I’ve got three planes. One is a brand new Stanley #4. I bought it from Woodcraft when taking a Hand Tools Basics and Sharpening class. The other two are a Stanley block plane and a Victor jack plane, both of which belonged to my great-grandfather.

I’m having problems with ol’ Rudolf’s jack plane right now. When I mate the chipbreaker to the iron (loose, not tightened at all), it looks just like it should (click to enlarge):

Chipbreaker and Iron (loose)

But when I tighten the screw to hold the chipbreaker in place, one end of the chipbreaker rises up (click to enlarge):

Chipbreaker and Iron (tight)

So since I can’t use my Victor for planing down my workbench lumber, I turned to Stanley #4. And since I’m a complete blockhead, I tried lowering the blade while the lever cap was tightened. Using a wrench to turn the depth adjustment knob, I couldn’t seem to get the blade any lower. Then suddenly, *pop*. The gizmo connecting the depth adjustment knob to the iron/chipbreaker snapped (click to enlarge):

Broken Plane

Part of me wants to blame Stanley for making such cheap crap. Even with my user error, certainly a pre-WWII plane wouldn’t have let me do this? But in the end, I have to take some of the responsibility for it. I’m going to send this back to Stanley and just pray that they’ll send me a new one. In the meantime, I’m going to the local hardware shop to buy a cheap little block plane (probably less than $10), sharpen it up, and keep going!