Ploughing grooves using a simpler Stanley

The Stanley 13-030 Three-blade Plough PlaneDSC_0810

Stanley made a series of less complex planes by shifting from cast ferrous metals to alluminium in the 60’s. Extruded in long lengths in shaped sections meant a 12 foot length of alluminium could be chopped to length and refined by milling to receive cutters depth stops guide rods and setscrews in a matter of minutes and all of that without compromising the quality of cut. P1090289The lowliest of all this model type is the three cutter version known as the 13-030. It comes with 1/8″, 3/16″ and 1/4″ as a set but you can buy additional cutter 5/16″, 3/8″ and 1/2″ in imperial sizes and 4, 6, 9 and 12mm cutters too.

Appearance is not everythingDSC_0761

I confess judging this plane by first appearances until I bought one on ebay because I felt guilty of having done so. It was the plastic handle I discriminated against mostly I think, but then I have some planes that have plastic handles that actually feel perfect in my hand and are indeed unbreakable. Unfortunately there are plastic handles on more modern planes from the Stanley stable that break usually within a year or two so you need to know which ones do and which ones don’t.

Unbreakable plastic

On this Stanley the plastic handles are unbreakable. I am sure someone has one that is broken for some reason but in general they are fine. We can buy these for around £10- 30 depending on the type we buy. They can be the 3 blade kit, 12 blades or 18 blades depending on the model. I have three or four of them and use them alongside my plough planes by Record and Stanley equally.DSC_0764

The body of the plane is made of alluminium as is the fence and other components, which makes this plane type lighter than it’s cast iron and steel counterparts. There is no comparable difference in functionality at the workbench and if ploughed grooves are all you need then these planes hold their own and often for a fraction of the cost and especially of say new ones by modern makers. P1090294The ones I have bought so far via ebay have actually been brand new in the boxes because I think they mostly came out when the router came on the scene and of course people were quite mesmerised at the thought of a small, hand-held machine they could use for the same purpose and added moulding capacity in one machine. Once set up and adjust as to depth of cut, you are on your way. It works well in all woods and setting the depth of cut, though perhaps lacking the mechanical lever depth adjuster of more refined models, is quick enough and simple too. Some other models from Stanley’s stable are 12-250, the 13-050 and the cast metal version 12052D, which have a screw thread adjuster for infinite depth setting with a screw feed. These  still require a flat head screwdriver to make the adjustment but that works effectively.

DSC_0763These planes are well worth the money and generally I rely mostly on 3/16”, 1/4”, 3/8” and 1/2” cutters for grooving doors and drawer bottoms and such. I don’t really need the mass of cutters that come with say the older model number 45’s or 50’s.  The tools is quite robust when assembled and the handle feels surprisingly solid and immoveable under the heaviest pressures I ever applied.P1090288

The blades lock into the recess in the side of the main body of the plane via a barrel bolting that pulls the cutting iron tight against the side of the groove. This works very well. There is an allowance for thin cutters that is designed to turn an aspect of the barrel rebate fashion. P1090291

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Add the fence for smoother operation and a larger presentation to the wood.

I added the wooden fence guide to both extend the length some and also to reduce friction even though it works OK without it. I also filed the depth shoe (below) DSC_0814at the fore and rear end to ease the passage on the wood. Beyond that the planes are usually ready to go and so I can recommend this plough plane if grooves are all you need and you want total control the hand methods give you.DSC_0798

File the depth shoe to a softer leading edge

I filed the depth shoe to ease the surface contact until it bottoms out for the final depth as mentioned above. A light sanding finished the job.DSC_0795DSC_0796

The instructions are simple enoughP1090286

The instructions come with the the plane and in 5 languages. They are concise and simple telling you you can rebate with the plane too, which is true. It cuts a neat rebate as you can see. Depth of cut maximises at 5/8″ deep, plenty for most operations. This is set again with a setscrew and measured from the cutting edge to the underside of the shoe.P1090282

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32 Comments

  1. ant11sam on 3 August 2015 at 2:28 pm

    And the prices will go up now ! 🙂

    Nice hint, alternative to the other plough planes!

    Thank You!

  2. Derek Long on 3 August 2015 at 3:21 pm

    You can find the 12-250 readily on Ebay for cheap, with I think 18 cutters. I think Stanley’s parts department still sells the replacement cutters on the website. They go for a lot less than a Record or a 45.

  3. Fr Parthenius on 3 August 2015 at 6:45 pm

    I recently purchased a 12-250 on ebay. It came new and unused in the box, with a wallet of 18 cutters and nothing missing. However, I could find no date on anything. The tool came packed in cut-out styrofoam which slid out of the box. Perhaps this was manufactured in the 70’s? 80’s? About when did Stanley of England stop making the 12-250? BTW, the price for it was about $85.00. It has a plastic handle but is solidly built, and the rods, depth stop, fence, screws, etc., are good quality. The cutters sharpen up nicely. I am quite pleased with it. Another advantage with these newer plough planes is that they can be easily set up for left or right handed operations.

    • Tone on 18 July 2018 at 5:59 pm

      I would think late 1960s or 1970s rather than (or perhaps as well as) 1980s. They look reminiscent of the surforms that were the hot new thing back then. My Dad had a set of the surforms:a long one like a plane, short one like a block plane and long, round one like a rat’s tail file. I wonder if Paul ever uses a surform? 😀

  4. Derek Long on 3 August 2015 at 6:56 pm

    I think the 12-250 was still made into the early 2000’s, which would explain how we can still find them new in box floating around.

  5. Jeff Polaski on 3 August 2015 at 7:36 pm

    Yep. Compare prices being asked today with prices paid last week. But just wait until I release news about the 15-edge tilting chisel I just copped on eBay.

  6. Fr Parthenius on 3 August 2015 at 8:01 pm

    Now that you mention it, such a relatively recent manufacture date does seem reasonable, judging from the condition of the tool and the packing material.

  7. Marc Sitkin on 3 August 2015 at 8:57 pm

    A rare plane in America.

  8. Kieran on 4 August 2015 at 2:55 am

    Does anyone know if they fit cutters from a Stanley 45? I have a 45 and I like it but sometimes it is a bit cumbersome.

    • Reuel on 27 September 2017 at 2:38 am

      No
      The cutters from the #45, #55 are 1/8″ thick.
      The cutters from the 13-030 must be 2.8mm thick to fit in its groove.
      I have been thinking of widening tht groove of mine so that I can use #45, #55 and even brandnew veritas plow plane cutters

  9. Tim from Australia on 4 August 2015 at 12:30 pm

    Thank you Paul for another informative post, coincidentally i bought one at an auction only yesterday, it is a model 130-052 and included all cutters along with the instruction booklet.
    The plane was included in a lot containing a Stanley hand drill, brace and a range of auger bits (30) along with a Spear and Jackson handsaw and tenon saw, all in good condition.
    Total cost $35 Australian.
    Thoroughly enjoy all your posts.

    • Paul Sellers on 4 August 2015 at 1:31 pm

      Wow!

      • Jeff Polaski on 4 August 2015 at 2:11 pm

        That was quite a day, wasn’t it?

  10. geovincent on 4 August 2015 at 3:46 pm

    I don’t see how this really differs from my Stanley 45 which works well for me. The cutters for the Veritas plow plane also fit the Stanley 45.

  11. Derek Long on 4 August 2015 at 4:02 pm

    The difference is the cost of a 45 keeps going up and up. I’m a fan of my 45, but a lot of people just need an inexpensive plow plane that won’t cost over $100 on Ebay to get a complete kit with cutters, or more than that for a brand new Veritas.

  12. Tim Caveny on 5 August 2015 at 1:17 pm

    I still use my old wooden plough plane (maker’s name stamp long obliterated ), and a partial set of James Cam irons. Wouldn’t trade them for anything. My 45, which I bought brand new in 1965 for $35.00, rarely comes out of its box now.

  13. James Lawford on 7 June 2016 at 12:29 pm

    Just got a Stanley 13-052 with 10 blades in average but fully working condition for £5 + P&P. Looking forward to trying it out!

  14. Saïan Cantin on 30 July 2016 at 9:40 am

    Got a Stanley 50 on eBay UK. 30€ including shipping to Germany. Only thing missing was the beading cutters. Apart from that it was shiny and smooth 🙂 I’m stoked. But I saw a few reasonably priced in the Stanley range recently, and wooden plows are not too bad either these last week’s. So head over there if you look for one!

  15. James Lawford on 27 August 2016 at 7:55 am

    Picked a 13-052 up for £26 on eBay, which is the model including around 10 cutters I think without looking again. Works very well. Found it best to go confidently at it, and quickly establish a full length groove to work within.

  16. Timothy Gillane on 2 March 2017 at 8:35 pm

    I have a Stanley 13-050 plane that I bought inexpensively at an “antique” store. Afterwards, when I looked up what I had, I found out that it originally would have had a fence and more than one blade. I contacted Stanley a few years back, and was told that, since the plane’s been discontinued, the fence and the blades are no longer available from them. Does anyone know if there’s a fence from a more modern, current plane that would be compatible?

    • Paul Sellers on 3 March 2017 at 3:06 pm

      They are often sold separately on eBay.

  17. Gareth Bale on 6 June 2017 at 1:25 pm

    I have recently acquired the Stanley 13-030 for a bargain price of £4.99 however it only had 1 cutter with it. It is boxed and in good condition otherwise.
    The problem I have is finding the cutters for it now!
    Any help would be appreciated ( do the 13-050 cutters fit the 13-030?)

    Please help

    • Jeff Polaski on 6 June 2017 at 3:44 pm

      Plus there is one complete set with what looks like 3 cutters in a yellow plastic holder that has three bids. Ask, using the questions feature, and if the cutters are included, be ruthless no matter what the condition of the body of the plane. That’s how you reassemble a tool from different sources.

    • Paul Sellers on 6 June 2017 at 8:19 pm

      Personally I would simply buy some O1 steel flat stock 1/8″ thick and make my own. Ebay. A stick 15″ long with cost you £5 and you can make half a dozen in an hour or so including hardening them in a BBQ pit.

      • Jeff Polaski on 6 June 2017 at 9:17 pm

        Um, what Paul said…
        Or, if no pit available, check eBay for larger cutters (wider, for sure), and cut them to size.
        If no means of cutting available, start reading from the top again.

      • Gareth Bale on 7 June 2017 at 9:07 pm

        Thank you. I’ll do that.

        • Jeff Polaski on 7 June 2017 at 9:43 pm

          I’ll go along with that. I have a couple of wooden plane bodies in decent shape but no blades, and enough with blades to see how they might be shaped and sized correctly. I can get the stock.
          If not a BBQ pit, would a propane fired Weber grill do the job? The rest of the instruction are elsewhere on this site.

      • Daniel Agostinelli on 9 December 2017 at 4:52 am

        How can I get the Stanley 13-30? Is there another plough plane that I can buy, which will do the same thing? Tell me its name. Please tell me where I can get it. Thanks, Dan

        • Paul Sellers on 9 December 2017 at 8:33 am

          Ebay??? I just looked, lots of plough planes there. Ebbay.co.uk though.

    • Clwyd jones on 17 August 2018 at 9:35 am

      Gareth – did you get an answer to whether the 13-050 blades will fit your 13-030 plough plane since I have the same predicament?

  18. Paul Cresswell on 13 June 2017 at 9:07 pm

    Can you say roughly when the 13-052 model was made/produced?, Cheers.

  19. Clwyd jones on 17 August 2018 at 11:12 am

    Gareth – did you get an answer to whether the 13-050 blades will fit your 13-030 plough plane since I have the same predicament?

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