Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Another Meaning of Hybrid Woodworking: The Stanley 55 "Saw Plane"?

Resawing boards by hand is tough work and it can be especially frustrating when the saw drifts off course ruining the workpiece. To better guide the saw, a cutting gauge can be used to score lines around the edges of the board. The deeper the groove, the more likely the saw will follow a straight course. But, a cutting gauge can only cut so far. If you can combine a saw with a fenced hand plane, then cuts along the edge will stay true. 

Introducing...The Stanley 55 Saw Plane. It kerfs. It dovetails. It rabbets. 

Similar saw/plane hybrids have been made before. There is the rabbet saw, described in Alvin Sellens' Dictionary of American Hand Tools, which was useful for accurate cross grain cuts with its fence for guidance. Eric Sloane's, A Museum of Early American Tools, also describes a rabbet saw which has an adjustable fence and resembling a moving fillister plane. Another variation was described in the Manuel de l'outillage des arts et m├ętiers as la scie pour rainures, or a grooving saw, which contains two parallel adjustable width saw blades. Finally, Tom Fidgen's Unplugged Workshop shows how to create a stunning wooden version, called a kerfing plane, and some of its uses.

A Rabbet Saw
Une scie pour rainures or Grooving Saw containing two saw blades

This Stanley 55 variation is so simple to make. Just find a discarded saw. I used a beat up backsaw blade. The top edge was shaped with snips and files with holes placed corresponding to the location of the two rods on the Stanley 55. The depth stops can be used if desired.

Backsaw blade shaped to fit the 55 plane. Saw nib added for the same mysterious reason saw nibs were added on many older saws...???
Stanley 55 plane main body

Saw blade mounted on rods (this is a rip cut saw blade; the later photos show the hybrid cut saw blade)

Second fence (auxiliary fence) added. Note small Phillips head bolt through the threaded hole near center bottom of runner which is used to add support by bracing the saw up against the main body to prevent bending

The Saw Plane in full regalia with both fences and both runners

Both fences are added providing a truely straight cut

The Spruce Goose completing its landing

Note that the depth gauge can be added to prevent the skates from digging into the wood

Next time...the Stanley 55 "Saw Plane" setup for tenon shoulders and sliding dovetails.


  1. That is awesome.

  2. Now I all I have to do is go to the steel yard and get me some spring steel to make this . Thanks I knew I dragged my feet to make the kerfing plane in toms book.

    1. Another option would be to buy a used miter saw at the flea market for a couple of bucks to make the mod for the 55.