Stanley No. 60-1/2 Block Plane

By Robert Robillard on Tool Reviews

Stanley No. 60-1/2 Block Plane Tool Review

As a carpenter and sometimes woodworker I have a half dozen specialty panes and related power planing tools in my shop. More often than not, when I need to perform a planing operation, I reach for my block plane. Block planes are the most popular hand plane sold as well as most useful. we had had the chance to review the  Stanley No. 60-1/2 Block Plane.

Photo: My collection of Stanley Planes.

I have two: a Stanley No. 9- 1/2 block plane [left] and my vintage Stanley No. 220 block plane [right] in photo below.


My two favorite block planes: Stanley 9-1/2 and Stanley 220

Useful and Portable

A low angle block plane is small enough for one handed finishing or fitting and is useful in almost any planing operation. One big plus for a carpenter is that this handy tool is small enough to fit in my tool belt!


Using the Stanley 60-1/2 Low angle Block Plane to plane Maple

A sharp, properly adjusted block plane can take super thin shavings off a piece of wood being scribed to fit, adjust trim miters, chamfer an edge, fit a door, trim end grain or remove mill marks leaving the woods edge as smooth as glass.

Because block planes do so much for finish carpentry, it’s the number one hand plane on the job site, as well as in small wood shops and homeowners toolboxes.Stanley Tool Company recently sent me a Stanley No. 60-1/2 Block Plane to test and evaluate. Photo below.

QUALITY STEEL:

When I told a contractor friend of mine that I was evaluating a Stanley No. 60-1/2 Block Plane he asked me to inquire about the blade quality and hardness. In my research on this tool I found out that the blade is made from “A2 tool steel.”

A2 steel is an air hardening tool steel capable of being hardened throughout. This type of tool steel is used for applications which involve extreme accuracy. A2 steel displays a good balance between hardness, toughness and longer edge retention which is an important requirement to me on a job site.

When I received the Stanley No. 60- 1/2 plane [Model # 12-139] it came in a durable, quality looking box and wrapped in an air tight bag, for moisture protection.

After taking out and holding the plane, my first impression was that it “felt” like quality and had a really nice “fit and finish” to it, which usually indicates quality workmanship and construction went into the tool.




USABILITY:

In my experience most hand planes are not ready to use out of the box.

I’ve often found it necessary to have to flatten the sole, file the blade bed and re-sharpen the blade before getting the whisper thin cuts I’m looking for. All of these steps are tedious and time consuming but needed to get the plane in top performance.


Checking the sole plate for flatness

QUALITY:

I was surprisingly pleased to find that this Stanley No. 60-1/2 Block Plane came out of the box with precision ground sides and super flat, mirror like polish on the shoe bottom. Both met at 90 degrees and really did not need extra adjustments or flattening.

The 1/8″ thick blade is ground to 25 degrees and was surprisingly sharp and I was shocked when it passed my “shave the hairs on the back of my hand” test.
No additional sharpening was needed during the week I tested this plane but I have since sharpened it a bit more and added a 5 degree micro bevel to the blade as well as polish flat the back side of the blade.

FEATURES:

Its base and frog are machined as one piece, real classy touch, which will reduce chatter and provide this plane with added stability.

This plane has a solid weight [2 lbs] and ergonomic grip that just “feels’ like quality. It’s heavier frame will no doubt help to reduce chatter and vibration during use.

User-friendly mechanical adjustment opens and closes the mouth quickly, precisely and was smooth to operate. I really like the quality brass levers and wheels.

To adjust the mouth, a turn of the knob below loosened the tension on the lever which controls the mouth opening.

Mouth opening shown below. This is where the blade extends from.

DEPTH ADJUSTMENT:

The depth adjustment was remarkably easy. Just slightly loosen the lever wheel cap, photo below.

Then adjust the blade with the depth adjustment screw. Lightly tightening the lever cap wheel when satisfied with the blade depth.

OVERALL IMPRESSION:

It is hard to say a bad word about the Stanley No. 60-1/2 low angle block plane. I thought it a bit heavy to carry in my tool belt but it’s perfect for the shop. The fit, finish, accuracy and the performance of this plane is way, way above average and is priced ready to sell.


Photo: Planing a Maple hardwood board.

PRICE AND WHERE TO BUY:

Currently available at woodworking supply stores, and online, this plane sells for a retail price of $99.99. Well worth it!



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About the author

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor

Rob Robillard is “The Concord Carpenter” Rob is a builder, general contractor, carpenter, woodworker, and editor of Concord Carpenter and ToolBoxBuzz As a General Contractor and carpenter, Rob owns and operates Concord Carpenter LLC. A full-service remodeling and construction company. Rob is a recognized leader in home building best practices and a source for how-to information for building professionals. On this website, Rob covers all aspects of home construction, building science, home improvement, woodworking, remodeling, and some of the best product and tool reviews. Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review series - Concord Carpenter Videos where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob approaches remodeling and building construction with a pragmatic and problem-solving approach. He enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the construction and remodeling industry. He's a strong advocate for "raising the bar" in the construction trades and promoting the trades to youth. #BeAMentor #Green2Great Craftsmanship, quality, and pride guide his journey on this channel The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob If you have a building or remodeling question you can have rob respond to your answer via video. Click here for more information. https://jointruly.com/robillard Invite code: x22r2

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