This is an excerpt from the book, “Sargent #400 Series Bench Plane Identifcation Guide”, By Don Wilwol, Casey Benton and Mike Howell and also included in “The Sargent Hand Plane Reference Guide for Collectors and Woodworkers“
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:
- Casting/base Type
- Frog type
- 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) (see page 12 in the book for a full set of features)
David Heckel mentions in “Sargent Planes Identification and Value Guide Second Edition” that the handle on this plane had “at that time” only been reported on a #408 & #418 plane. We have now found it on a #409 as well.
**Type 1 base
**The totes are flat sided in an unconventional shape and are rosewood
** The model number depressed into the casting
Type 1 Sargent 400 series…….(1887 – 1890) (see page 14 in the book for a full set of features)
**Type 1 base
** Sargent & Co and Size cast in base
Type 2 Sargent 400 series……….(1890-1901) (see page 15 in the book for a full set of features)
** 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 3 Sargent 400 series..….(1902-1909) (see page 18 in the book for a full set of features)
**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.
Type 4 Sargent 400 series……VBM………..(1910-1918) (see page 20 in the book for a full set of features)
** Cap has “Sargent VBM” cast on it
** Third lateral with bent type disc and folded finger end
Type 4 Sub Types Introduced.
4a ——- These typically have plain lever caps. The castings are/were being geared up to be the VBM.
——- Still has an ogee style frog with recesses with japanned pattern
——- Sargent still not cast in a raised square behind knob
——- The model number may be cast in the sole on some
Note: Type 4a Pre-VBM have been observed in the following sizes as of this writing: #409,#414C, #418, #422…”
It is unknown whether the Type 4 bases started before or after 1910. The 4a Type may be before 1910 or it may be Sargent just using up parts after the VBM designation was started.
4b——- Round top frog reappears. Frog face is flat with no recesses
——- Sargent Cast in a raised square behind knob
——- The model number is no longer cast in the sole
Type 5 Sargent 400 series ,…………….(1919-1942) (see page 22 in the book for a full set of features)
** Lever cap now just has “Sargent” cast on it
** Tall knob
** New shaped tote
** A very few type 5 have left handed cutter adjuster.
Type 6 Sargent 400 series…(1943-1950) (see page 22 in the book for a full set of features)
** Lever cap now has “Sargent” cast and wrapped in a border
** New Tote design
** Adjuster nut is larger (1 1/4”) and steel
Early Hercules (Sargent’s value priced Line) (see page 26 in the book for a full set of features)
1927-1949 – #1408, #1409, and #1414.
1936-1949 – #1409C. 1936-1943 – #1414C
Hercules “Golden Cutter”……….(1950-1955 – #1408, #1409, and #1414. ) (see page 27 in the book for a full set of features)
Final Production 1400 Series…..1955-61 – #1408, #1409, and #1414. (see page 28 in the book for a full set of features)