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When dating planes, especially bench planes, it is usual to concentrate on the main parts - bodies, frogs and lever caps.Other smaller parts, including cutters, are user replaceable and could distort the dating process if not original to the tool. The plane itself is mint and shows no signs of ever having been used. They have been reinforced from the inside, and it looks pretty good now, and is stable. Each of the last 2 collectors thought enough of it to die with it in their possession, if not their hands, and now is your chance, as the current consignor is not as attached as they were. There is no signs of wear on the tail piece handle. The box does show some age along the edges and corners.
I can't believe it is the operator/user on this one though.Even then, some overlap in date ranges must be allowed for.WW lever caps appear to be consistent throughout production, apart from a batch of both sizes with rounded lower edges, made between about mid 1954 to1957. All this plane needs is the shop dust wiped off and an ever so light cleaning of the sides to be in near mint condition. A tough plane to find in the box and in this condition. This Stanley #3 C corrugated smooth plane is in like new never used condition. A tough plane to find in the box and in this condition.
I have a pretty good collection of hand planes, including a Lie-Nelsen and a wonderful 36" European jointer plane from the late 1800s.