My first handplanes were a couple of Stanley planes, a #4 and 5, that my grandfather Raymond "Mel" Radley left to me. Some years later those planes are still tuned and sitting in my tool cabinet waiting to take the thinnest shavings of wood off of any board.
Although I am not certain when but sometime in the last 10 years I felt that I needed more handplanes to work with. Lie Nielsen planes are pretty much today's standard. Veritas hand planes are very comparable at a fraction of the cost. Compared to flea market, eBay or garage sale finds they are both a lot more expensive. I like to go against the grain! So instead of choosing Stanley or Bailey planes like most I started looking for something different. After purchasing some Union, Sargent and other misc. planes, then cleaning, sharpening, tuning and repairing them I found my dream series. . . . they were made by the Union Mfg Co in Connecticut.
Why Union handplanes? I feel that they are built better and seam to be heavier than Stanley, Bailey, Sargent, etc. Reason number two - They were only made for approximately 40 years. Now the hard part . . . . . . . . tool collector vs craftsman . . . . . . or . . . . . . craftsman vs tool collector. Bottom line a fully functional late 1800's or very early 1900's handplane that can hold it's own against Lie Nielsen and Veritas. Both in form and function.
The following information will be used to document the history of Union handplanes, preserving the history of the Union Mfg Co.
1900 Union purchased Derby (Birmingham) Plane Manufacturing
1900 - 1903 Union manufactured the B Plane
1905 Union published the Union Iron and Wood Planes catalogue which was
printed by the Adkins Printing Company located in New Britain, Conn.
1922 Union Mfg Co creates a new subdivision the Union Plane Co.
Post 1930 Union Mfg Co sells the Union Plane Co division to Stanley. This is believed to
be in 1936.
1957 Miller Falls acquires the Union Tool Company - which is NO relationship to
Union Mfg Co and/or Union Plane Co.