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I'm mostly a power tool guy, but Marc's videos have convinced me that I should have a plane or two tuned up in my shop. As it happens, I have three planes in my shop, but I'm not sure what to do with them.

I've read in this forum (maybe in a previous incarnation) that a beginner shouldn't mess with trying to tune up a crummy plane, and it sounded like good advice. So, my first question is whether I should invest time into these planes. My second question is what kind of planes they are, and what I can use them for. I'm pretty sure the 5" one is a smoother, but I'm not sure if the 14" ones are suitable for jointing. I don't own a power jointer, so if I can do some jointing by hand it will come in, well, handy.

Starting from the youngest: 14" long x 2.5" wide, painted blue with black plastic handle and knob, lever cap says "STANLEY" and cutter says "STANLEY H1205 (12-205E) USA". Frog says "031720 BH 5". No patent numbers that I can see. Very good condition, barely used, but maybe not worth trying to tune up.

The middle sister: 9" long x 2.5" wide, painted grey with wooden knob and handle, painted black. Lever cap says "Handyman" and cutter says "Stanley Handyman made in USA no. H1204". Cutter cap painted red towards the blade. Bed says "Made in USA" but I can't see any patent numbers or other markings. Also barely used, but showing some age.

Finally, the oldest one: 14" long x 2.5" wide, painted black with rosewood handle and knob. Lever cap says "Stanley", toe says "Bailey" at the front and "Made in USA" behind the knob, heel says "No 5", bottom is corrugated (channeled). No patent numbers that I can see. Cutter says "Stanley Made in USA" on top and "239" on the underside. Lateral adjustment says, "Stanley". This one has surface rust on all non-painted surfaces, and it needs a good cleaning but the paint seems to be intact. The handle is missing a screw. There's a patch of rust on the sole at the toe that might be deeper than surface rust.

None of these have adjustable mouths.

If I had to guess, I'd say that the Bailey is worth fixing up and can be used for jointing. I don't need another No 5 (I assume, because it's the same size), but I'm not sure about the Handyman. It might make a decent smoother, but it might not be worth the effort. Or, maybe I should sell all of these and buy a block plane and a jack plane that will be kind to a noobie.

Any suggestions?

Thanks.

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I'm mostly a power tool guy, but Marc's videos have convinced me that I should have a plane or two tuned up in my shop. As it happens, I have three planes in my shop, but I'm not sure what to do with them.

welcome to the forum.

I've read in this forum (maybe in a previous incarnation) that a beginner shouldn't mess with trying to tune up a crummy plane, and it sounded like good advice. So, my first question is whether I should invest time into these planes. My second question is what kind of planes they are, and what I can use them for. I'm pretty sure the 5" one is a smoother, but I'm not sure if the 14" ones are suitable for jointing. I don't own a power jointer, so if I can do some jointing by hand it will come in, well, handy.

I started tuning old planes as an alternative to buying new ones and you know i think it helps you learn more about what makes a good plane than just buying one. but thats just me. i think its not a big deal to tune one up. you just have to know what to look for and what to look out for. when you buy an old plane you dont want to have pitting surface rust and even major rust can be dealt with pitting is another issue altogether. you want no cracks around the mouth. but once you do learn some basics its pretty easy to tune one.

you just clean off rust.

flatten the sole on a flat surface.

sharpen the iron. (this might require resetting the bevel which is the angle of the cutting area.)

flatten the face of the frog.

put a little BLO on the tote and knob

and wax or oil the metal parts to prevent more rust.

then work away sharpening cleaning and rust reventing along the way. (at that point care is like any other plane)

ive tuned quite a few. so far all with good results except one the iron i layed on a flat surface and realized it wasnt flat but there are replacement irons that can be bought. ron hock sells a iron for example. his is better than the original and some even go as far as to dump the iron and buy one right off the bat.

Starting from the youngest: 14" long x 2.5" wide, painted blue with black plastic handle and knob, lever cap says "STANLEY" and cutter says "STANLEY H1205 (12-205E) USA". Frog says "031720 BH 5". No patent numbers that I can see. Very good condition, barely used, but maybe not worth trying to tune up.

that is one of the Stanley handyman economy planes from the 50s or 60s. the frogs were not great but might be a workable. pictures would help. the plane you have at 14 inches is a standard jack.

The middle sister: 9" long x 2.5" wide, painted grey with wooden knob and handle, painted black. Lever cap says "Handyman" and cutter says "Stanley Handyman made in USA no. H1204". Cutter cap painted red towards the blade. Bed says "Made in USA" but I can't see any patent numbers or other markings. Also barely used, but showing some age.

this is a handyman smoother. probably made around the same era. like i said before its a handy man which was the economy plane of the stanley line. worth a try but some might argue these are not great for much other than show pieces.

Finally, the oldest one: 14" long x 2.5" wide, painted black with rosewood handle and knob. Lever cap says "Stanley", toe says "Bailey" at the front and "Made in USA" behind the knob, heel says "No 5", bottom is corrugated (channeled). No patent numbers that I can see. Cutter says "Stanley Made in USA" on top and "239" on the underside. Lateral adjustment says, "Stanley". This one has surface rust on all non-painted surfaces, and it needs a good cleaning but the paint seems to be intact. The handle is missing a screw. There's a patch of rust on the sole at the toe that might be deeper than surface rust.

this is the stanley number 5 jack plane. this is actually a better plane than the other one. sounds like from your description its most likely a post war which has a frog that doesnt have a solid face but ridges where the iron contacts the frog. which isnt a problem I use them myself. but a more solid frog is desired because of less chatter it causes. a picture would be nice of the frog and the rest of the plane. the depth knob is a key indicator on the type year.

None of these have adjustable mouths.

none of these style planes would have adjustable mouths instead the frog moves back and forth to close up the iron to mouth distance. block planes have the adjustable mouths. even a plane that is a low angle jack is considered a block plane and will have a mouth that closes.

If I had to guess, I'd say that the Bailey is worth fixing up and can be used for jointing. I don't need another No 5 (I assume, because it's the same size), but I'm not sure about the Handyman. It might make a decent smoother, but it might not be worth the effort. Or, maybe I should sell all of these and buy a block plane and a jack plane that will be kind to a noobie.

Any suggestions?

Thanks.

im kind of a tool geek so to me its not a waste of time at all. like i said i use a stanley number 6 post war that is probably pretty similar to yours. pictures would be nice of the planes. the handyman early series arent a waste of time but later models were very cheaply made and might be worth it for a shelf decoration but early ones were not as terrible as to not atleast use. the baily models are great and are worth fixing. if anything you can grind a camber on the handyman iron and use it like a scrub plane. a jack will joint but i would expect to do large pieces with it. small case work it would work well as a jointer. if you wound up with a larger jointer like a stanley number 7 you could use the jack (Number 5) as a shooting board plane. jacks are neat planes because there are all sorts of things you can do with them.

when i describe type i mean as in type study. they have models that went through changes over time and are listed as a type bases on the years a particular design was in production. the type study link is listed in the hand tool links post in this forum pinned at the top.

without pictures of the frogs its hard to tell if the handyman planes would be of use.

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i was right about the bailey its a post war based on the frog if you want to further date it here is the link

http://hyperkitten.com/tools/stanley_bench_plane/index.php

it will tune up nicely if you need help feel free to come back and ask. what I would do is get some evaporust for the rusty parts then flatten the sole of the plane. sharpen the iron and wax or oil the metal parts.

on the handymans you can tune them but they may not work as well as a baily. the frog designs are rather flimsy. might be worth tuning as an exercise in how its accomplished. they are relatively rust free. could be good for learning how to use one as well.

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The 1205 Handyman Jack plane can make a better than average scrub plane for rapid stock removal and initial flattening of a board. The irons are reasonably thick and the castings are generally solid, just a little crude. Not well suited for taking thin shavings, but very well suited for taking thick monster shavings. Keep the Bailey number 5 set up for a little bit finer work. Use the 1205 as a scrub. Grind the blade with a large camber and set it with the mouth nearly wide open. The odd handle on the back is actually larger and is a lot more comfortable for really HEAVY work than the more refined handle on the Bailey line. Not too long ago I took the Bailey that I used as a scrub and swapped it out for the Handyman. The handyman is actually better at it. The Bailey 5 now does more refined work.

Most of the trend now is for planes to take gossamer shavings and they have their purpose too, but a lot of people have yet to realize the benefit of having a plane that can knock off 1/16" at a time.

The best part about the handyman line is there were a lot of them and you can get them ebay for under $10, even for one in really good shape. They make great beater planes for planing stuff that you normally wouldn't want to touch with your better planes.

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