weld repaired Bailey #5 hand plane is now one of my favorite planes to use

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Project by aurora posted 08-20-2010 02:36 PM 5030 views 1 time favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

i am not a plane collector, i value them for their utility. most of my planes are “off name” less desirable, more affordable brands that get the job done. that being said, a local who resells his flea market finds on craigslist listed this Bailey. i thought wow, a Bailey #5 that i can really afford. turns out the handles were cracked, casting welded and he sharpened the blade with a file. undeterred, i shelled out the $5, figuring the blade and frog were worth that much.

replaced the front handle with a rosewood nob i had from another plane restoration project, made a walnut rear handle, buffed out the rust spots, stripped the body, sharpened the blades (took awhile to remove the file damage) phosphate coated it and painted it. the real issue was the weld, so i ground it then filed and sanded until it was “flat”. the weld material was significantly harder than the casting, so it not perfectly flat on the side, if you put a straight edge across it you can see a .010 inch space on either side of the area immediately adjacent to the weld. but the base and the other side are now perfect. sharpened up the blade and reassembled it.

no she’s not pretty: weld marks, bakelite adjustment knob, mismatched wood handles, .... but man can she cut !!! a joy to use.

the bakelite nob dates this plane (or at least the frog) as a WW2 vintage model. see patrick’s references on planes:

i am worried about the residual stresses from the weld operation causing the side to move after time/vibration. not sure how long ago she was welded, did not look recent though, so hopefully she wont move.

12 comments so far

View dbhost's profile


5766 posts in 3353 days

#1 posted 08-20-2010 03:24 PM

I see a lot of older Stanley, and Stanley Bailey planes with some serious years on them coming up for sale on CL, and a LOT of them have broken castings. I always leave them alone. Never would have thought they could be reasonably brought back to life… It is great to see this kind of recycling for sure! Good to know you got a good plane out of what probably looked like scrap iron.

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View AaronK's profile


1507 posts in 3585 days

#2 posted 08-20-2010 03:39 PM

i also shy away from planes with broken castings. please update us if you notice any changes.

that said, my stanley sweatheart #5 is a joy to use – i’m not sure just what it is, but it works great.

View Woodbutcher3's profile


419 posts in 3008 days

#3 posted 08-20-2010 03:40 PM

Great Job. Good hand tools are rare.

-- Rod ~ There's never enough time to finish a project, but there's always time to start another one.

View mafe's profile


11741 posts in 3210 days

#4 posted 08-20-2010 03:41 PM

I think you are a real collector!
You will have the moste wonderful collection of wood working ‘freaks’...
Now you have a Quasimodo of handplanes, and last was the red lady she can be Smeralda – ohhh yes you can be a storyteller with this collection.
Just wonderful to see your approch, and that you make working wonders out of old planes.
Best of luck with it,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View swirt's profile


3055 posts in 3093 days

#5 posted 08-20-2010 04:09 PM

Great restore. I wouldn’t worry about the side being not flat as long as you are not using it for shooting. Probably stronger the way it is.

I would be most concerned about the flatness of the sole (which I usually worry about less than others) but not for the reasons most people think. What most people don’t realize is that a plane flexes a bit when you bear down on it to use it (which is why I laugh when I see people worrying about being able to stick a 2/1000th of an inch feeler gauge under it…they flex more than that). The fracture is close to the mouth. Any flexing of the plane in use will likely have the stress build up on that fracture /weld line. So for the longevity of the repair, it is probably more important than normal to have the sole as flat as possible.

Enjoy it.

-- Galootish log blog,

View helluvawreck's profile


32073 posts in 2988 days

#6 posted 08-20-2010 04:12 PM

I once ran across a lost little hound dog pup about a year old that came up to the plant one day. He didn’t look like much and was a little skinny. Well, I felt sorry for him and we had a fence out side where Dusty (my avatar) use to stay in the daytime (he was the night watchman during the night inside the plant when he was alive). So I went around to the fellas in the plant and took up a collection for the hound dog and we took him and got him all of his shots and tags and fed him well until I found a home for him. There was a fella that finally wanted him and that’s where he’s at to this day and I hope that he made him a good hunting dog. Now, I don’t see anything at all wrong with a woodworker taking an old plane that has seen it’s better days and putting a little tender loving care in it and giving it a new life so to speak. It’s better for it to end up on somebody’s shelf in their shop rather than in the junk yard. I’ve done the same thing myself – put 2 or 3 hours in a tool that wasn’t worth 15 minutes of my time. Dusty came up to us one day just like that little hound dog did and I never had a better dog in my life and he gave me a lot of joy for 12 years and watched over our plant to boot. Well, you never know – that plane that you have lovingly restored, even though it may not be worth the time that you have in it – may just give you a lot of joy every time you pick it up. I don’t see a thing in this world wrong with that. We don’t have to be practical in everything we do – at least I sure as h*ll don’t.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View helluvawreck's profile


32073 posts in 2988 days

#7 posted 08-20-2010 04:18 PM

BTW, auora, I just went and took a look at some of your projects and you do some very good work. Congratulations on your work and also on your new found ‘friend’. :)

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View aurora's profile


229 posts in 3373 days

#8 posted 08-20-2010 05:24 PM

probably should name this plane, but not sure wether to call it Quasimodo (Mafe you really cracked me up with that one) or Dusty in honor of helluvawreck’s hound dog. this plane really is a mixed breed mutt of a dog, but man, that dog sure can hunt.

swirt – you hit the nail on the head, the origin crack comes from the mouth of the plane, good call. the base of the plane is now flat and seems not to have moved since lapping.

View PurpLev's profile


8540 posts in 3770 days

#9 posted 08-20-2010 05:48 PM

real nice to see this plane brought back to life. like you, I’m not much of a collector, and would rather have a user in my hands that can do some work when needed.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View nashbok's profile


27 posts in 2989 days

#10 posted 08-20-2010 07:18 PM

I just picked up an old Stanley #3 that has a weld in it and it cuts great…I also paid a grand total of $5. I think it’s from the thirties. But it’s got some cracks developing, so I don’t know how much longer it will last. :( I’d like to repair it if possible.

View Div's profile


1653 posts in 3061 days

#11 posted 08-20-2010 10:21 PM

If it does the job,then all is fine. Hope your weld holds out.

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

View vakman's profile


301 posts in 2524 days

#12 posted 10-27-2011 09:06 PM

I just bought a Stanley #5 (same “type”) on ebay, $22 including shipping. It was rusty as hell, but the casting was intact, knob and tote had no chips, and the blade assembly was in pretty good shape. Probably used another $5-10 worth of sandpaper to get it cleaned up, but yes, def. worth it. My favorite tool.

-- - Power is not revealed by striking hard or often, but by striking true. -

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