Well, it would appear that I am sliding a little further down the slippery slope. I can see where, once you get started down a certain road, it is a little difficult to get off of it. A little over a month ago, my plane collection consisted of nothing, nada, zip. Now I have four, and tomorrow I am expecting the shipment of number five.
It started innocently enough. I received a block plane as a thank you/birthday gift. I like mechanical things. I am a little slow on the take sometimes, but after I disassemble/reassemble a device and get a feel for it, it all starts to sink in as far as purpose and design. I also spend much time looking at magazines and reading articles to help me get a grasp of what I am looking at. So, after playing with the block plane, I realized that low angle block planes are really good for end grain. I would hate to find myself wanting to do some smoothing on an end grain board and come up short, so I bought a Stanley Sweetheart low angle block plane.
Well… Then I started reading about smoothing planes. They help take the boards to a higher level of beauty by taking such thin shavings that the wood has a very pleasant feel to it. I checked on ebay, and wouldn’t you know there was a smoothing plane out there at a reasonable price so I went and pulled the trigger on it. And, as luck or fate would have it, the latest edition of Woodsmith had a great article on smoothing planes and how to tune it. Wouldn’t anyone take that as a sign that fate was telling them to invest in hand planes?
I was going to stop there, but I read another article in Fine Woodworking that if one were to choose one plane to have in their shop, they should make it a Jack Plane. While its intended purpose is to rough flatten lumber, it can also be used as a jointer and/or a smoother if necessary and it is a very versatile plane. So I placed a bid on ebay for an old Bailey no. 5. Further in the article, it detailed how, next to a Stanley Bedrock, the Bailey No. 5 Type 11 was a great plane. And, as luck/fate also decided to lend a hand on, the plane I put a bid on was a Type 11 plane. The tool is in pretty good shape, only the tote has a crack in it. No one else placed a bit and I got it for 10 bucks, plus shipping. This is the plane that is due to arrive tomorrow.
However… it couldn’t just end there. Between the Jack and the Smoother is the Jointer plane. Would be a shame to be so close to a complete collection and not have the Jointer. So I scouted around and looked at Jointer planes. Most of them out of my price range, but I could at least look. No harm in looking. Then I decided to try a different type of search. Instead of “Jointer Plane” or “Plane no. 7,” I decided to try “Plane #7.” I guess I thought I would try a search that few on ebay would think of. And, wouldn’t you know it, there was a Record no. 7 that no one was bidding on and there was only 30 minutes left on auction. Price was reasonable, so for 60 dollars, plus 10 for shipping, I now have the plane below.
Now I am not going to tell everyone that this is the best plane for jointing, but I do believe I received an exceptional deal. It is a late 80’s plane, which puts it in the era of Record that most shy away from. This version is pretty decent, the tote and knob are wood. Later editions resorted to plastic. There was light rust on the sole of the plane and on the frog. The plane arrived with the chipbreaker on backwards and the blade installed bevel up, instead of bevel down. I had to flatten the frog and sole and use evapo-rust on a few parts of the plane. I only have a quart on hand, so I used a plastic paint tray insert that was listed as solvent resistant to take rust off the sole. I found I could wedge the tray so that the solution pooled on the shallow side of the tray and I could soak half the plane sole, then flip it around to do the other half. My brother threw away a coffee table with a glass insert a number of months ago. I grabbed the glass and was able to adhere several grits of sandpaper to it and make a nice plate for sharpening and surfacing. After tuning, I am quite pleased with the performance and 60 bucks is a heck of a deal for a decent jointer plane.
So, I might be going “Plane Crazy” but I can’t help but feel that fate is partly to blame… ;)
-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.