Saturday, 23 January 2010

The Stanley No. 1 - Rationalizing the Unrationable...

Scarcity drives the prices and because some tools were not very popular during the hand tool heyday, their prices today far exceed those that were more popular. The Stanley No. 1 plane is a very good example of this. While cute, a term that should never be able to describe a tool, the reality is, very few woodworkers wanted one.

In 1934, a brand new, shiny No. 1 sold for the incredible price of $2.95. Most, back then, chose to purchase its bigger brother, the No. 4, even though it sold for a whole lot more at $4.20. This, of course, brings up the question; if just about everyone thought a particular plane wasn’t worth the money in 1934, why would I want one now?

The answer, of course, is obvious - because I can.

Because the average worker didn’t want one of these way back when, today a collector would have to part with over $1500 for a good example of one. That is a huge amount of cash for an unusable plane, its value putting it in that “never-touch-wood” category, rather than the fact that it is just not a comfortable tool to work with. Its big brother, though, is now the poor relative, selling for less than $150 a pop because good examples of them are a dime a dozen.

So if I am having these issues over paying that kind of money for the actual plane, image how I felt when I came upon this in’s offerings today...

I can pretty much sum up what I am talking about here using the old credit card company's advertising catch-phrase:

The plane - $1500.00

The box it came in - $2700.00

The ability to justify the cost of both to your wife – Priceless