Tools Anonymous #8: My three Stanleys

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Blog entry by Sandra posted 530 days ago 1170 reads 0 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 7: When the moon hits your eye..... it's a mortise (now with tenons) Part 8 of Tools Anonymous series Part 9: $15 Falcon Pope plane has landed »

For better or worse, I’ve dipped my foot in the handtool pool.

A few weeks ago, I purchased a lovely ‘tricked out’ Stanley #4 from Don W. as well as a Sweetheart #3 from an anonymous LJ. Both planes were auctioned off by LukieB for charity.

While I was waiting for the planes to make it across the border, I picked up a Bailey Stanley #4 that looked like this:

I wanted to take one apart and understand how it works before possibly ruining all the work that was already put into the planes I purchased. I also started reading Hand Tool Essentials by Pop WW. I can’t recall who suggested that book, but it was good advice.

After some CLR, steel wool, elbow grease and rustoleum, the Bailey looked like this:

Flattening the sole was an onerous task to say the least, considering all I had to work with were two 6” diamond stones. (Should have bought the larger ones, should have bought the larger ones, should have bought the larger ones) I had the same issue with the blade, but got it done.

There’s still a dark strip through the centre, which I presume is a low spot, but it’s a shiny low spot if that’s what it is. After hours I decided that for now it would do. Flattening the sides was far easier.

Getting it ready for use was interesting, but not so bad. Here are my first results from a rough piece of birch:

The main issue is now my worktable. The durabench was skittering across the concrete floor making it very difficult to use the plane. I certainly didn’t get nice curls, but it’s a start.

And THEN yesterday, both planes arrived.
The Stanley #4 from Don W was ready to use out of the box and looked like this:

Again the workbench proved to be a problem.

The lovely #3 sweetheart from the anonymous LJ was probably also ready to go out of the box, but I promptly took it apart to see how the y yoke works. It’s back together and did well considering the user and the workbench.

So here are my three Stanleys. The one on the far right is the #4 I cleaned up, the centre one is the #4 that Don W tricked out, and the one to the left is the lovely sweetheart #3

For the record, the shipping for each of the planes was over 35$US, so these guys ended up paying cash to auction their planes off for charity.

Now, it’s back to working on my workbench so that I have a sturdy base for using my new tools.

Thanks for looking,

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

17 comments so far

View Monte Pittman's profile (online now)

Monte Pittman

13774 posts in 969 days

#1 posted 530 days ago

I have yet to attempt hand tools. Afraid of seeing too much blood. Good luck with your adventure.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it. - It's not ability that we often lack, but the patience to use our ability

View JayT's profile (online now)


2182 posts in 842 days

#2 posted 530 days ago

Welcome to Hand Plane Addicts Anonymous, Sandra. Kudos to you for wanting to learn how the tool works before using it and nice job on the cleanup.

A couple tips for you. I find the best way to flatten is sandpaper on a flat reference surface. I use a granite cut-off, but others use MDF, the top of a table saw or jointer bed. Start at 80 or 100 grit and work up. I usually stop at 220, but have gone to 400 on a couple. A full sheet of sandpaper or a 2-1/2 in wide roll (what I use) will give you a lot more area to work with and the flattening process goes quicker. Some people use spray adhesive to hold the sandpaper in place. If you use a Sharpie to draw diagonal lines on the sole about an inch apart, you will see where the low spots are after a little work on the sandpaper.

Second tip—practice your sharpening! A smoother needs to be shaving sharp and touched up frequently for the best results. A sharp blade and very light cuts will give the best results. Other planes for rough work, like a jack, will have slightly different techniques.

Good luck!

-- "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money." Alexis de Tocqueville, 1835

View JoeinGa's profile


3169 posts in 638 days

#3 posted 530 days ago

I think you did a GREAT job on the one you did. But you DO realize now (dont you) that this is an addiction that will not be quenched easily (nor cheaply).. Good luck with that :-)

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Bagtown's profile


1699 posts in 2361 days

#4 posted 530 days ago

Looking good Sandra.

-- Mike - In Fort McMurray Alberta

View DIYaholic's profile


13298 posts in 1306 days

#5 posted 530 days ago

Watch your step….
It is a slippery slope!!! At least, so I am told.

Your bench will come in very handy at a most opportune time.

I have done one plane rehab & have several more to go. I think it is time that I also build a “proper” bench. “Proper” being a very loosely defined word!!!

Have fun with your new toys!!! YES, TOY is correct word, when used amongst yourself….
TOOL is used in the presence of others!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procratination a bad thing?

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4117 posts in 1487 days

#6 posted 530 days ago

Great planes Sandra, you will get to love the trip to the oil ston

Those are great folk though they give regardless


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View Grumpymike's profile


1066 posts in 946 days

#7 posted 530 days ago

Oh my, you have taken “One Step Beyond”... And you will never be the same again.
Re-read JayT’s post … good advise. I use a piece of granite tile that had a corner knocked off and HD gave it to me for a buck. Works great.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View Julian's profile


507 posts in 1321 days

#8 posted 530 days ago

Nice job on restoring the planes. There are many good tips and advise to help make plane restoration easier. Just like anything else; the more you do something the better you get. Using a plane that you restored is pure pleasure.

-- Julian

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10850 posts in 1746 days

#9 posted 530 days ago

oh no another one to beat on the bay ….. LOL

congrat´s with the new toy´s :-)
I hope you realises that there is no way back from the slippery lane on the handtool highway :-)

enjoy …. enjoy while you change lifestile …. remember it ain´t a workout but you don´t have to pay
for being in the gym anymore …. :-))))))

take care

View BigRedKnothead's profile


4733 posts in 613 days

#10 posted 530 days ago

Good fun. Ditto about the sandpaper on a flat surface. Love this stuff
I think I told you about the book. The more you learn about your hand tools and their setups, the more effective you will be with them.
Also just finished, “Hand Tools: Their Ways and Workings” By Aldren Watson. Another very good hand tool 101 book. At steal at $16 on amazon. Have fun.

btw, I’m sure you saw free shipping at Lee Valley announced today. Right in time for my Bday. Those rascals.

-- Red -- "That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse." W. Whitman

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile (online now)


9794 posts in 1249 days

#11 posted 530 days ago

Great to see, Congrats Sandra!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

View boxcarmarty's profile


9167 posts in 991 days

#12 posted 530 days ago

Sweet, Does your husband know you’re messing around with Stanley???

-- My mind is like lighting, one brilliant flash, then its gone.....

View JoeinGa's profile


3169 posts in 638 days

#13 posted 530 days ago

Hey Marty, it aint just Stanley she’s messin’ with. She’s messing with THREE of them!
There’s Stanley, and his other brother Stanley, and their evil twin cousin BAILEY too. It’s a ”Group Grope” LOL

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Sandra's profile


4271 posts in 706 days

#14 posted 530 days ago

Good chuckle gents, thanks for all the comments.

JayT – I read your post and thought “duh”. I had read about using adhesive and sandpaper and I remember thinking ‘what a great idea!’ Why I didn’t think of it for the planer, I don’t know. Next time for sure. I have a thick piece of glass shelving with rounded edges that would be ideal.

Dan – thanks for the book recommendation. The best part of the book was the diagram naming the parts of the plane! It was very helpful in taking them apart and putting them back together and understanding how they work.
I’ve never been very mechanical, but I’m learning bit by bit. And NO, I WILL NOT GO ON LEE VALLEY TONIGHT AND BUY SOMETHING…. (repeat to self numerous times)

I’m thinking that a nice little block plane may be in order….. After the workbench. A

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View DocSavage45's profile


4897 posts in 1473 days

#15 posted 530 days ago

Thinking we hadn’t heard from you in awhile. appears you are moving farthur into your journey!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

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