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Stanley 45 and 55, can I make a 55 work like a 45?

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5 replies to this topic

#1 morganew


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Posted 25 November 2012 - 05:30 PM

I currently have a perfect untouched Stanley 45, still in its wooden box; all cutters, things still in unopened paper wrappers, etc. Someone gave it to me without realizing what it was, and the kind of shape it was in.

I was ALSO given a worn Stanley 55, with a tupperware container of cutters, a slightly bent depth stop, missing the slitter, a skate that seems not quite coplanar with its mate, but otherwise solid.

I am not a tool collector - I figure tools were meant to be used. That said it seems a shame to break out the 45 and put it into circulation when I have a well worn 55.

I've used the 45s at Roy Underhill's school in NC, and found them pretty workable for doing drawer bottom dadoes and the like.

That said, I've read that the 55 is more finicky than the 45, and harder to get dialed in.

Visually, the 55 seems like I could strip it down to be a 45, and not worry about all the gee gaws that come with it. If that's true, it makes sense to keep the 45 in the box, and either sell it or give it to someone for whom collecting is the real value of woodworking tools.

Anyone here have experience with both? Can I effectively downgrade the 55?

#2 Muddleheaded WW

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 01:30 AM

I can't think of any reason why not. The #55 is really just a tricked up #45. So if all you want to do is to use the same features you can do so.

Screwing up in new ways every day :)

#3 TimV


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Posted 26 November 2012 - 06:25 AM

Don't touch that 45 in the condition it is.

You should be able to use the 55 just fine, but if you can't go out to an auction or ebay and buy another 45 to use.

#4 morganew


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Posted 26 November 2012 - 06:26 AM

Muddleheaded WW: Agree on the face of it, however there are some slight differences between the two. Unfortunately Patrick's Blood and Gore is less than helpful on these two - he openly admits to hating both with a red-hot passion. To wit, here's his opening paragraph on the Stanley #55:

The Great Zeus Himself thought His sentence of Prometheus to be the ultimate punishment for mankind, and throughout the millenia it was. That is, until the year 1897 when Messrs. Justus Traut and Edmund Schade devised a torture that knew no bounds betwixt Gods and mortals. We should all be so lucky to be chained to a rock and have our livers eaten daily by an organ-hungry raptor than to suffer the agony of this contraption. Even the Chinese would have gladly abandoned their infamous drip, drip, drip of water to the forehead had they been on Stanley's favored nations tradelist. If there can be a ball and chain of planes, this is it, baby.

#5 morganew


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Posted 26 November 2012 - 06:29 AM


Yeah, that's the other possibility. buy a beater 45 and set it up to just do dadoes. But if that's all, then I might as well check out the Veritas...

#6 KMoura

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 08:42 PM

I too have a Stanley #45 from 1910 and bought another #45 for the parts I did not have. From the research I have done on the internet and a couple of Stanley books that I have the #55 can use all of the irons from a #45, but a #45 cannot use some of the irons from a #55. I am not sure why this is. Some of the mint condition and complete #45's on Ebay at the time I bought mine were going for at least a couple of hundred dollars, and I have had mine for about a year.