Stanley Multi-Plane - No. 55

stanley 55 multi plane
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Stanley 55 Plane Review By: I.Ball

Manufacturer: Stanley
Plane Type: Multi / Universal Combination
Model No: 55


           

The Stanley 55 plane is packed with a number of planing functions including:

  • Plough / Plow
  • Dado
  • Bead
  • Centre bead
  • Rebate / Rabbet and Fillister
  • Slitting
  • Match planing
  • Sash planing

Due to the Stanley 55 supporting multiple plane functions, the Stanley 55 is referred to as a 'Stanley Multi Plane' or 'Stanley Universal Plane'.



stanley 55 plane

The Stanley 55 plane was in effect a storage space saving tool. When the 55 was first made, most woodworkers would have a different wooden plane for each planing function and then they would have many different sized planes for each plane type.

For example a user of the time might have had 10 wooden side bead planes such as sizes: 1/8", 3/16", 1/4", 5/16", 3/8", 1/2", 5/8", 3/4", 7/8", 1" (plus possible other sizes), and then numerous other planes for the other functions and sizes.

For this reason a woodworker of the time would often have a large wooden tool chest full of wooden planes.

The Stanley 55 plane allowed woodworkers who could afford the plane to have a tool which was easily portable from workshop to job.


stanley 55 plane
stanley 55 plane

The Stanley 55 plane originally had 55 cutters / blades as standard with an additional 41 extra cutters available to buy.

In addition to this users were able to make their own cutters from blanks or to order custom designs from Stanley by providing Stanley with a sketch of the cutter design.



Plane Construction

stanley 55 plane

Length:
10 inch

Weight:
7 3/4 lb approx.


Metal Parts:
cast iron

Handle, Knobs, Wooden Parts:
rosewood

Plane Finish:
nickel plated



No. Of Cutters:
55

Additional Cutters:
41

Custom Cutters:
Made by users or made to order by Stanley



Stanley 55 Cutters

The standard Stanley 55 plane blades consisted of the following 55 cutters:

* If you use this information please link to this page or reference this website

  • 1. Sash Cutter - 1 1/2" (38mm)
  • 5. Match Cutter - 1/4" (6mm)
  • 6. Match Cutter - 3/16" (4.5mm)
  • 8. Slitting Cutter
  • 9. Fillister Cutter - 1 1/4" (32mm)
  • 10. Plough / Plow & Dado Cutter - 1/8" (3mm)
  • 11. Plough / Plow & Dado Cutter - 3/16" (4.5mm)
  • 12. Plough / Plow & Dado Cutter - 1/4" (6mm)
  • 13. Plough / Plow & Dado Cutter - 5/16" (7.5mm)
  • 14. Plough / Plow & Dado Cutter - 3/8" (9.5mm)
  • 15. Plough / Plow & Dado Cutter - 7/16" (11mm)
  • 16. Plough / Plow & Dado Cutter - 1/2" (12.5mm)
  • 17. Plough / Plow & Dado Cutter - 5/8" (16mm)
  • 18. Plough / Plow & Dado Cutter - 3/4" (19mm)
  • 18 1/2. Plough / Plow & Dado Cutter - 13/16" (20.5mm)
  • 19. Plough / Plow & Dado Cutter - 7/8" (22mm)
  • 21. Bead Cutter - 1/8" (3mm)
  • 22. Bead Cutter - 3/16" (4.5mm)
  • 23. Bead Cutter - 1/4" (6mm)
  • 24. Bead Cutter - 5/16" (7.5mm)
  • 25. Bead Cutter - 3/8" (9.5mm)
  • 26. Bead Cutter - 7/16" (11mm)
  • 27. Bead Cutter - 1/2" (12.5mm)
  • 28. Bead Cutter - 5/8" (16mm)
  • 32. Fluting Cutter - 1/4" (6mm)
  • 34. Fluting Cutter - 3/8" (9.5mm)
  • 36. Fluting Cutter - 1/2" (12.5mm)
  • 38. Fluting Cutter - 3/4" (19mm)
  • 40. Chamfer (Right) Cutter
  • 41. Chamfer (Left) Cutter
  • 43. Hollow Cutter - 1/2" (12.5mm)
  • 44. Hollow Cutter - 5/8" (16mm)
  • 45. Hollow Cutter - 3/4" (19mm)
  • 47. Hollow Cutter - 1" (25mm)
  • 53. Round Cutter - 1/2" (12.5mm)
  • 54. Round Cutter - 5/8" (16mm)
  • 55. Round Cutter - 3/4" (19mm)
  • 57. Round Cutter - 1" (25mm)
  • 62. Quarter Hollow Cutter - 1/2" (12.5mm)
  • 64. Quarter Hollow Cutter - 3/4" (19mm)
  • 73. Quarter Round Cutter - 5/8" (16mm)
  • 75. Quarter Round Cutter - 7/8" (22mm)
  • 82. Reverse Ogee Cutter - 1/2" (12.5mm)
  • 84. Reverse Ogee Cutter - 3/4" (19mm)
  • 86. Reverse Ogee Cutter - 1" (25mm)
  • 93. Roman Ogee Cutter - 5/8" (16mm)
  • 95. Roman Ogee Cutter - 7/8" (22mm)
  • 102. Grecian Ogee Cutter - 1/2" (12.5mm)
  • 104. Grecian Ogee Cutter - 3/4" (19mm)
  • 106. Grecian Ogee Cutter - 1" (25mm)
  • 113. Quarter Round With Bead Cutter - 5/8" (16mm)
  • 115. Quarter Round With Bead Cutter - 7/8" (22mm)
  • 212. Reeding Cutter (2 Beads) - 1/8" (3mm)
  • 222. Reeding Cutter (2 Beads) - 3/16" (4.5mm)
  • 232. Reeding Cutter (2 Beads) - 1/4" (6mm)


Is The Stanley 55 A Combination Plane Or A Multi-Plane?

Originally the Stanley 55 was advertised in the late 1800's as a 'Universal Plane' (Stanley 55 Plane).

They then went on to be advertised in 1912 as a 'Universal Combination Plane' (Stanley 55 Plane).

In the early 1930's the Record 405 Multi-Plane was introduced which was similar to the Stanley 55 but slightly scaled down, the 405 kept the name 'Multi-Plane' from the 1930's to 1980's.

The 55 then went on to be advertised in 1939 as 'Stanley "55" Plane' (Stanley 55 Plane).

In answer to 'Is The Stanley 55 A Combination Plane Or A Multi-Plane?' I would say the answer is whichever you wish to call it, for me given the many years of changing naming of the Stanley 55 in advertising and given the similar plane type of the Record 405 being classed as a multi-plane for 50 years of manufacturer advertising and 40+ years of further literature I have come to see it as a multi-plane.

A combination plane under the Record plane indexing and for me (which must be directly or indirectly from Record plane indexing) and what is shown in a 1939 Stanley catalogue is a plane which sits between a plough / plow plane and a multi-plane, "45" or "55" in terms of functionality.

See 'What Is A Combination Plane?' and 'What Is A Multi Plane?' for more on this.


Manufactured Dates

<1898 - 1958>


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(i) This review/article may give warning(s) / advisory notes / cautions / guidelines given in good faith, any such information should not be solely relied upon and seen as the exhaustive list of warnings / advisory notes / cautions / guidelines. Refer to good safety practices for the safety of you and others. Refer to good practices for the good health of your tool and property.
(ii) The details here are given in good faith, the details are constantly growing and evolving including corrections, there is scope for error and shouldn't be fully relied upon, please confirm any details for yourself by performing additional research from reliable sources.




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