I recently purchased a whole bunch of handplanes off of craigslist (sorry Jill) the majority of them are kind of cheap and crappy. But I really wanted one of these. Which is known as a Stanley #7 jointer. It basically takes the place of a power jointer, its very big, 22" long and weighs in at 9 lbs. Well I got together with another local woodworker who knows a lot more about handplanes than I do, and he said this one looks old and that I should try and figure out how old it is.
I started cleaning it up this last weekend to get it ready to use. I took it apart and found that it is in really good shape, just needs a little tlc. Well this morning I started trying to date this thing. These old Stanley planes have quite the following so there are several sights that show the exact signs to look for and to date the plane. I posted some pictures on a woodworking forum and the handtool experts quickly told me this is a Stanley type 5 #7. Which means that it was made between 1885-1888.