..need perspective sometimes. It definitely does take a little bit to make a stanley the way you want it, plus some time invested.
I'll bet if I put a thicker iron in the A5 that I have, most people would prefer it because there are fewer variables.
I think most people would prefer my scratch made infill to my stanley's too, because they'd feel safe with it. That being the reason I made it that way.
The one surprise with my norris is that the bottom was horribly out of flat, and not in a way that planed well. It would skip across a freshly jointed board, but not take a full shaving. I have lapped all of my stanley planes, just because I have a good lapping setup. They haven't all required it, but some have (at least to get a reasonable level of performance smoothing).
(I did look for a decent pre-war norris, but at this point, I'm not sure what the advantage to it would be other than that the mouth might be tighter, it might be slightly heavier, and the wood would have a lower shrinkage factor. The fact that the one I got with beech infills works as well as my stanley makes me pleased. It actually couldn't work any better - there's not a thing loose or out of place in it).