Bill Tindall, E.Tn.
One of the benefits of attending a Midwest Tool Collectors meet is the opportunity to buy "wholesale" things to be tried. If they don't work out they can be sold without loosing money on the trial.
I am not a fan of block planes. Now if they came with handles.... The question was whether a #2 size plane would largely meet the needs met by a block plane. The #2 is less than 2" longer than a block plane and 2" shorter than a #4.
Stanley #2's are collectable and pricy to use in every day woodworking. Sargent #2's are equivalent as far as I can tell and substantially cheaper. I snagged this one as it looked to be in useable condition without further diddling with it.
When I took it apart I was astonished to find the blade near worn out from use. This observation got me speculating. Someone that wore out a blade must have done a lot of planing and they knew how to set up a plane for utilitarian use. Further speculation, that no one had significantly messed with the plane to alter its adjustments. So how was it set up.
Picture 3 shows the frog aligned with the mouth. The blade was rounded(cambered) at its edges for about 1/8". The cap iron (AKA misnamed chip breaker) had been filed to produce a leading edge of about 60 degrees. It appears this plane was set up to plane surfaces(rounded blade corners) and the cap iron suggest the owner was aware of the benefit of the cap iron in tear-out mitigation when it was set close to the blade tip. I still can't get my head around wearing out a blade. Clearly these tiny planes were not toys is this owners hands.
So, how did it work? I have yet to use it much. But I was trying to get the center of the edge of a board shaved so as to mate better in edge gluing a panel. My #5 was bridging over this part and not removing a shaving. The shorter #2 picked up a shaving and made the adjustment. I hope it does the same on surfaces and other needs.