Saturday, January 17, 2015

Ståhls moving fillister

In the large chest of old tools that I got for Christmas, there was moving fillister plane.
The plane looks like a copy of a Stanley No 78.

As far as I have found out on the Internet, the company Ståhls was a large retailer that branded tools made by other companies. Therefore the plane is most likely manufactured by Järnbolaget Eskilstuna (Sweden).

A couple of things on this plane are peculiar:

There are both inch based threads and metric threads present on the plane. And it doesn't look like the metric threads have been added later on as a repair job.
The screws for holding the iron and the lever cap look a lot like 3/16" threads, but the thread for the rod holding the fence and also the screw to tighten the lever cap are M6. The thumb screws are both M5 and the screw for holding the nicker is M4.
The best suggestion I have as to why the manufacturer didn't stick to either imperial or metric threads, is that the setup for the drilling and tapping of the two diagonally placed holes were a dedicated machine that was difficult to change, hence they continued with the imperial threads in those places. The rest of the holes are all square to the cast and ground body, so they could be made on any drill press. But this is just my guess.

The spelling of Sweden is wrong.
Apparently they must have decided that the function of the plane was more important than any misspelling, so they finished the run of planes.
Now this is the only plane that I have from Ståhls, so I don't know if this is a mistake that is on all their planes, but I doubt it.
The misspelling must have started out somewhere, perhaps it was drawn correctly on the drawing that was sent to the die pattern maker, but the pattern maker routinely corrected the spelling to suit how the name Sweden is spelled in Swedish (Sverige). If anyone had to check the model before starting to cast the iron, either they didn't notice or didn't know it was not correct, or they just didn't want to take the trouble to make a new model.
Whatever the reason, the spelling is as you can see SVEDEN.

I think that whenever I will use the plane, I will always know that whatever mistake I make in the project, It will be easier to conceal than a misspelling in cast iron. That is a comfort.

I cleaned the plane and checked the sole for flatness. It was dead flat. The fence was square to the sole and also flat. The only thing that was a bit out of square was the depth stop. I fixed that with a file and some emery paper. After that I honed the blade and cleaned the plane a bit.
I filed the knicker at the same time, so it didn't protrude quite as far.
The only part missing was the thumbscrew for the depth stop. I made a new one out of brass on the lathe followed by a bit of sawing with a hacksaw and some filing.

Note the spelling: MADE IN SVEDEN

Plane before cleaning.

Ståhls moving fillister.


  1. Cool plane and nice job fixing it up. 78 variants pop up all the time in Sweden, Anchor is another common brand. I don't know how it is in Denmark, but in Sweden up until a couple years ago W and V were considered basically the same letter. In the dictionary and phone book these letters were jumbled together, it took a decision by the Swedish Academy (responsible for awarding Nobel prizes) to change things. There used to be a moving truck here in Gothenburg that advertised "worldwide mowing" on its side. I always wanted to commission them to cut my folks' grass back in the states.

    That being said, this was the first time I have seen Sweden spelled that way!

    1. Hello Hans,
      Thanks for dropping by.
      In Denmark W is very little used. historically, as far as i know it was used more about 150 years ago if people tried to spell the local dialects.

      I really like the "Worldwide mowing" That ought to be a landscaping business with some serious aspiration :-)

      I have a couple of Anchor planes at home. as far as I remember, a no 3 and a couple of No 4, a No 5 and a No 6. It could also be that the No 5 is a Hellstedt, I can't quite remember.
      My parents have a cottage on Wärmlandsnäs, so I like to go to auctions when we are there in the summer. Sweden is a great place for old tools.

      By the way, Göteborg has got one of the best maritime museums I have ever visited, so if you are into that sort of stuff, it is higly recommended.


  2. Your die maker is probably better called a pattern maker. Most cast iron is cast in sand with a two sided wooden pattern that has sand packed around it and the pattern is then removed. You can see the draft used to ease the removal of the pattern on the two blade beds. They are thinner on the left than the right. Looking at my Stanley 78 it appears the parting line (part where the two halves of the pattern joined) is that odd ridge where the right side machining ends and then an offset and core was used to create the hollow handle. I used to work with a few pattern makers and they were the best wood workers I have ever met, but I believe your reasoning on the misspellings because that kind of stuff happens and is expensive to fix. Nice job on the thumb screw, I had to spend a bunch of time looking for a spare one, but I finally got one from St. James Bay Tool Co.

    1. Hi Mark.

      Pattern maker. That was the word I was looking for, thanks :-)
      I have seen old patterns in a museum, and I believe you, when you say that pattern makers are good woodworkers.
      Making the thumb screw was pretty straight forward. It helped a lot that it had a standard M5 thread for which we had a die on board. Having a lathe at hand is also a great help. It isn't original, but it is still better than a normal slotted screw in my opinion.
      Thanks for commenting.

  3. Hi Jonas,

    With regard to the mixed hardware on your plane, M5 and #10-32 threads are close enough that a #10 will go into an M5 hole for a few turns before the pitch mismatch becomes evident. I don't believe that the other way is possible. The diameter of #10 is .190 inch and 5mm is .197 inch.

    The danger is torquing the small screw in the tapped hole and causing damage to the threads.

    The other thread sizes are sufficiently different from the imperial sizes that there is no partial fitting in the holes.

    Best of luck with the new plane.

    1. Hi Steve.

      My initial thought was exactly what you mention: Someone has found an M5 screw and forced it into the thread. But neither the thread in the hole nor the thread on the screw bears any signs of being damaged in such a way.
      I could maybe understand if someone had damaged one thread and then made a new one, but the original thumb screw and the lever cap knurled screw definitely have metric threads. And these don't look like they have been tampered with at all.
      Even though I am an engineer, I think it is the first time I have seen a single unit/machine that was professionally made where metric and imperial threads are both present. The exception would be for something that is to be mounted on some kind of piping, where BSP thread is common over here.

      I just compared the threads to the thumbscrews and the rods for my Stanley 248 grooving plane, and they really are different.
      So I am pretty convinced that the plane was produced like that. I still find it odd though.

  4. Excellent job on the plane rehab! The moving fillister is my favorite plane. I have an antique wood one which I rehabbed, and I would love to pick up the Veritas version if I manage to save the money.

  5. Hi Bill.

    The rehab was surprisingly easy on this plane, it was flat and square the right places.
    I had a Record No 78 for a very short period of time, and that one didn't perform very well. As far as I remember, the fence was out of square, so the rabbet was not square if you supported the fence with your fingers.
    A couple of years ago I took a deep breath and ordered a Veritas skewed rabbet plane. That is a really good plane.
    The fence locking mechanism just works perfect, well actually the entire plane works perfect.
    Before going out to sea, Gustav started making a small tack box for hs horse grooming supplies (bristles and stuff), we used the Veritas skewed rabbet plane for making ship lapped boards for the bottom. It is addictive to use! the shavings just curl and everything is nice and crisp. Off course it helps that the blade has never been sharpened, so it is still sharp from when I bought it.

    I am thinking of adding this plane to my tool set for the sea, I am going to make a new sea tool chest anyway so it should fit in. The old tool chest got pretty banged up in the last trip on an airplane.

    Speaking of planes, did you buy a plough plane? I remember you wrote about an ECE, but I can't remember the outcome.