how long it will take, but I sure will give it my best shot! I will keep you informed……..
My No. 75 looks like the one in figure 7. But got the stamp shown in figure 6. Does that mean it is a very early version of the produktion model or is it an older cutter put on a later plane?
If your Stanley #75 has a cutter with the stamp shown in figure 6, but looks like the plane shown in figure 7, you are fortunate to have a very early version of the production model. Thanks for the question.
Hi Paul…I have one similar to your figure 11 (rear palm rest). I also have another odd ball I’d like your opinion on. Shoot me an email…thanks John
I have figure 7 with blade stamped like figure six as well. Two notes on my piece are different than the production version that you present. 1: toe of upper casting is the same width as the base of the lower casting, roughly <1 & 1/64th. I don't think this difference is much, but may be wrong. 2: my version has a foundry cast "s" in the underside of both the upper and lower portions.
Would love to hear your thoughts.
Thanks for such an informative type study.
You have an interesting combination of an early plane cutter for the No. 75 with the football shaped logo on the cutting iron. The “S” casting mark indicates that the body of your plane is of a later vintage, as that casting mark was used on Stanley planes from about 1893-1899. It is felt to stand for the Session’s Foundry where the plane bodies were cast. So, when someone assembled your No. 75 at the factory they must have pulled out one of the early cutting irons that may have been mixed in with the newer ones in the parts bin. Stanley never wasted anything and they used up what they had before they made more. I suspect that the upper and lower castings were meant ot be the same width, but there can be some variations in individual castings. Paul
When my father died I inherited some of the old tools he collected back in England before we emigrated to Canada in 1965. He was born in 1933 so most of these tools would be from the early 50s to early 60s. One small cast iron plane with “Stanley – Made in England” on a gold and red decal had me stumped. A bit of image Googling identified it as a likely model #75, and Googling that led me here. I had guessed it was probably a rabbet plane but beyond that I had no idea how to adjust or use it. I wondered why the mouth was so wide because I didn’t understand that it was adjustable, and I realize from your photos that I had the blade in the wrong way up. Except for the English decal, mine looks almost identical to figure 7, but the lever cap screw is more like the original prototype model, knurled but not slotted. The upper end of the cutting blade is a bit rusted so I can’t tell for sure but there doesn’t appear to be anything stamped on it.
Anyway, thanks for helping me identify my inherited plane and keep a little bit of my father alive.
Martin, Glad to be of help and I’m so happy to hear that you have kept your father’s tools. Paul
Hello, I have had several hand planes and saws that I inherited from my grandmother some 20 years ago. They belonged to her late husband. There are 4 Stanley planes and thanks to your information I have been able to identify that one is a #75. My confusion is that while it looks just like fig. 7 and 9, the adjusting screw and logo are like those in fig. 14. Maybe the blade has been changed? When was that style body made?
Hi Laura, Thanks for your question. the Stanley No. 75 Bullnose Rabbet Plane was made by Stanley from 1879 to 1983 so over one hundred years! The body style seen in Figures 7 and 9 stayed pretty much the same once they settled on that design. But, the cutting iron stamp and the adjusting screw changed through the years. The one you have shows the Stanley trademark stamp that was used after 1948 and into the 1980’s. So, it’s likely that the No. 75 you have is correct, and dates from the latter half of the 20th century, probably in the 1960s to the 1980s. I hope you take the time to sharpen it and give it a try!
Hi Paul, thank you for the quick response and the information. I’ve always been drawn to old hand tools but I’m just now starting to try to learn more about them. The history is fascinating to me. Thanks!
My 75 has the numbers 188 stamped and im wondering if that dates it
Hi, The 188 you have stamped on your plane was the identification for Winchester. Stanley made on behalf of and this was their foundry mark. however to have a proper Winchester all parts have to have the 188 and the blade WINCHESTER. Hope this helps.
Hi John, I have seen this number stamped on the No. 75, and as fas as I know, it does not date the No. 75. It’s more likely a production or casting run number.
Hi John, I have noted that if the 75 is stamped on the lever cap then it is normally a European made plane. Germany, or I think from memory a Patsy has the 75 on it (can’t remember and my planes are in NZ at present) . Hope this helps. Nicky
Hello, My No. 75 also looks like figure 7 with the stamp shown in figure 6. Also there is a B cast in both upper and lower body. Any idea what the B represents? Thanks!
Hi Jeremy, The “B” mark in the casting is a foundry mark. It’s represents the foundry that cast the parts of your plane for Stanley. Unfortunately researchers have not been able to identify the name of the foundry. But, we do know that Stanley planes with the “B” casting mark were made between 1899-1902. There are also Stanley planes with an “S” casting mark and they were made between 1893-1899. Some researchers feel that the “S” stands for the Sessions Foundry. You’ve got a nice fairly early No. 75. Thanks for asking the question.
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