First Decent Plane

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Just picked up a Bailey No.4 Type 9 circa 1902 from a flea market this week end. It's missing the depth knob and the lateral adjustment lever (along with the small piece of the frog it attaches to). But for $14 I couldn't pass it up.


As this is my first decent plane I'm seeking some advice on tuning it up. I've already gotten pretty close to done lapping it flat; however, there's about a 1/4" band along the tip of the toe that doesn't have the same scratch pattern as the rest of the sole. Of that 1/4", there's a spot around 1/2" across and 1/8" in that still has some of the patina on it. I think that that little bit at the very tip of the plane is acceptable considering how long it would take and how much material would have to be removed to remedy it.


Now that I'm at that point, should I lap the face of the frog that contacts the blade? Its got black paint that I don't think is original because it looks like a flat enamel all around the frog. My hesitation comes in that if in the off chance that it is original that this is an unnecessary step.


The other thing I'm not entirely sure on is if I should true the mouth. It's not particularly bad, but as this is my first plane I don't know exactly where the tolerances lie.


If you're wondering why it looks hazy, I put a coat of paste wax on it for now since I don't know when I'm gonna get back to finish either lapping or polishing it, and I didn't want it to rust in the interim. Probably unnecessary, but a little paranoia never hurt anyone.

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That's quite a project for being a "decent" plane.  For 20 or 30 bucks on Ebay you can often score a complete Stanley #4 with all the parts.  Also looks like the tote is cracked.


The mouth in front of the blade is what holds the wood fibers down while planing to help prevent tear out, so any filing here will likely need to be compensated for by adjusting the frog forward.


There are several youtube videos on plane restoration, I'd watch a few, then buy a better plane and use yours for spare parts.

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I have just tuned up my second hand block plane . The number 4 is the next one to get sorted. I will be posting how I tune it up on the blog. I can PM you when I post them if you like.


If you want to see how a maestro sets his bench planes this site has a breakdown of David Charlesworth's methods.

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I see nothing wrong enough with the plane to need a "better" plane. Could be a different starting point but my experience is that your type 09 will restore nicely for use.

Better, as in complete without a broken tote.  The adjustment screw alone is a $16 dollar part at some places selling Stanley parts.


It will be a nice project, and should be fine once you're through.


If you look at Paul Sellers blog under "Good tools, cheap" (or something like that), he has a lot of good advice on buying used planes.

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  • 4 weeks later...

It might be worth the time for a learning experience, but I would keep looking, and bidding on ones you want that won't require the time that this one will.  One of my #6s, I got off ebay cheap, but I had to keep going heavier in grit of wet-or-dry for the sole until I finally found some 60 grit in an auto parts store.  Normally, I'll start with 320 and go heavier until I get to one that cuts fast enough that it won't take all afternoon.  The rest of that #6 was pristine, but I don't know what happened to the base.  Good thing it is corrugated, so it took a bit less time.  It ended up being a good plane, and the mouth didn't get opened up to amount to anything. I think I got it for $26 plus shipping.  #6s are the least sought after, and I've found it handy to have 2 with different cambers.


One thing that's important to look at is the back of the iron.  This especially goes for molding planes too.  If the back of the blade is rusty enough to be pitted at all, you'll never get it to the point it'll take a perfectly smooth, thin shaving. I absolutely won't buy a molding plane if the back of the iron is pitted AT ALL.  I know a lot of people plan on upgrading the iron anyway in iron planes, but I find the old irons work just fine when they are super sharp, and you can only get them super sharp if the back is not pitted.  I've only ever bought one upgraded iron-a Hock for a block plane.  It is a good iron, but not that much better, and I hate the square upper corners for a block plane. 

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Especially for smoothing planes, I'd ignore the toe... You start to suffer from the law of diminishing returns at that point... My smoother and block plane are both like that... My jointer however, I want it as flat as I can physically get it!

Depth adjustment knobs on type 9s are theoretically the same as new ones, so any junk donor no.4 will fix it... At least until you find the period correct part  :P

The I can't see the damage on the frog and whether it needs replacing, but if it does, then I'm afraid that only a type 9 will do (unless I'm mistaken...). Frog designs changed quite often, and often with the structure of the bed under the frog.

Lateral adjustment, I think personally I can do without... Tapping the side of the blade on the bench is pretty effective at doing the same job, and it's one less thing to have bend or break! That said, if you want one, I think you'd probably have to rivet one, but I dare say that any adjustment lever will work... Although having the spinning disc (rather than the bent end) is good, also the riveted flag rather than the bent ones... This puts you anything up to type 19...

That said, I'm theorising here, I have a type 9 myself, but it didn't need that work doing to it!



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