Lee Valley Tools Woodworking Newsletter
Vol. 1, Issue 4
May 2007
From the Collection

Stanley Match Plate and Plane
Lee Valley collection


Stanley Tools manufactured the #78 Duplex Rabbet/Rebate and Fillister Plane - considered the benchmark model for this type of metal plane - in the United States for 100 consecutive years. By 1974, production ceased in the U.S., but was continued in Britain by Stanley UK. Stanley also manufactured the plane and inserted branding for other companies. There have been numerous copies and variations by other makers. The plane has been found with markings suggesting manufacture in Sweden, Mexico and lately India.

To achieve a reasonable volume of poured-metal castings using the greensand method, some type of repeatable mold pattern must be used. Aluminum or a similar alloy replaced traditional wood patterns, allowing for the faster machine-molding techniques required in the 20th century. The advantages were a longer cycle time on the line and reduced handling care, which often accompanied traditional wooden patterns. A master pattern could be made, and copies duplicated from that master to ensure quality control. This style of pattern making eventually led to the permanent mold system, in which a cast product could be made in quantities up to 100,000 units, depending on the complexity of the mold.



Shown here is an actual Stanley match plate, dated 11 - 4 - 48. It is also marked with, "Stanley Tools - C 201". The mold produced two #78-type planes. The protrusions showing on the handle section are locaters used to center a core - a separate section that is placed in a mold to prevent metal from filling that space. (The handle of the #78 is hollow.) It was inserted into the flask after the cope* and drag* had been struck.

From the appearance of the runners, it would seem that the pouring gate and riser is located between the plane soles, providing for runoff in the rectangular section. There is no evidence of venting locations, so the molders themselves would make that judgment. While the location is marked ("Made in U.S.A."), the match plate is devoid of any parent company name markings. This omission suggests that the mold was used to produce products for other companies, whose names could be inserted prior to the pour.

The plane is pictured only to confirm the finished product.

*Cope - From the Latin "cappa", meaning cape. Here, it refers to the upper part of a flask.
*Drag - So called because it was the bottom of the flask. It was pulled or moved along the foundry floor using a rod or handle.

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