Stanley Bailey #3 Restored User

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Project by docholladay posted 02-10-2010 04:30 AM 2348 views 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have always liked the size and weight of the #3 Stanley Bailey plane. It just seems to fit my hand. I picked this plane up at a flea market for $5.00 with intentions of making a user out of it. It isn’t a show piece by any means, but it cuts great and leaves a very smooth finish. I wish I had taken a before photo so you could see how it looked before I started. I am very happy with the way that it turned out and this one will get a lot of use in my shop. The best part is that other than some elbow grease and some cleaning and finishing supplies, I have $5.00 invested in this plane.

-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

11 comments so far

View WayneC's profile


13751 posts in 3933 days

#1 posted 02-10-2010 04:34 AM

Looks good, nice restoration.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View 8iowa's profile


1566 posts in 3597 days

#2 posted 02-10-2010 04:34 AM

Good job!, a really nice smoothing plane.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View a1Jim's profile


116568 posts in 3413 days

#3 posted 02-10-2010 04:57 AM

I have a few #3 and they are one of my favorites too.

-- Custom furniture

View Shopsmithtom's profile


788 posts in 4031 days

#4 posted 02-10-2010 05:19 AM

I love a #3 as well. Nice job. Now it’s ready for the next 50-100 years -SST

-- Accuracy is not in your power tool, it's in you

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10876 posts in 2951 days

#5 posted 02-10-2010 09:38 AM



View bigike's profile


4053 posts in 3125 days

#6 posted 02-10-2010 01:11 PM

Another job well done. Me i have big paws and the only plane i can find that fits it good is the #4-1/2, the smallest one that feels good is the #4. I can’t wait to see some projects u make with your planes. Everytime i look at mine i want to make something.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

View TD Bridges's profile

TD Bridges

46 posts in 2972 days

#7 posted 02-10-2010 01:34 PM

Looks great. The #3 is a great size I’ve got a Stanley and a Millers Falls (#8) and they both are sitting on my desk looking at me just waiting for things to warm up around here. I think the #3 is truly the smallest of the usable bench plane models, well for me anyway I got bigikes issue, big paws.

What did you do on the sides? Lap them or just clean and polish?

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13347 posts in 3509 days

#8 posted 02-10-2010 07:35 PM

Nice plane.

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 2895 days

#9 posted 02-11-2010 07:17 AM

Thanks for the compliments. I actually removed the rust by refreshing it using a fine belt on my 6×48 belt sander. Since this machine has a large flat machined surface under the belt, this also speeded the initial flattening of the sole of the plane. All I had to do then was to lap the sole with progressively finer sandpaper. I lapped it down to 400 grit and then applied a coat of past wax. It slides like buttah!. If you look closely, I actually did not remove all of the patina from the blade. I only worked on the business end of the blade (original stanley blade) and then the chipbreaker as it contacts the blade. I polished the blade using a 4000 grit water stone. It will shave like a good straight razor. I also filed the frog nice and flat and cleaned up all of the mating surfaces where the frog contacts the body of the plane. It makes great, clean, chatter free cuts down to just a couple of thousandths with not problem.

-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 2895 days

#10 posted 02-11-2010 07:21 AM

As for the handles, this plane actually had a dark red stain on them. I used a Formby’s refinisher product to strip the finish. I then applied 2 coats of tongue oil to provide some protection and then 3 coats of past wax. Going forward, I will simply recoat them with wax occasionally as well as the sole and body of the plane to prevent rust and help it slide better.

-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View JB's profile


53 posts in 3464 days

#11 posted 05-18-2010 07:03 PM

I found the #3 is really easier to tune than the lager planes. I end up using it more. Great plane!

-- JB

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