VINTAGE WOODWORKING HAND TOOL NOTES

STANLEY No. 203 BLOCK PLANE

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Stanley No. 203 Block plane circa. 1937

This plane was designed for use in manual training. Over the years many aspiring wood workers learned the fundamentals of hand planing and honed their techniques using this plane.

I have a personal fondness for this plane for I used one in learning how to set-up, adjust and use block planes correctly.

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Extract from 1929 Stanley Tools Catalog

The diminutive (5½" long) Stanley No. 203 Block plane shares with the No. 1 Bailey and the No. 101 Block plane the distinction of being the smallest adjustable Stanley plane. Its production lifespan was from 1912 to circa. 1961.

The pleasing lines and balanced proportions of this little plane have made it a desirable collector's item. Additionally, it has found good utility as a handy finishing plane for small woodworking projects.


DESCRIPTION & NOMENCLATURE

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Exploded diagram/parts list -- with nomenclature --
from 1950 Stanley Tool Catalog (No. 203 Block plane)

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Disassembled post-Sweetheart era/pre-WWII period No. 203
Block plane -- matching the above Catalog depiction

Nomenclature in accordance with the Stanley Tool Catalog parts list stayed consistent throughout the production life of this plane with only two exceptions: Part No. 4 was called "Lever Cap" and part No.6 was called "Frog Complete" in the early Catalogs.


EARLY PRODUCTION PERIOD PLANE: circa. 1912-1919

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Stanley No. 203 Block plane circa. 1912


SWEETHEART PRODUCTION PERIOD PLANE: circa. 1920-1934

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Stanley No. 203 Block plane circa. 1929


POST-SWEETHEART PRE-WWII PRODUCTION PERIOD PLANE: circa. 1934-1941

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Stanley No. 203 Block plane circa. 1937


POST WWII PRODUCTION PERIOD PLANE: circa. 1948-1961

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Stanley No. 203 Block plane circa. 1949


SPECIAL NOTE

Although most references give the end of production year as 1961, all of the Stanley Store Catalogs I have consulted do not show any listings of No. 203 Block Planes after 1959.

No. 203 Block Planes were not produced in 1949 (Ref: 1948 Stanley Tools No. 34 Catalog insert).


REFERENCES


Author/Webmaster: jp29@cox.net

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