Sargent Type — — 5400 Series

This is an excerpt from the book, Sargent #400 Series Bench Plane Type Study, By Don Wilwol, Casey Benton and Mike Howell Soon to be released.


The Book is based on Sargent bench planes in the #400 series. We have tried our best to differentiate as much as possible to what sizes are referenced in each section. The book references all sizes of the #400 series.

You will find most of these dates are from the “Sargent Planes Identification and Value Guide” By David Heckel with a few added tweaks and added information we’ve discovered studying Sargent planes for the last several years. We certainly want to thank David E. Heckel for his hard work and his permission to carry on his work here and in the book.

As with all type studies, this is an estimated Sargent manufacturing timeline. Keep in mind this is mostly estimations based on criteria we have so far seen published and what we have uncovered. There is still more work to be done, and we will continue to try to find and refine the information as it becomes available.

The following study is based on Sargent bench planes in the #400 series. We will try our best to differentiate as much as possible to what sizes are referenced.

Since we wanted to keep the current type number structure, we’ve added a type zero. We felt it was important to separate the first run of the series. The pre-lateral Sargent plane is quite rare, but the type 0 are extremely hard to find so we felt it was important to categorize those as a type of their own.

As you read through the study you will find all changes provided for each type are always changes from the next previous type. For instance, “Type 2 Changes” are represented with what changed from “Type 1”. “Type 1 Changes” are changes from “Type 0” and so on. The changes are typically preceded by “—–“

The **<feature> (features preceded by two stars **) are carried over from the previous type and are the same in the previous type, but rather than make the reader go back through several types to get a full list of features, we’ve incorporated them all together.

It’s important to note that features of Sargent planes often carry over from type to type. Sargent used up inventory as they came to it, so it’s common to see parts from previous years on more modern planes. Although we see this in most tool manufactures, we see this more in Sargent planes than we generally do in others. It also seems like there is also more variations and more building one plane at a time type work than we see in other manufactures as well.

 Instances of this would be a type 4 base may have the name raised in a square AND the size of the plane behind the frog, or the size may be missing, OR the base may be void of any casting marks at all.

The best approach when determining the planes age is to start with the lateral, but verify the base. The lateral should get you close, especially on the older planes. Identification of a plane’s “Type” is a three-step hierarchical process:

  1. Casting/base Type
  2. Frog type
  3. Lever Caps and Irons.

Also a plane with a type 4 base and all other (or at least a majority of) type 3 parts (more often seen in planes Sargent made for house brands) would be considered an early type 4 where a very late type 3 would be a type 3 base with all (or at least a majority of) other type 4 parts. If you are trying to date the plane this narrows it down to a short period before or after the transition. Don’t let the existence of multiple “type” parts make you feel you have an undervalued plane. As time passes, we may find more sub types that can be added to the study.


Type 0 Sargent 400 series…………….(1887 – first run)

**Type 1 base
**Pre-Lateral frog
**The totes are flat sided in an unconventional shape and are rosewood
** The model number depressed into the casting

102_1965 cutter logo102_1953

Type 1 Sargent 400 series…….(exact start date unknown but likely 1888 – 1890)

**Type 1 base
**Pre-Lateral frog
**Normal Totes
** Sargent & Co and Size cast in base


Type 2 Sargent 400 series……….(1890-1901)

** Horseshoe lateral

** Frog seat has O shaped bolt receivers
**Round top frog
**Iron logo oval with USA in the center. Sargent and Co. Top and New Haven Ct bottom.

type 2 cutter logosIMG_20170414_135642705_HDRhorseshoe lat

Type 3 Sargent 400 series..….(1902-1909)

** Second twisted lateral with bent type disc

**Ogee shaped frog
**Frog seat with O shaped bolt receivers are gone and are now being transitioned to “square shaped” frog bolt receivers.

IMG_20170414_143117430_HDRtype 3 lever cap

Type 4 Sargent 400 series……VBM………..(1910-1918)

** Cap has “Sargent VBM” cast on it
** Third lateral with bent type disc and folded finger end
**Heavier casting

102_1881type 4 VBM cutter logostype 4 vbm cap large

=Type 5 Sargent 400 series ,…………….(1919-1942)

** Lever cap now just has “Sargent” cast on it
**Tall knob
**New shaped tote

102_1867102_1874type 5 Cap large

Type 6 Sargent 400 series…(1943-1950)

** Lever cap now has “Sargent” cast and wrapped in a border
** New Tote design
** Adjuster nut is larger (1 1/4”) and steel

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Early Hercules (Sargent’s value priced Line)

1927-1949 – #1408, #1409, and #1414.

1936-1949 – #1409C. 1936-1943 – #1414C

hercules cutter logosIMG_20170405_142315367_HDRIMG_20170405_142743550_HDR

Hercules “Golden Cutter”……….(1950-1955 – #1408, #1409, and #1414. )

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Final Production 1400 Series…..1955-61 – #1408, #1409, and #1414.

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