Questions about old Stanley Bailey No. 4 plane, Type 11 or 12

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Forum topic by Brett posted 04-02-2011 04:04 AM 17908 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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660 posts in 2705 days

04-02-2011 04:04 AM

I have a few questions about an old Stanley Bailey No. 4 plane I picked up.

First, is it a Type 11 or Type 12? It has three patent dates behind the frog and the brass adjustment nut is only 1” in diameter, but the knob appears to be the “high” variety.

Two questions about the quality:

1) There are chips in the front edge of the lever cap. Will these affects its value as either a user or a sell-able plane?

2) The frog appears to have either jappaning or black paint on it. Does it look like someone spray-painted the frog?

-- More tools, fewer machines.

3 replies so far

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 3020 days

#1 posted 04-02-2011 07:14 AM

Yes, it has been painted. It also looks like it has had other alterations or replacement parts such as the screws. This is commonly termed a Frankenplane. I don’t believe the lever cap is original. It should probably have one of the curved keyhole caps and most likely have Stanley logo on it.

Don’t fret over it though. As far as a user, I see nothing wrong with it. I would file down some of the chips on the lever cap so they don’t hang chips. I personally prefer the feel of the low knobbers but that is highly subjective. I do prefer the larger adjustment knob on the later models. They have more leverage and are easier to adjust.

Use it and enjoy it. It looks like a good plane and will last well beyond your lifetime.

As far as collectibles, Stanley bench planes are common as dirt and not collectible in any way. Not a negative about the planes. Very few are collectors pieces. Bench planes from #3 to #8 this won’t be really valuable unless they are some special case because they were the main tools that everyone had. Some weird wartime thing like the aluminum ones or the heavy iron versions that were sold in England stand out. Also some of the old pre-laterals are kind of pricey. I have seen a grand total of one “collectible” Stanley plane in my life. I have a little #2C that would be in that category. Why? Because unless you are a 12 year old girl, it is just too small to be comfortable and most people didn’t buy one. The only thing worse were the #1. Those are sized for maybe a 7 year old. Their basic use was as a salesman sample so the salesmen didn’t have to lug around large boxes of cast iron.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View pete79's profile


154 posts in 3162 days

#2 posted 04-02-2011 02:02 PM

I myself also have what may be deemed a Stanley Bailey type 13 “frankenplane”. I’d say the frog on yours definately has been painted – you can tell by seeing that the lateral adjuster lever also has some black on it, as well as the cap screw. You’ll want to sand most of that off the face of the frog when you flatten it – the rest is just cosmetic for the most part.

As a user, I think you’ll be fine. I spent some time tuning mine up and it works great so far (I got a new hock blade and chip breaker for it too though).

Here is a link to the database “megachart” that I used to identify the type that my plane was. The chart is a bit overwhelming, but it’s very useful. Not sure if this is what you’re using:

It’s hard to identify the type if you think that there may be replacement parts. The differences between a 11, 12, and 13 are subtle and would be easiest to identify in the lever on the cap iron, or the markings on the iron itself…but it’s hard to say if those are original or not. If the iron is original though, i see it’s got the SW markings on it, which would peg it at a 12 or 13. Hope that helps.

-- Life is a one lap race.

View bubinga's profile


861 posts in 2690 days

#3 posted 04-02-2011 02:39 PM

Go here
If you dig into the info at these web sites you will be able to identify almost any plane
You could ,if you like ,get a better lever cap,cheep on eBay, or new at Highland Hardware

-- E J ------- Always Keep a Firm Grip on Your Tool

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