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Old Stanley Bedrock planes

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Forum topic by richgreer posted 10-25-2010 02:51 AM 3780 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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richgreer

4524 posts in 1730 days


10-25-2010 02:51 AM

Recently, I have developed an interest in hand tools in general and hand planes in particular. I’m very intrigued by the old Stanley Bedrock planes. Some of them are over 100 years old and as good today as ever and comparable with the expensive planes on the market today.

Many of the old Bedrocks have numbers like 602, 603, 604, . . . 607. I have assumed that they correspond to a more modern No. 2, No. 3, No. 4 etc. However, today I saw an old Bedrock that was a No. 4. The only difference appears to be the corrugated bottom on the 604 and the smooth bottom on the No. 4.

Can anyone shed some light on this for me? Is the 604 like today’s No.4 and are there other differences between an old 604 and an old No.4?

As an FYI – I recently got a great deal on a used Lie-Nielsen No. 4 and I am curious to compare this plane to an old Stanley Bedrock that is compatible (just for the heck of it).

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.


12 replies so far

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knotscott

5460 posts in 2031 days


#1 posted 10-25-2010 02:59 AM

Bedrock was Stanley’s top line…a slight step above the Baileys. You’re correct that a Bedrock 605 is the size equivalent of a Bailey #4. The Bedrocks tend to fetch a higher price. AFAIK, the biggest difference is with the adjustment mechanisms on the frog. There may also be other differences. As with any plane, it’s performance will boil down to good setup and sharpening.

From Patrick's Blood and Gore

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

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docholladay

1286 posts in 1714 days


#2 posted 10-25-2010 03:19 AM

On the Bedrock planes, the castings (particularly the ones with the square side wings), are heavier than the other Stanley’s. A Bedrock 604 would be roughly similar to a Bailey No. 4. I’ve never heard of a true Bedrock that would have been number 4 instead of 604. I would be suspicious that perhaps this is a bailey plane with a bedrock lever cap, unless of course bedrock is also indicated on the base casting. That said, the best source that I know of for information about all things relating to Stanley planes is this website.

http://www.supertool.com/StanleyBG/stan1.htm

Go check it out.

Doc

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

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Chris

1867 posts in 2646 days


#3 posted 10-25-2010 03:36 AM

Rich,

The modern Lie-Nielsen bench planes are based on the Stanley Bedrock series. That being said there is nothing wrong the the old #4’s, 5’s,etc… I use them almost every project and have never had any issue with them that was not caused by the user. If you can get a Bedrock at a reasonable price I would go for it.

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

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mvflaim

183 posts in 1746 days


#4 posted 10-25-2010 04:26 AM

All Bedrock planes are designated with the 600 series numbers on the bed. The very early Bedrocks that have round sides are very similar to later versions of Bailey planes with both having frog adjustment screws behind the frog.

Later versions of Bedrock planes have square sides and new frog adjustment screws making it possible to move the frog forward and back without removing the blade.

If you see a so-called Bedrock plane that does not have a 600 series number on the bed, it’s not a Bedrock plane.

-- http://mvflaim.wordpress.com/

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ic3ss

254 posts in 1432 days


#5 posted 10-25-2010 05:12 AM

I recently acquired my father-in-law’s old 604 smoother. I immediately read up on everything Bedrock, and upon taking it apart, the one thing that shouts BEDROCK to me, (aside from the 600 number), is the single full size machined surface that the frog sits on. If you compare to other Stanley or other brands, the frog sits on as many as four small machined pads. The Bedrock series was intended to have the largest mating surface between the frog and the shoe as possible.

Like mvflaim said, if it’s not a 600 series, it’s not a bedrock. You probably have a plane that has cannibalized parts.

-- "I am endeavoring, ma'am, to construct a mnemonic memory circuit using stone knives and bear skins."

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knotscott

5460 posts in 2031 days


#6 posted 10-25-2010 11:00 AM

Correction to my statement above…a Bedrock 605 is the equivalent of a Bailey #5 (not #4)....sorry.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

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Don2Laughs

61 posts in 2089 days


#7 posted 10-25-2010 11:24 AM

I have a #603 and it has been a sweet little smoother perfect for smaller projects in my shop for many years. I recently bought a new Hock blade for it and that has made a tremendous difference in my inclination to grab it instead of the LN block plane. The 603 is small, light and a joy to use. Bedrocks popularity was/is based on their chatter-free performance made possible by the mating of the frog and the body in a machined bed. That is what Lie Nielson copied and improved on to offer his great line of planes. I have a LN #4 and it is a top of the line smoother that I wouldn’t be without. The blade on the Bedrock is not as thick as the one on the LN and that does make a positive difference for the LN … but the Hock blade added to the Bedrock makes it hard to beat.
good luck,
Don

-- Don in San Diego, Ca.

View racerglen's profile

racerglen

2303 posts in 1436 days


#8 posted 10-25-2010 02:01 PM

I’ve got a lovely old number 4 that I ended up in a bidding war over (still only 20 bucks but..)
It’d been spray painted black, but had a Bedrock lever cap.. both of us had a brain malfunction.. NUMBER FOUR.. not 604..
Then after getting rid of the paint on the sides and sole.. oopps.. Cracked cheeks, and one in the sole near the mouth.
Oh well, looks good on the wall..

-- Glen, Vernon B.C. Canada

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HokieMojo

2101 posts in 2383 days


#9 posted 10-25-2010 03:20 PM

Thanks for the update Scott. You had me reconsidering my whole life there for a moment. lol.

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richgreer

4524 posts in 1730 days


#10 posted 10-25-2010 04:35 PM

So, based on what I have read here, this would not be a true Bedrock plane – - -

http://cgi.ebay.com/OLD-STANLEY-BEDROCK-4-WOODWORKING-PLANE-/250714512055?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3a5fbfdab7#ht_484wt_922

You will note that no one has bid on it yet.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View racerglen's profile

racerglen

2303 posts in 1436 days


#11 posted 10-25-2010 04:48 PM

It certainly looks right in the picture ..the shape of the rear tote is good,
the sides are right with that flat at the top. I wonder if the seller’s “shorthanded” the number ?
The one I refered to earlier that we thought was a Bedrock, was old enough to have the
rounded tops like the standard bailey. But given the refinish, who knows from that if it hasn’t had a bit of grinder work done ?

-- Glen, Vernon B.C. Canada

View mvflaim's profile

mvflaim

183 posts in 1746 days


#12 posted 10-26-2010 02:11 AM

That’s a Bedrock but the bonehead seller didn’t provide enough pics to make sure. It’s a dumb thing to do because all pics are free in the Collectibles catagory.

-- http://mvflaim.wordpress.com/

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