… because I want to be like David Charlesworth


Stanley no. 5 1/2 C (ca 1902-1907) rehab

I bought this plane from Jim Bode in August of 2015. It is my 4th no. 5 and 5th Jack plane (if I include my shop made wooden Jack plane). Why, … because I want to be like David Charlesworth, that is why! It is more than an adequate reason to buy another Jack plane in my book. David is such an icon to me, I just love his meticulous and cerebral approach to the craft.

In the interest of woodworking ethics/morality, I should probably say to the beginners out there (who wants to be like me … did I say that out loud?), that you do not need 5 Jack planes. In fact ,you do not need any other bench plane than a single no. 5. The problem is that I like the tools of the trade as much as the trade itself.

This plane seems to be David Charlesworth’s favourite as it is never far from his reach in those famous Lie-Nielsen DVDs. The no. 5½ was made between 1898 – 1958 and this particular specimen is a Type 9, which were made between 1902 – 1907. The pictures below are those taken by Jim, before it traveled to Sub-Sahara Africa.


Kenny at the Prop Shop did the usual bead blasting for me.


I actually prefer the Type 8’s frog receiver to these, but they are still pretty good. Stanley changed the frog receiver in 1902 as indicated by the patent dates in the main casting. They did this to cut the time and cost of production, not as an improvement in function. The slippery slide towards poorer quality at a higher price is probably what led to the emergence of so called ‘tool shaped objects’ that we are so familiar with in the 21st century.This particular plane does not have the frog adjusting screw, which was added to the Bailey series from 1907 onwards.


One of the reasons I like this plane so much is that it does not have anything cast into the area of the main casting behind the frog. I find the smooth surface much more comfortable when putting firm thumb pressure in this area, … you’ve guessed it … ala Charlesworth.


Rust converter.


Anti-rust undercoat.


High gloss truck enamel paint.



This past weekend I managed to assemble the plane.


Sorry for the poor quality of this picture, but you should be able to see that I did some work to flatten the area where the blade beds down …


… as well as the frog receiver area.


David Charlesworth eat your heart out.


I have already done some work with this plane and it is an absolute gem.

6 thoughts on “… because I want to be like David Charlesworth”

    1. Hey Jonathan

      Jip, this is an excellent plane. I actually prefer type 7’s and 8’s, but this type 9 is as close as you can get.

      We’re off to the Okavango soon for a short break. Will take some more photos for you.


  1. NIce, that bead blasting does a very good job of cleaning the bed without injury. I should look it up near me, I have a few that could uses a re-paint.

    I don’t uses my 5-1/2 much anymore, I mostly uses my Veritas LA jack.
    But it is nice to have “a few” in your arsenal to play with isn’t it ? 🙂

    Bob, who has currently a small pile of No 16ish H&R to rehab

    1. Hi Bob

      Nice to hear from you. I hope Heather is doing OK?

      The bead blasting is definitely recommended in my experience. I actually know of someone who does powder coating (which must surely give a better finish) here in Windhoek, but the quality of workmanship in Namibia (on average) is so poor that I prefer to simply do the painting myself.

      Not sure what H&R is??

      Kind regards

      1. Hi Gerhard
        Yes Heather is doing as well as can be, the radiation is doing its job…There is always hope.

        Back to planes rehabs, I never bother repainting any of mine, (the collector thinghy 🙂 but I have a few that could use it. I will look it up around my neck of the woods.

    2. Hi Bob

      Just saw your latest post on your site, of course, it is Hollows & Rounds. I also have quite a few to restore so will read with interest.


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