NEW! Faster Search Option


Replacement blades for older hand planes

ronhowes's picture

I have been reading about this new A2 steel used in newer, higher end hand planes.  Does anyone know where I can find replacement blades of this type for my older stanley planes?

Frozen's picture

Lee Valley has 'em (post #152762, reply #1 of 19)

“Expectation strolls through the spacious fields of Time towards Opportunity.” Umberto Eco, The Island of the Day Before
RalphBarker's picture

replacement blades (post #152762, reply #2 of 19)

Since Frozen has already provided the link for the Lee Valley baldes, here's the one for Lie Nielsen:

You might also want to look at Hock blades:

JohnWW's picture

Pluses and Minuses (post #152762, reply #3 of 19)

Most older planes have good quality carbon steel blades in them that work just fine for ordinary woodworking.  I wouldn't run out and buy A2 replacement blades because they are being hyped a lot.  

The only great advantage to using A2 steel is when working with exotic woods that dull ordinary carbon steel blades quickly. Because A2 is generally sharpened at a higher angle to compensate for its brittle qualities it and it is a bit harder to sharpen it also has some disadvantages.

Having a good grinding and honing set up that allows you to quickly and accurately sharpen your blades is a better first investment than going out to buy after market blades.

John White Shop Manager for FWW Magazine, 1998 to 2007

danmart's picture

Replacement blades: Yes or No (post #152762, reply #4 of 19)

Hey John

As a rule I tend to agree with most of the advice you post here on Knots. This one... I don't know??

I'll put in a pitch for Hoch blades. I also broke down and bought a couple Hock chipbreakers to see if it might improve the Hock blade. Unlike many others who favor the A2 steel, I like Ron Hock's high carbon thick blades for replacements.

When I called and talked with Ron, he told me the HC blade can be sharpened to the keenest edge of his blades. I have HC blades and A2 for my Stan 3 and Stan 4. They both work well but the A2 requires more time at the stones to get the results I get with the HC blades in a flash.

From my 3 year experience comparing the old Stanley blade with the Hock HC:

1. The Hock blades hold an edge longer than any Stanley I own.

2. The thicker blade seems to be more stable when locked in.

3. Jury is still out on the chipbreakers from Ron but.. I like them and I can get them really tight and even on the back of the cutter.


I guess its an old Ford or Chevy argument choosing to go Hock, LN or LV. I found the Hock's to be the best cost value if you look around.


Final Word: try one Hock set up(blade and chipbreaker). If it doesn't make your old Stanley better, take it out and make a wooden plane at 50-55 degrees and you have a nice York Plane. No real loss there,


derekcohen's picture

Hi Ron I am a big fan of A2 (post #152762, reply #5 of 19)

Hi Ron

I am a big fan of A2 blades ... because the wood I work is hard and abrasive and dulls HCS blades fast. If you need to hold an edge longer than you experience with O1 or HCS, then go ahead an try A2. There is not a lot of extra work in honing this steel over O1. That part is overdone by the forums. Nevertheless, O1 is easier and some are prepared to put up with more sharpening since they are not confident sharpeners. I am essentially repeating what John said earlier.

Regards from Perth


SteveSchoene's picture

I don't think that the (post #152762, reply #6 of 19)

I don't think that the particular choice of steel is of nearly as much functional interest as the fact that the replacement blades are all thicker than the original blades.  The design of the older Bailey planes won't allow using the same thickness as the new L-N models without tinkering I don't believe, but there is still a bit of extra heft to the ones that do fit. 

Test your finish on scrap, FIRST, or risk having to scrap your finish.

9619's picture

Steve, Rob Cosman has just (post #152762, reply #7 of 19)


Rob Cosman has just come out with a line of IBC irons and chip breakers for old Stanley Planes.  He is selling them through Woodcraft.    They go for about $100 a pair (iron and chipbreaker), and come with a DVD which shows you how to open the mouth (with a file) to enable you to use the new thick blades.   

The interesting question is:   is it worth it?   Say you buy an old Stanley which is in good enough shape to be nicely fettled.  Say you pay $50 for it.    Now you spend two days flattening and polishing the bottom, and you charge yourself a dollar an hour for your labor.   Then you take a file to the mouth and relieve the tool of any possibility of becoming "collectable".     You are into the realm of $160 plus a lot of labor.   Now try to sell the tool.  My guess is that you couldn't get back the $50 you paid for it, even including the new blade and breaker.     

But if you buy a Lie Nielsen,  you could use it for five or ten years and then get your money back on Ebay when wood is no longer plentiful enough to use for furniture.   :-)

I have fettled a half dozen old Stanleys, including the old blades.  I have a number of Lie Nielsens.   The LNs are perfection.  However,  as John White said,  the old fettled Stanleys really work VERY WELL.   

Last point, and my most important point -- when it comes to designing and making great furniture, having expensive tools can be more of a hindrance than a help.   Too many people get caught up in the syndrome of "should I buy the LN or the LV shoulder plane"?        But if you look at the furniture that was made by the Goddards an the Townsnds,   it is FABULOUS, and they didn't have any LN or LV planes.    Heck,  they didn't have anything as good as the old Stanleys.        I think that Knots has more people interested in "Which handtool should I buy?"   than in "How can I become as good as the Goddards and the Townsends?"       Krenov didn't fixate on which new plane to buy.     

Have fun.


Measure your output in smiles per board foot. 

SteveSchoene's picture

Mel, First, you can get a (post #152762, reply #8 of 19)


First, you can get a very fine replacement blade for well under $100, from either LV (under $45) or LN or Hock for a bit more.  Second, if you already have the Bailey or Bedrock, that cost is sunk and you should only compare the cost of the new blade against the alternative of the entire new plane.  Time spent fettling, for a hobbyist, doesn't count.  And, If you sell the plane, sell it with the original blade rather than as a Frankenplane with a non-original blade.  The only way you don't get back the initial purchase price is if the market has tanked--I assume you wouldn't be so foolish to have purchased at retail rather than auction, in which case you do have to eat the retail mark up.   You still have the aftermarket blade to sell or to use elsewhere.  LN resale premia is not a phenomena likely to last forever given these are still being made, albeit at a somewhat restricted rate.  Once the first generation buyers start dying off, the market will likely adjust. 

As far as the Goddards and Townsends, you are making an assumption that I doubt is true.  I expect they paid more, possibly much more, for their planes, as a fraction of income, than we pay for Lie-Nielsens.  And, once they had acquired the instinctive knack of setting them as a young apprentice, they likely had superior wooking tools, not inferior ones.  The proper comparison is to Clark and Williams planes, not to the expedience of metal bodied planes.  My C&W smoother, with a very fine mouth and York pitch, will handle  trickier grain than any other plane I know. 

(My C&W was my most expensive plane -- the cost of the plane, an anniversary gift from my wife, on a date I had completely forgotten, should surely include the price of the pearl necklace that had to follow.) 

Test your finish on scrap, FIRST, or risk having to scrap your finish.

RalphBarker's picture

cost plus (post #152762, reply #9 of 19)

Steve, I think you are wise to include the cost of reciprocation (e.g. pearls and diamonds) in the real cost of tools. The alternative is losing half the tools in the divorce settlement.  ;-)

Although I'm single (divorced), I decided to continue the tradition. Everytime I buy myself a tool, I buy myself a second one in "payment".  ;-)

vonmagnuson's picture

Just baught an IBC (post #152762, reply #11 of 19)

I just baught an IBC a couple weeks ago for a #4 Stanley I picked up.  I bought the IBC because they didn't have any Hock's in stock at the time.  It also had the chip breaker and DVD so in the end, about as expensive as a Hock w/chipbreaker.

Works pretty good.  DVD is great and gives a few tips that I didn't do well until I saw the demo on the DVD.  Have since tuned my 3,5 and 7 stanley's the same way (all have Hock's) and all will take a good chip.

I think the tuning and blade thickness was the biggest improvement.  Can't tell that much difference between the Hock and IBC blades.  Both hold an edge longer than a stock stanley.  Both are fairly quick to sharpen until the micro bevel needs re-done.  I like the A2 blades for chisels but some of my old 750's are just as good.


"Remember, a bad carpenter always blames his tools" -Joe Conti-

9619's picture

Magnus, Glad the IBC blades (post #152762, reply #13 of 19)


Glad the IBC blades work well for you.   There was a short writeup in Fine Woodworking, which just arrived at my house, which says that the IBC irons are as good as any.       


Measure your output in smiles per board foot. 

mufti's picture

Replacement plane blades. (post #152762, reply #12 of 19)

       Mel, as I get older than my profile, life gets easier. Rather than mess with new it is more fun to go back to wooden planes

with thick blades and single purpose use. Last year I extended my hollows and rounds and bought a box of spare blades of all shapes and sizes at very low cost. My typing does not get better though.

9619's picture

Mufti, I agree with you.  I (post #152762, reply #14 of 19)


I agree with you.  I like using Hollows and Rounds and other old wood planes.   It is good for the soul.  

But I do have a multi purpose plane, a Stanley 45, which tugs at me once in a while, and says,  "Come on, Mel, try and make me work."        I have.   It is enjoyable to give it a try.  When it works,  the feeling of accomplishment is HIGH.    

Have fun.  You are only as old as you think,


Measure your output in smiles per board foot. 

9619's picture

Mufti, I agree with you.  I (post #152762, reply #15 of 19)


I agree with you.  I like using Hollows and Rounds and other old wood planes.   It is good for the soul.  

But I do have a multi purpose plane, a Stanley 45, which tugs at me once in a while, and says,  "Come on, Mel, try and make me work."        I have.   It is enjoyable to give it a try.  When it works,  the feeling of accomplishment is HIGH.    

Have fun.  You are only as old as you think,


Measure your output in smiles per board foot. 

Woodhead's picture

New IBC Matched blade and breaker (post #152762, reply #16 of 19)

Hi Mel, on a decent Pre WW2 Stanley or Bailey 4 or 4 1/2 the entire process takes less than an hour.  The DVD will walk you thru some real time saving processes and ingnores the ones that dont contribute to the performance of the plane. Seems a lot of folks worry about filing the throat.  this usually takes less than five minutes and most old planes will benefit from having the throat squared up again.  Had a demo to do last week to a group of 125, only 45 minutes to take a previously untouched 4 1/2 thru the paces and explain it at the same time.  Used the new IBC blade/breaker (just out of the package) and by the end we were getting 1/2 thou shavings.  The extra thick blades already flattened and fit to the breakers removes the bulk of the work, 30 second sharpening employing the CHarlesworth ruler trick and you are good to go.  The initial idea for this product was to convert your Grandfathers hand-me-down into a good if not great user, thus spreading the gospel of hand planes!  If you can get a good deal on an old plane then great, however this was never meant to compete with buying a premium plane

good luck

Rob Cosman

9619's picture

Rob, I really wish you well (post #152762, reply #17 of 19)


I really wish you well with your venture with IBC!.   I am glad Chris Gochnour said the irons are as good as anything he has every used.   You can't beat that for a recommendation.  

Your demo of getting an old Stanley fully fettled with the new iron and chipbreaker in less than an hour is impressive.   When I got my last Stanley, a #7, it took me two afternoon sessions with a LOT of sandpaper, just to flatten the sole of that large beast. Of course, it was a great cardio workout!!!  :-)   

I hope that IBC/Pinnacle/Woodcraft finds a way to get some buzz going about your new package.   I believe that distributing videos to the stores would be a good idea, which wouldn't cost much.    Woodcraft is now big into "demos" on Saturdays.   It might be good for them to send materials to the stores for a demo, which followed an announcement in one of the monthly mailings.   

Here is a strange, off the wall comment to your great idea of "spreading the gospel on hand planes."   I talked to a guy yesterday who has been teaching intarsia and pyrography.  He is pretty well known around here, and his classes are popular.   Yesterday he surprised me by saying that in all the years of teaching this, he only knows of two students who have actually continued to do intarsia or pyrography.    What a downer!!!!!!     

That got me thinking.   Most of the folks I see who take "Intro to woodworking" do not have access to a shop.  So how do they do woodworking after the course?      SO WHAT ABOUT THOSE WHO INHERIT SOME OLD STANLEYS?????      I meet folks like this regularly, and others who buy or want to buy some old planes and want to learn to use them.     Some of these folks have not yet learned that the planes have to be sharpened after use, and almost none of them have sharpening stones or skills, and virtually none of them have a workbench.    

When I tell them the cost of a Norton 1000/8000 waterstone,  they are surprised.   When I tell them that a bench to plane on is really necessary, they often don't want to hear that.      

THen one gets down to business.  Suppose you have five nicely fettled handplanes, sharpening equipment and a bench...    Once still can't make any boxes or furniture,  as you well know.    One needs some saws, clamps, other tools, etc.     I have come to the conclusion that teaching "handplaning" before "an introduction  to woodwork with handtools" is not terribly useful.   

For a person to get in working usefully with handtools,  they have to have reasonable expectations of what tools and skills they will need to acquire.   

I have a number of books on using handtools, which are very good,  but they are a little "dry" for the folks I am talking about.   

ALL OF WHICH BRINGS ME TO MY RECOMMENDATION.  Why not think about making a video on "An introduction to working with handtools",  which shows you in action, making a box,   then a stool,  then something else    --- not in great detail, but enough to get across what handtool woodworking is all about.    This would put "handplanes" in perspective for those who think they want to do woodworking with handtools.  

Of course, this would stop many from even getting started because it would show them that reality is far different than their expectations.   The purpose of the video would be to calibrate their expectations -- to help them become realistic about what they can expect,  and to show them the joy of woodworking with handtools.    Without motivation and realistic expectations, it is highly unlikely that the newbies will be able to get anything lasting out of a course on how to fettle and use a smoothing plane.   

Anyway, you can see that I have too much time on my hands now that I am retired, and that i think too much.   I hope there is something useful in there for you.    I really search for ways to get folks interested in working with handtools.  I find it much easier to find folks who are already Machine Tool woodworkers and get them going with hand tools than to take someone new to woodworking and get them interested enough to stick it out.     I think that learning how to work with handtools is a lot like wanting to learn a new language.   It takes a lot more work to learn a new language than most folks realize, and the same is true for handtool woodworking.

Have fun.   And good luck with your saws and your irons and chipbreakers.


Measure your output in smiles per board foot. 

Sequim Tool's picture

IBC blades in A-2 (post #152762, reply #10 of 19)

I make my blades with 3/16" thick  A-2 steel heattreat at 1750 and temper at 300 for 60-62 RC

the photo is a #11 miller falls with 3/16" thick A-2 blade. I got the plane for $20.  The A-2 steel stock about $10. So for about $30.  I  have a plane that will work as good as any big brass  $1500. plane.

In this month's Fine Woodworking inside the back cover is a add for IBC blades.

The IBC blades in the add are .140 thick and I think Hock blades are only .093 thick. Thicker is better

IMG_0581.jpg159.78 KB
IMG_0582.jpg149.85 KB
9619's picture

sequim, You said: "Thicker (post #152762, reply #18 of 19)


You said: "Thicker is better".

My question is a serious one.   "Thicker is better,   up to what point?"   

Would it be better to have a nice 7" thick blade than a nice 2" thick blade than a nice 3/16" blade?

Where does "Thicker is better" stop?     How about an infill plane in which the entire infill is a 22 pound blade?

Can't wait to hear your answer.    I really don't know how thick is thick enough?  


Measure your output in smiles per board foot. 

Sequim Tool's picture

O no it's too thick (post #152762, reply #19 of 19)

You will have to push the wood over your plane.

When the blade stops flexing. And if I start with 3/16" stock I can grind off the decarb and still have a thick blade that won't flex. 

Look at one of my old posting ( Norris A-5 vs Miller Falls #9 ) I did a test of my new blades.

All the 100 year old Scottish planes had 3/16" to 1/4" blades

The tool club is having a thing called Best In The West.  check it out, Go to Union Hill Antique Tools,  click on PNTC.