Can someone compare the Stanley 151 to the 951?
I've been hoping to luck into a vintage Stanley 151 somehow, but unfortunately they seem to sell for about what they're worth! I finally made up my mind just to see if I could get a new one and regard it as a kit, but the market place has confused me. It kind of looks like maybe Stanley stopped making the 151 and replaced it with a 951, but both models are still available. I can't find any comparison of the two models, and often it's hard to know which one you're ordering. Only the 951 are on shelves around here so I can't compare them myself. If I end up with a 951 will I be a Sad Person? I would love to pick up the Boggs but I'm tightening my belt around here.
If you ever decide to loosen the belt, spring for the Boggs. I have two, a flat and a round bottom. They're wonderful.
By the way, on the Stanley 151: I'll repeat my pitch, probably made here earlier, for the Stanley 51 and 52 spokeshaves. These lack the knurled-nut adjustment for the iron - like the Boggs spokeshaves, you adjust them by fiddling, but this doesn't take long to learn - but those nuts are not an unmixed blessing. They add weight in an awkward location, and they can get in the way in tight inside corners. The 51 (gull-wing handles) and 52 (straight handles) are lighter, a little like driving a Miata compared to a Camry.
I just looked on eBay - normally, there are multiple offerings, but recently just one sold, for not much more than retail on the current Stanley 951.
I see your original post dates from December, so you may have decided on something already. This surfaced again yesterday, so here are my thoughts anyway.
I started out about 50 years ago with a Stanley #151 from Constantine’s mail order. Used it mainly making canoe paddles, but never really got it to work as well as I wanted. In hindsight I did not know how to sharpen well enough at that time, but it colored my view of the #151. Over time I learned to sharpen it better, and it works quite well. If I'd only known....
In the past 15 years, I’ve also bought a number of modern shaves. These are all very fine tools. Each one does a slightly different job, and each one is satisfying and fun to use. I can recommend any of them, depending on what you want to do. These include the following:
2 shaves for flat or convex work
Flat LN-Boggs Shave - elegant simplicity and perfection for fine work; depth/skew adjusted with brass hammer. I prefer this method over adjustment wheels. Beautiful to use.
LN #81 Razor Shave - Wood-bodied, great low-angle workhorse.
3 shaves for concave work
Round Veritas Shave - 1-3/4” radius; depth/skew set with adjustment wheels similar to #151, but works much better than #151. I prefer the brass hammer method over adjustment wheels, but the Veritas adjustment works so well that it’s not an issue. Came with set of shims for mouth adjustment. Very nice shave.
Round LN-Preston Shave - 1-1/2” radius; depth/skew adjusted with brass hammer. Simple and elegant like the LN-Boggs, but much smaller, 1-3/8” blade width vs. 2-1/8” in LN-Boggs and Veritas. A little gem of a shave.
Woodjoy Brass Circular Shave (“cigar-shave”) - 5/8”-diameter brass body. I’m not sure of effective cutting radius, but it’s very small. Depth/skew set with Allen wrench. You probably would not want this as your only shave, but it will do a nice job on tight inside radii the Veritas and LN-Preston Round Shaves can’t touch. Requires commitment and persistence to master. This was the most difficult shave to learn, but I was able to tame it with time and effort.
Thanks for you thoughts, woodworkers. Lacking experience with spokeshaves, I am (perhaps baselessly) inclined to assume I will be able to put the 151 to work without acquiring quite as much skill. I don't anticipate the nuts getting in the way, but I'll watch for that. I was never able to hold both the 151 and the 951 at the same time to compare them, so I went ahead and ordered the 951. I'll regard it as a kit from which I can make a serviceable spokeshave. It will probably not be the spokeshave they bury me with, and that's ok.