One of my proudest purchases was a #4 Stanley plane and a #919 Brace off of eBay for $1.25. I thought I had made a hell of a deal, and I really did. The brace alone is well worth that price. However, the plane is a bit of a disappointment.
First, and I knew this from the pics on eBay, the knob was missing. Second, the tote is slightly cracked, though it still looks like it could be serviceable. These are no big deal really. I checked the sole when it got here and it looked flat. Besides, the blade looked usable as well.
Then I cleaned it up. Apparently, that was a mistake. It turns out the Japanning is in horrible shape (40% maybe?). Also, after cleaning it, the sole wasn’t as straight as I thought, though I’m not sure if it’s serviceable as-is or not. After cleaning the blade and chipbreaker, I reassembled the two pieces, with the chipbreaker closer to the edge of the blade. Now, I find that the blade won’t advance out the mouth of the plane. Apparently, this bad boy saw a LOT of use and there’s not enough blade left to keep things tight in the mouth. Oh joy.
A new blade will cost me about $30-$35 easy. Depending on the blade, I may need a new chipbreaker at another $35. I’ll still have to replace the knob (I haven’t seen knobs individually, so I might as well get a new tote as well)...another $30-35. All this would put me at about $100. This says nothing of all the work it would take to make the sole flat.
And after all that, there’s still no guarantee that it’ll be a good user. That’s the gamble I took though. My #5 has turned out to be a pretty good plane so far as I can tell. I can get some nice curly shavings with it right now, though I’m not entirely sure if that’s as good as it gets or not just yet. I still have to clean up my DE7, which I’m planning on doing later tonight. So far though, it seems pretty well put together, which isn’t surprising since it looks like Stanley built the blasted thing.
The thing to remember here, boys and girls, is that there are always setbacks in life. What’s important is how we deal with them. Me? I’m taking it as a sign from God and looking into the Shapleigh’s Hardware smoothing plane I stumbled across earlier today ;)
-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!