I have been bitten by the hand plane bug recently. I used to think I was above such a disease, but alas, I am not. Over the last month it has taken hold. Hopefully it can be contained to a bench plane only type of sickness. My journey is only beginning, at this point the really only successful thing I do well in the hand plane world is pay for them. I see there is a long way to go in my technique and understanding of the tools. I find them interesting because historical reasons, design appeal, and other reasons I dont fully understand yet.
It started with a gift, a #5 Woodriver Jack Plane. To me, a pretty sweet little tool it is shiny and once sharpened and tuned seems to work pretty darn well. Since then I have bought several older Bailey bench planes, mostly 3-5, but I also have added a #220 and a #92. I have read a few books, and looked thru all the forums and projects for inspirational pictures and how to information. I am really in the infant stages of hand plane knowledge, use, and understanding.
The most surprising part of my new sickness has been the restoration/clean up process. When I first started reading and snooping around, I saw myself as someone who would not want to fiddle around with these things, trying to bring them back from the depths of dirt, dust, and disrepair. However, I am working with a pretty limited budget. So a lot of the new shiny offerings are out of my monetary reach at this point. So if I was to be brining home new planes, they needed to be used planes. So the surprising part was that I like the process of trying to bring them back. There are certainly a lot of planes to be found online, which is where I have started my little “collection”.
The most recent one is a Bailey #2. I had taken a couple chances on auctions to buy one of these little guys. I had lost out several times. Sometimes by only a few bucks, sometimes by a bunch. But like anyone with a sickness, I kept after it. About the fifth time that I had tried to buy one, I was successful. A little #2 who needed a new home, and some love. It arrived about a week ago. I knew it had some issues, it was the only way I could bring one into my price range. The tote looked like it had been broken and maybe chewed on by a beaver or two. In the seller’s discription, it said that there was an etching of the owner’s name on the left side. Of course it was pictured from the right. There was a little mystery as to what it would lool like.
When it got to my home, my first thought was it could be worse. I was also taken by how small this plane is in real life. Very compact. I consulted some the hand plane lovers from this site, and with a little advice from them, started to try to bring a little life back to it. The tote may be beyond my level of fixing at this point, but I did my best to get it sanded down and refinished. While not perfect, I think it is improved dramatically. The consensus on the etched name in the side was basically if it will come out with minimal effort, to remove it. However, it was not viewed as a make or break situation. It would not come out with minimal effort, plus it does not bother me as much as I initially thought it would. A little personality, if you will.
So I took it all apart, cleaned, sanded, sharpened, tuned, painted, and fiddled with it. I think I am happy how it came out. I have yet to flatten the sole, but overall, I am pleased at this point. It makes nice shavings and seems to work quite well. I am not sure where the sickness will lead me, but no doubt I have it. I guess everyone has to start somewhere.
I have included some picture of the little plane. Thanks for looking and all the help along the way.