Stanley Bailey or Sweethearts?

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Forum topic by gdpolk posted 05-21-2015 11:04 PM 999 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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9 posts in 1137 days

05-21-2015 11:04 PM

I’m getting set up for a small shop to make furniture. I grew up in my grandfather’s shop, but now it’s time to work with some of my own tools. He has tons and tons of old stuff that’s been restored and gifted to him over the years.

While I enjoy restoration of vintage tools and while I do frequent antique stores and what not, I would like to purchase a small set of planes to get me started and then fill in the collection with restored planes as I need.

What I’m looking for as a base set:
1) Two 6-7” block planes with adjustable mouth, one standard and one low angle
2) One 9-11” plane, with adjustable mouth
3) One jack plane, with adjustable mouth

A quick search brought up the Bailey and Sweetheart series. Of these, which would you prefer and why?

7 replies so far

View Ripthorn's profile


1458 posts in 3011 days

#1 posted 05-21-2015 11:13 PM

The current production models do not get very good reviews. To be totally honest with you, you can pick up already cleaned or even restored vintage tools for less than those new tools. Also, an adjustable mouth for a jack is totally unnecessary, and I would say it’s not really necessary on a smoother either. Additionally, I would just start with a single low angle block plane, a standard angle one doesn’t add much to the party. I bought dirty vintage and restored them, but guys like DonW, Josh (hyperkitten), Patrick Leach, etc. sell tools ready to use for reasonable prices.

-- Brian T. - Exact science is not an exact science

View BurlyBob's profile


5555 posts in 2292 days

#2 posted 05-21-2015 11:30 PM

Totally agree with Brian.

View mramseyISU's profile


534 posts in 1572 days

#3 posted 05-22-2015 01:26 AM

If you want to go on the cheap by some vintage to restore for sure. If you don’t feel like screwing with that there’s nothing wrong with the new sweatheart stuff. I’ve got the new No 4, a shoulder plane and a block plane. Once you get them sharp they work fine. I like my new No 4 SW better than either of the old No 4 baileys I’ve fixed up for certain things.

-- Trust me I'm an engineer.

View gdpolk's profile


9 posts in 1137 days

#4 posted 05-22-2015 02:14 AM

Thanks for the advice. I’ll try to get a hold of Don and see if he can hook me up with some quality users that are pretty much ready to go +/- sharpening the irons. I’m all for saving coins and have done several gun, knife, axe, and tool restorations with good results. While I enjoy the process I’m kind of looking to get into a set of basics ready to go and after that I’ll build the collection one by one as I pick them up.

I appreciate the leads to good places to pick up some tools. I’m new to this forum and haven’t found my way around yet. I’ve done a ton of work in my grandfather’s shop but it’s centered around power tools and I’d like to explore the use of hand tools and more traditional jointery for now with my own shop in several areas. I don’t know if I’m ready yet to give up the table saw or router as those are just crazy handy to have.

View jmartel's profile


7956 posts in 2176 days

#5 posted 05-22-2015 02:47 AM

If you want new, then look at Woodriver, Lie-Nielsen, or Lee Valley’s Veritas line of planes. If you don’t want to pay that much, buy vintage pre-WWII and restore them.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View Andre's profile


1888 posts in 1832 days

#6 posted 05-22-2015 02:58 AM

E-bay is another source, some great deals but time consuming, A 60 1/2 low angle should be your first plane and go from there, I actually picked up L.N. 102 which is the plane I reach for most of the time. Depends on what your needs are but for touching up 3/4” long or end grain I wouldn’t look at anything bigger yet.

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View Slemi's profile


117 posts in 1567 days

#7 posted 05-22-2015 03:31 AM

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