Monday, February 20, 2017

S s S or Stanley? And the differences would be....

UPDATED 1st May 2018

I was going to respond to my friend Ralph of the Accidental Woodworker about questions he had on a recent find he got, a Stanley iron stamped SsS. What gives? And what about the hole location moving on Stanley irons, then followed by everyone else... Why?

Pic of "new" blade acquired by Ralph.
Notice the hole position on the top also.
Pic from Ralph

Then I thought my response was getting too long, better save it as a blog entry...

What's in a name, Siegley

Jacob "Jake" Siegley of Wilkes-Barre Pa,
If the name sounds somewhat familiar, it may be because of his Combination planes No 1 and No 2

From Carpentry and Building , Vol 6, December 1884

Siegley No 2 Combination plane. 
See a resemblance with Stanley No 45? It is no coincidences...

Jacob Siegley filed a patent for his first bench plane model on May 21st 1892.  Patent No 510,096 was granted  Dec 5 1893.

DATAMP Screen shot

He manufactured planes: The Siegley combination plane No 1 and No 2
Bench planes in iron or wood bottom version and Block planes from the early 1880s until being taken over by Stanley in 1901 who continued to manufactured some of his designs until 1927 still using the Siegley name and the appellations: SsS (Stanley steel Siegley) on cast iron planes, StS (Stanley tapered Siegley) on Transitional wood bottom planes, some models of cast metal plane and finally SbS (Stanley block Siegley)

The Stanley steel Siegley blade such as found on Ralph's iron, was indeed manufactured by Stanley and is an otherwise identical item as regular Stanley irons, with the exception that Stanley never changed the hole location down, as per their 1895 patent.

The Stanley tapered Siegley irons on the other hand are tapered in thickness from the cutting edge to the upper portion. These would not be an easy retrofit into a Bailey design. They were designed for the Transitional, wood bottom planes. They did put them in a near copy of the cast ones by simply opening the mouth to accommodate the tapered iron. These new tapered irons always came with the hole location on the blade down as per current Stanley production

Siegley (made by Stanley) No 5 made in New Britain Ct or Roxton Pond Qc

The usual checkering pattern on the tote.
By now (Patents expired), the typical Bailey depth adjuster mechanism 
(brass wheel and yoke pivot) Exact copy of then current Stanley production

The yoke is made of two separate stamped pieces and the grooves cut in the back
rest inside the matching pawls made at the end of the yoke blade advance mechanism

Grooves for the blade advances and offset slot for the lateral adjuster.
And in case you wondered, YES that blade is sharp and this tool is a good user

Most are found with corrugated sole (!?) Siegley used corrugated soles before Stanley.
Non corrugated soles were available but are much rarer

Siegley (only) Stamped on blade. A clue to its Stanley manufactured
Notice offset location of lateral adjuster slot

They could not be exactly like Stanley, this is a patented model, hence different. Look at the strange lateral adjuster mechanism, which made the offset location of the blade's slot a necessity. It also utilized the age old screw on lever cap, pivoting on a fix pin on the bed casting 

The lever cap is unique also in having two adjustable preset screws, one on each side. It fine tune the position of the lever cap near the blade edge, since this is a single iron blade, it act as the chip breaker.

The two screws are resting against the metal bar upon 
which the lever cap is wedged under, and stop the cap edge to a preset location

How the screws are adjusted.

Notice the slight sliver of blade sticking out under the lever cap?

And since both screws adjust independently, you can offset a smidge to compensate for a less than perfect square blade's edge

How the Siegley No 5 compare to a run of the mill Stanley No 5
In the background? Hoh, standard Canadian winter's preparation survival pack...

Pretty close size wise, but I did noticed for the first time a big difference...

Hard to tell in this pic but the Siegley, in the back, as a lower bed angle than the Stanley which as its frog bedded at 45 degrees.

So using a very sophisticated methodology, 
the latest state of the art and a few beers

Stanley No 5 measured at 45 degrees, no surprise there

But the Siegley measured lower...

Here you can clearly see the differences.
Turns out Siegley bed is 5 degrees lower, sitting at 40 degrees.
It uses a single iron bevel down blade, hence its angle of attack is at 40 degrees.
More of a slicing than scraping action.

The frog cast piece is pinned fixed, to the bed piece sides by two pins 
(Red arrows) and the lever cap wedging bar is similarly pinned on both sides (Blue arrow)

And to add to the confusion, there are actually three "Pedigrees variations" of these planes, the original's Siegley made in Wilkes-Barre Pa then Stanley made from 1901-1927 in New-Britain Ct, and Edwin Hahn planes made at the Keystone Tool works in Wilkes-Barre Pa, from 1901 and upward. Hahn bought the remaining inventory from Siegley when they got sold to Stanley. Of course when Hahn bought the remaining stock they could not make the same patented features on them such as the two adjust screws for the cap iron, said patent now belonging to Stanley, so they had to changed it somewhat in order to retain the adjustability of the lever cap come chip breaker. That was done using a small adjustable plate at the end of it, held in place by two screws.

Note the lack of the set screws resting on the bar, replaced by 
the adjustable plate at the edge

Blade is also stamped 
 MAN'FR (Manufacturer) 
Wilkes-Barre PA
Last two pics from fellow Canadian blogger Time Tested Tools 

 If you intend on collecting these, there are about 12 different TYPEs that have been noted.  Years of fun collecting them all :-)

This post is getting a bit long, I will answer the next question about the hole location on blades in a later post.

Bob, the tool historian


  1. Another great post Bob, on a little written about maker. Love the checkering on the tote. I have an SsS transitional jointer.

    Yours is one of the most informative blogs out there, thank you.

    Jim B, on the other coast

  2. Bob,

    Thanks, I wonder if 100+ years from now there will be another Bob writing about the evaluation of LV vs. LN planes from the turn of the century.

    Makes my head hurt, I need to scratch a doggie butt.

    BTW, as always a great write up.


  3. I just wanted to add a comment to mention thanks for your post. This post is really interesting and quite helpful for us. Keep sharing.
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  4. As usual Bob you answered all the questions I had. Am I right in seeing the movable skate on the Siegley 45 being on the left side of the plane? It's kind of clever how Siegley used the slot for the lateral adjust.

  5. Thanks Jim
    I try to fill in the blanks about what is written. Sometimes it is just a matter of putting it all together, like in this case.
    Appreciate your comment

    Bob and Rudy

  6. Ah, yes Ken. That is why i keep all my original boxes stashed somewhere in a corner of my shops. Tomorow collectable, complete with boxes :-)


  7. No problem, Ralph, it is good to find the time doing what we like...sometimes :-)
    Part 2 of your answer has been published in another post; Why the hole location moved...

    Bob, scratching Rudy

  8. Oups, forgot one thing, Ralph, yes, that is the skate on the other side. Not sure if its the side it goes on, that is the way i found it...recently
    On Stanley last model, the 55, the sliding parts goes on either sides


  9. Hi Bob.

    Thanks for all the info on the planes.
    I've got a Siegley #3 plane at home.
    I got it from my older brother as a birthday present last year. It was for sale in his neighbourhood.
    The lateral adjustment feature is missing. I suspect a previous owner dropped the plane, and it broke off. I have considered bringing it with me on board, and make a repair of it.

    Jonas (going home tomorrow!!)

  10. From when we still used to manufacture things in northeast Pennsylvania...

    Great article, Bob.

  11. Hi Jonas, it may very well never had one.... can you send me pics? There would be no provision for the screw to hold the lateral aduster. The blade may or may not have the offset slot.

    Cheers and welcome back home, Mate

    Bob and Rudy

  12. Thanks Derek.
    Yap, those were the days.... you know the area?