Stanley/Record plane screw size/thread chart
|1||Lever cap screw||9/32″-24Tpi American/unified||9/32″-24Tpi American/unified|
|2||Cap iron screw||5/16″-18Tpi BSW||5/16″-18Tpi BSW|
|3||Brass adjusting Nut||Left hand 9/32″-24Tpi American unified form||Left hand 9/32″-24Tpi American unified form|
|4||Frog screws||No.12-20*||7/32″-20Tpi Whitworth form*|
|5||Frog adjusting screw||1/4″-24Tpi American/unified||1/4″-24Tpi American/unified|
|6||Handle toe screw||No.12-20*||7/32″-20Tpi Whitworth form*|
|7||Handle and knob bolt||No.12-20*||7/32″-20Tpi Whitworth form*|
|8||Frog adjusting plate screw||7/32″-24Tpi Whitworth form||7/32″-24Tpi Whitworth form|
|*Both types work, the difference between #12-20 and 7/32-20 is mere 0,002″|
History of the Stanley Bailey plane
Over the past 150 years, millions of cast iron Bailey-pattern planes have been manufactured around the world and they are plentifully available in flea markets, garage sales, eBay, and antique dealers. The planes for sale may have been unused for decades and during the storage, a variety of damage may have happened. Tote may be broken, the blade or the lateral lever adjuster may have been bent, the body and parts may be rusted badly or the body has had fractures due to an accidental drop to the floor. Also, the screws may have been lost for a variety of reasons.
The absence of screws is a major pain for the vintage plane restorer, there really is no unnecessary screws in hand planes, and every screw does have an important function. Whatever screw is missing, it prevents the practical use of the hand plane.
By buying an old cast iron hand plane you could save a serious money but not necessarily your time. The would-be vintage plane buyer does not necessarily pay attention to the missing screws when examining the plane candidate, they can be had from any hardware store, right? Handle toe screw is missing, no problem, he thinks, I will stop by the hardware store and pick it up.
The truth is different though, screw thread sizes and pitches used in Stanley and Record planes are from the era when the standardization of the machine screws was in its infancy and there were a couple of competing standards. The Manufacturer could not predict which standard or size would remain in force. It was just a matter of choice of best suitable screw/thread/pitch for the job. In retrospect, we can see that some of the screws in Bailey-type planes are of sizes/pitches that became standard size and some (maybe most) are not. The good news is that Stanley and Record were fairly consistent and stayed with chosen screw sizes up to these days
The late 19th-century manufacturer of hand planes couldn’t have known that the patented plane model would be in production for the next 150 years and there is no end in sight. The original Bailey plane design has changed really only a little during the years. The cast-iron used in the 19th century was so fragile/brittle that the threads of the screws should have to be coarse enough to stay put without breaking the threads.
When reading the debate in various forums concerning the size of the various screws used in Bailey planes, many think that the odd screw sizes are the gimmick of the marketing department. In reality, the 19th-century plane production engineer has only wanted to guarantee the durable fastening of plane parts by choosing a sufficiently coarse thread.
The development of the metallurgy of cast irons over the last 150 years have been great and modern cast irons are so good that the coarse threaded machine screws have grown obsolete. The availability of spare parts is scarce and buying them difficult.
Screws from Stanley and Record bench planes are largely cross-compatible
When the patents of the American Stanley Bailey planes were expired in the 1930s the British Sheffield toolmaker Record (C & J Hampton) started to manufacture copies of the Stanley Bailey planes. Copies were so faithfully made that even the non-standard screws used in originals were copied. The way threads are defined differs between the US and British makers, due to standards, but the resulting screw is almost the same and screws are cross-compatible.
Know the plane model you are after
Buying the vintage tools is an art form in itself. The better knowledge you have about the tools you are searching for, the best chances you have to get the complete tool with all the original parts intact.
My recommendation is to research the plane models extensively before diving into the vintage market.
I have learned to buy vintage planes the hard way. When I bought my first Stanley No.4 plane from the antique market, I choose one with intact handles, I didn’t notice that the frog adjusting plate/clip and its mounting screw were missing. My next plane was No.5, and I thought I was wiser and checked that the frog screws were there. What I didn’t notice though was the tote toe screw was missing, in smaller No.4, of which I had earlier experience, there is no toe screw and so the absence of it went outside my radar. For my defense I must tell that my kids were poring over the nearby tables filled with precious porcelain and other fragile antiques, so my concentration wasn’t 100% on the planes.
Negotiate with the seller to get spare parts
A great strategy is to chat with the seller if there is some screw or other part missing. Usually, the seller has a couple or more planes on offer and many times there could be parts too. I like to rummage through the junk boxes, you never know what can be found. One time I made a deal for a plane with missing frog adjusting plate/clip. By negotiating with the seller, who had many planes for sale, I could replace the missing plate/clip from another plane without additional cost and I even get an extra blade/cap iron for free.
Buy spare plane for parts and screws
Because the screws of the Bailey pattern planes are interchangeable among the sizes, the good strategy is to buy cheap common vintage models for spare parts only. The Jack plane No.5 is so common that complete plane could be had for under 10€/$. For comparison, the Stanley offers its Screw/Nuts kit for 23,50$. If you are lucky you get spares for many planes and they are used and therefore do not reduce the antique value of the plane.
New aftermarket Stanley Bailey Screws/Nuts
One great option to get spare parts for almost any Stanley plane is to buy them as a new from Stanley Works or any Stanley stockist. Almost all parts are available as a new and screws and nuts are offered as a kit including all the screws and nuts.
If you have rare antique tool or otherwise valuable vintage hand plane then I would advise against the new parts or screws. To maintain or increase its collectible value all parts should be authentic and new parts is definitely no go. For the plane that is to be used as an everyday tool, the new parts/screws is still a great way to restore the usability and function of the plane.
Bailey® Plane Screws/Nuts Kit, Code: 1-12-702 includes all the screws, nuts and washers. Every screw and nut is available also separately.
In Stanleytoolparts.com you can check what is available
eBay is a good source for the vintage Stanley & Record plane parts
The eBay and other online sources of used and vintage tools are good places to seek for authentic and vintage spares. Especially for older and more valuable models, I recommend to get authentic vintage spares instead of new and shiny modern offerings. The collectible value is retained when the tool does not have any new parts.
Do-It-Yourself with the right Tap and Die set
Screws and nuts can be also custom made if you have proper tools and skills. You need the only appropriate tap-and-die set and the proper diameter metal rod. The No.12-20 tap and die set used for tote and knob screws/bolts is maybe the rarest but it can still be found in a couple of specialist online stores.
A skilled machinist with metalworking lathe can also make bolts with suitable thread and pitch. If you have metalworking friends it doesn’t pay anything to ask.
The Lever cap screw of the Bailey planes
The function of lever cap screw is to fasten the lever cap/blade/cap iron to the frog and to regulate its pressure. The Lever cap screw in Stanley Bailey and Record bench planes is 9/32”-24Tpi American/unified form.
New replacement lever cap screw is available from Stanley. Stanley part number for the screw is: 12-004L-3_03-B-23 (this refers to No.4 plane screw but it is same in all sizes.)
Lever cap screw is also included in Bailey® Plane Screws/Nuts Kit, Code: 1-12-702
Cap iron screw for the Bailey planes
Cap iron screw clamps the cap iron/chipbreaker to the blade/cutting iron. Cap iron screw is 5/16″- 18Tpi BSW. This is the most common thread type used in Bailey planes. Tap and dies are easily available.
The Stanley part number for the cap iron screw is: 33009
Cap iron screw is also included in Bailey® Plane Screws/Nuts Kit, Code: 1-12-702
Tote and knob/handle screws and bolts for Bailey planes
Tote and knob are secured with the screw/bolt and brass nut, in the bigger planes the tote is also secured with small toe screw. The threading choice of tote and knob screws is non-standard if compared to modern machine screws. In Stanley literature, the size is US No.12-20. Record, on the other hand, uses 7/32″-20tpi Whitworth Form for tote and knob bolts and nuts. The actual difference between the two is really small, the difference of thickness between #12-20tpi and 7/32”-20tpi is only 0,002”, and both use the same 20tpi pitch so the screws are interchangeable between brands.
The Stanley part number for the Knob and Tote screws are:
Handle/tote toe Screw: 12-005-14_03-G-03
Handle/tote screw/bolt: 12-005-14_10-H-14
Knob and handle nuts, brass: 12-005L-21_35-A-06
All screws and nuts are also included in Bailey® Plane Screws/Nuts Kit, Code: 1-12-702
If you are making a new tote or knob you need also a 7/16” Forstner bit for countersinking the brass nuts. The exact outer diameter of brass nuts is 29/64” but I haven’t found any Forstner bits of that size. Brad point bits are however widely available with the original size.
Brass adjusting nut & screw/bolt
The purpose of brass adjusting nut is to adjust the cutting depth by advancing and retracting the blade/cap iron combo. The brass adjusting nut and its screw/bolt are threaded with Left hand 9/32″-24Tpi American unified form thread.
The Stanley part number for brass adjusting nut/screw is: 12-005-8_3-I-03
It is also included in Bailey® Plane Screws/Nuts Kit, Code: 1-12-702
Frog Screws for Bailey planes
There are two frog screws on a Bailey pattern plane. Their purpose is to lock the frog down to the body of the plane. In Stanley planes, the screws are with #12-20 threads whereas the Record specifies its screws as 7/32”-20tpi Whitworth. Both types work and are interchangeable, the difference between #12-20 and 7/32”-20 is mere 0,002″
The Stanley part number for Frog Screws is 12-005-9_38-I-03. It is also included in Bailey® Plane Screws/Nuts Kit, Code: 1-12-702
What is the right tightness of the frog screws?
Paul Sellers advice to adjust them tight/loose enough so you could still adjust the frog placement by turning the adjustment screw. This is really handy because you could adjust the mouth size without removing the blade assembly. The right tightness for this can only be found by experimenting.
Read Paul’s article about frog adjustment here
Frog adjusting screws for Bailey planes
Frog adjusting screw is the most commonly missing part of all vintage planes alongside the frog adjusting plate/clip and screw. With the well-functioning plane you rarely need to adjust it and if it becomes loose it can disappear quite easily because its absence doesn’t affect the planing performance in any way.
The frog adjusting screw is threaded after 1/4″-24Tpi American/unified thread.
The Stanley part number for frog adjusting screw is 12-004L-17_03-G-04. It is also included in Bailey® Plane Screws/Nuts Kit, Code: 1-12-702
Frog adjusting plate/clip and screw
Frog adjusting plate/clip and its mounting screw is an important part that allows fine adjustment of the mouth size by transferring the movement of the adjuster screw to the frog. The plate and its mounting screw are lost in many vintage planes. The screw is standard size 7/32″-24Tpi Whitworth form screw.
Stanley part numbers for Frog Adjusting Screw is 12-005-18_03-G-04 and for Frog adjusting plate/clip 12-005-19_10-F-09
Plate/clip can be easily made from 2,5mm / 3/32” flat metal stock by carefully drilling and filing.