A tale of two planes
Lie-Nielsen has benefitted the entire woodworking community by providing bench planes based on the venerable Stanley Bedrock designs. The Record company provided bench planes that were clearly based on the Bailey patent system. Interestingly enough, Garrett Wade Company also became involved in the “Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery” business when it offered the Paragon Plane. The Paragon brand was identified as a “Premium” plane and carried a reasonable, but somewhat higher price than its competitors.
I had pretty much forgotten about the Paragon, until a friend of mine gave me one that he had purchased when Garrett Wade first introduced the line. I knew that I had seen that design before, but where? It didn’t take long for me to identify the design as that of the Millers Falls Type 4, that was produced from 1955 to 1966.
The Millers Falls plane was made in the United States, the Paragon in England.
The unique, two-piece lever cap, patented by Millers Falls was incorporated into the Paragon.
While the cheeks of the plane are a little higher on the Paragon, the similarities between the two planes are striking. The M-F used Padauk for the knob and tote. It appears that the Paragon also uses the same specie with a little different finish. Note the “upright” design of the totes. The massive adjuster nut is common to both planes.
Both planes are excellent in performance. But, I’d have to give the edge to the M-F. The casting, machining and plating just seems to be a little better. But, in fairness, the adjustments on both are smooth and with minimal lash. Either one of these smoothers would be an excellent addition to the shop.