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Bailey #7 Restoration

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Project by dfdye posted 1621 days ago 1485 views 2 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A little bit ago, I posted a review of a #4 Footprint that I had spent some time tuning up, and in the comments WayneC challenged me to restore an old Stanley to get a feel for the difference in build quality. Well, it was put up or shut up time, so I accepted the challenge, and Wayne was kind enough to give me a great deal on an old #7 jointer he had in his garage awaiting restoration.

The second picture shows the condition in which I received it—fully disassembled for shipping, and as dirty and grimy as you could ask for! I blogged about the restoration and included a ton of pictures documenting the process, but the end result after a new blade is a fantastic “user” plane. I purposefully decided to keep the patina of the old metal and not re-grind the sole and sides of the body, save flattening with sand paper. The result is that there are a bunch of pits from rust, a lot of discoloration of the metal, and a piece that looks like what it is—an old plane that has been around the block a time or two! I personally love the look of the end result, and, more importantly, am VERY happy with how it works. I am getting amazingly flat board edges, even with the pitting in the sole that I decided not to grind out. The way I see it, a lot of people like corrugated soles on long planes, so I’ll just think of the old rust pits as “micro-corrugation” and that they are intentional to decrease the sliding drag. Yea, that’s what it is! :)

I can say with certainty that the original question of the challenge—whether an old Stanley or a new Footprint or Groz is a better investment—is a resounding nod to the Stanley. The overall cost of the restoration was about what I would pay for a cheap plane plus a premium replacement blade, but there was a lot of extra time and effort that went into stripping and refinishing parts that I wouldn’t have to do with a cheap plane (both would need to have their soles flattened, so I call that a wash). The payoff for the extra time spent with the antique tool was better craftsmanship of the Stanley, better adjustability (yes, even after the years, the depth and angle adjustments were still in better shape than the new Footprint) and the satisfaction of restoring an old, abandoned piece of wood working history (as best I can tell, this plane dates from between 1920 and 1927, but don’t hold me to that!).

Regardless of the cost vs. quality issue, I had a fantastic time restoring the plane and learned a TON about working with hand planes in the process. I would highly recommend restoring an old tool to anyone interested in woodworking—the process helped me learn a lot about the “whys” of how a tool is made, and catalyzed my investigation into a lot of concepts I should have known before, but never bothered to learn (like why exactly consistency of the back bevel angle of a plane iron is so important—I knew angles to use, but never WHY those were the correct angles).

Now, on to building an infill plane from scratch! (Don’t hold your breath for that one to get finished any time soon, though!)

-- David from Indiana --





11 comments so far

View michaelray's profile

michaelray

196 posts in 2087 days


#1 posted 1621 days ago

Impressive. Looks like you did a great job on the resto.

-- http://dbcww.wordpress.com

View map's profile

map

85 posts in 2146 days


#2 posted 1618 days ago

Nice job! I think that you’ll get a lot of good use out of that.

FWIW, based on the raised ring around the nob and one patent date, it looks to be a type 14 (1929-1230). You can find a lot of information at https://home.comcast.net/~rexmill/planes101/planes101.htm.

map

-- measure once, cut once, swear, start over

View dfdye's profile

dfdye

372 posts in 1670 days


#3 posted 1616 days ago

I tried looking there to get some date information, but I didn’t really know what I was looking for and did the best I could. Looking back, I am pretty sure you are right! All of what you said is pretty convincing, and there was remnants of a decal on the handle that really wasn’t worth saving, and the blade (which definitely appeared original) did have a sweetheart logo, so the 1929-30 date seems most likely.

Thanks so much for the additional insight! It’s great to have another pair of eyes see something you missed.

-- David from Indiana --

View bigike's profile

bigike

4031 posts in 1922 days


#4 posted 1616 days ago

great job!

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop, http://www.icombadaniels@yahoo.com

View dfdye's profile

dfdye

372 posts in 1670 days


#5 posted 1616 days ago

Thanks, Ike! Seeing your collection, a compliment like that actually means something! :)

-- David from Indiana --

View WileyR's profile

WileyR

7 posts in 1547 days


#6 posted 1350 days ago

Great rebuild job. FWIw I’ve just gotten three new/old Stanley Bailey’s and agree that they are superior to current standard stock unless you get into the Lie-Neilson or Veritas range or up. Two were already clean and slick and the other one needs a good cleaning and a new tote. It was either find pre-war SB’s and put Hock blades on them or spend upwards of a thousand bucks on L-N or Ver for a furniture class I want to take in the spring. Still got to find a couple special purpose planes but may bite the bullet for them since they’re more affordable than the big planes. I’d love to see a pic of the sole plate to see the “micro corrugation” after the cleanup. I’ve got some Grotz planes and a fairly new Record (10 yrs?) as well as some low grade newer Stanleys and they don’t stand up at all to the older planes. Stanley just introduced a new higher quality plane line that has some potential (according to my plane guy) but I’d still prefer the pre-war SB’s.

View dfdye's profile

dfdye

372 posts in 1670 days


#7 posted 1350 days ago

Wiley, many thanks! It was a great project.

The best picture I have of the sole of the plane is this one:

http://s942.photobucket.com/albums/ad270/dfdye/Stanley%20No%207%20Plane%20Restoration/?action=view&current=2010-03-22060246.jpg

I have been using it like that since I finished restoring it, and honestly haven’t noticed any problems from the pitting at all. I use paste wax on the sole frequently (buffing it off well before storing it) and it really does quite well.

Regarding plane brands, I actually had good results with two super-cheap Footprint planes I got at my local Sears. The took some time to get tuned up, and the adjustment was not nearly so nice as the Stanley, but they have been quite serviceable after I got them tuned. Just for the enjoyment of it, I am replacing them with Bailey Type 14’s to match this No 7, but I am not sure if I’ll really notice a big change in the way I work with the Baileys vs. the Footprints. I guess the moral of the story really is it is how you use a tool, not necessarily the brand or maker of the tool that counts! Still, if woodworking is a hobby, why not enjoy it! :)

Glad to hear you got some planes you are excited about!

-- David from Indiana --

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12265 posts in 2730 days


#8 posted 1076 days ago

Wonderful. I actually missed this post when it originally occurred… Well done.

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

View dfdye's profile

dfdye

372 posts in 1670 days


#9 posted 1076 days ago

Thanks! The really great part is that I have used the living snot out of it since then. I don’t have an electric jointer, and I have been using this a TON for edge jointing boards for panels. With the new blade, it really is an amazing user.

Funny story: the other day I was trying to prep some lyptus for a coffee table, and I couldn’t for the life of me keep the plane from tearing out! I tried adjusting everything under the sun before I finally realized that I hadn’t sharpened the blade in months, and the A2 blade had FINALLY gotten dull! 3 minutes later, everything was back in tip-top shape, and I had to laugh at how complacent I have gotten with the durability of the A2 blades. I keep an O1 blade in my No. 4 Stanley (my go-to smoother) since I seem to be able to get a little better of an edge with O1 than A2. I’m not sure if this is my fault or a characteristic of the steel as some others claim, but it is a fact that I personally get a keener final edge with O1. I do sharpen that O1 blade fairly frequently whether it seems to need it or not. For all of my other planes, I have A2 blades since the edge seems to last forever, and they don’t need to have an insanely silky finish.

Speaking of smoothers, I think I am going to pick up an O1 blade for my No. 3, but I haven’t been doing small stuff lately, so it has been rather lonely on the shelf for a while. I may just have to bite the bullet and finally spend the time learning how to get the best edge on an A2 blade that I can. Does this mean I get to hit my wife up for an electron microscope to inspect tool edges for my birthday? :)

-- David from Indiana --

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12265 posts in 2730 days


#10 posted 1076 days ago

Glad your putting it to good use. Mine have been neglected. I have been out of the shop for quite a while because of work and then from breaking my leg.

Phillip Marcou recommended one of these for checking edges. Not quite as bad as an electron microscope..

http://www.amazon.com/Peak-50x-Pocket-Microscope/dp/B000V2IRRK/ref=wl_it_dp_o_npd?ie=UTF8&coliid=IJQXYO3XFJNHF&colid=KFTNH7FTIMSN

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

View dfdye's profile

dfdye

372 posts in 1670 days


#11 posted 1076 days ago

Nice recommendation! Plus, it wouldn’t take up any bench space when not in use. :). I might even be able to pawn it off as a “tool” for my 4 year old to explore with!

-- David from Indiana --

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