A #5 Bailey


As a novice woodbutcher, I don't know what to do or what not to do. My wife's dad died a few days ago and she brought home his # 5, guess early '50's. The rear handle is broken and the long screw is bent, no wood missing. Did get the handle apart, and straighten the screw. Some rust all over. other then that, in pretty good shape. So, that can I do or not do. Or just leave it as is? She has no intrest in the $ value, but I don't want to damage the value either. If, in fact, it has any value.
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dad died a few days ago and she brought home his # 5, guess early '50's. The rear handle is broken and the long screw is bent, no wood missing. Did get the handle apart, and straighten the screw. Some rust all over. other then that, in pretty good shape.

the $ value, but I don't want to damage the value either. If, in fact, it has any value
One option open to you is restoring the plane to a useful condition. This exercise will provide experience in rust removal, tracking down parts from The Stanley Works and sharpening and tuning. The reward will be a tool you will appreciate and you will remember your father in law when you use it, .Joe G
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wrote:

A while back I copied somebody's post here on using electrolysis to clean an old plane. I don't know who wrote this, so if you do, please give credit where it is do. I don't know to whom to give credit. (Or as Milton Berle said, "I never heard a joke worth telling which wasn't worth stealing.")
Glen
Get yourself a cheap battery charger, a stainless steel rod, some (Arm&Hammer "washing soda" (can be found in the laundry section of most grocery stores is sold as a "detergent booster"), and a plastic pail full of water, a non-abrasive nylon scrubbing pad, a roll of paper towels, and a tin of carnuba paste wax.
Throw some washing soda in the water and swish it around to dissolve it. Connect the rusty object to the - Terminal of the charger and place it in the water, connect the steel rod to the + terminal and submerge it in the water (make certain the two objects _cannot_ touch each-other... turn the charger on and witness the bubbles. after a few hours the water should be pretty disgusting, wherever there _was_ rust will now have a black film on it. Wipe the film off w/ the nylon scrubber and dry it _immediately_, apply the paste wax according to directions on the container. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I have had a couple of requests for this recently and there are a lot of new subscribers, so here 'tis again. I hope I have covered all the points so we don't start the thread again.
Q. What is the method? A. A technique for returning surface rust to iron. It uses the effect of an small low voltage electric current and a suitable electrolyte (solution).
Q. What advantages does the method have over the old standbys, like vinegar, Coke, muriatic acid, Naval Jelly, wire brushing, sand blasting etc.? A. These methods all remove material to remove the rust, including un-rusted surfaces. With many, the metal is left with a "pickled" look or a characteristic color and texture. The electrolytic method removes nothing: by returning surface rust to metallic iron, rust scale is loosened and can be easily removed. Un-rusted metal is not affected in any way.
Q. What about screws, pivots, etc that are "rusted tight"? A. The method will frequently solve these problems, without the need for force, which can break things.
Q. Is it safe? A. The solutions used are not hazardous; the voltages and currents are low, so there is no electrical hazard. No noxious fumes are produced. The method is self-limiting: it is impossible to over clean an object.
Q. Where did this method come from? A. Electrolysis is a standard technique in the artifact restoration business. I wrote this up for the Chronicle of the Early American Industries Association a few years back. Most of the tool collectors around here use it:
Q. What do I need? A. A plastic tub; a stainless steel or iron electrode, water and washing soda (NOT baking soda!!) and a battery charger. About a tablespoon of soda to a gallon of water. If you have trouble locating the washing soda, household lye will work just fine. It's a tad more nasty--always wear eye protection and be sure to add the lye to the water (NOT water to lye!!!) The solution is weak, and is not harmful, though you might want to wear gloves.
Q. How long does the solution last? A. Forever, though the loosened rust will make it pretty disgusting after a while. Evaporation and electrolysis will deplete the water from the solution. Add water ONLY to bring the level back.
Q. What about the iron electrode? A. The iron electrode works best if it surrounds the object to be cleaned, since the cleaning is "line of sight" to a certain extent. The iron electrode will be eaten away with time. Stainless steel has the advantage (some alloys, but not all) that it is not eaten away.
Q. How do I connect the battery charger? A.THE POLARITY IS CRUCIAL!! The iron or stainless electrode is connected to the positive (red) terminal. The object being cleaned, to the negative (black). Submerge the object, making sure you have good contact, which can be difficult with heavily rusted objects.
Q. How do I know if it is working? A. Turn on the power. If your charger has a meter, be sure come current is flowing. Again, good electrical contact may be hard to make-it is essential. Fine bubbles will rise from the object.
Q. How long do I leave it? A. The time depends on the size of the object and of the iron electrode, and on the amount of rust. You will have to test the object by trying to wipe off the rust. If it is not completely clean, try again. Typical cleaning time for moderately rusted objects is a few hours. With heavily rusted objects can be left over night.
Q. How do I get the rust off after I remove the object? A. Rub the object under running water. A paper towel will help. For heavily rusted objects, a plastic pot scrubber can be used, carefully. Depending on the amount of original rust, you may have to re-treat.
Q. My object is too big to fit. Can I clean part of it? A. Yes. You can clean one end and then the other. Lap marks should be minimal if the cleaning was thorough.
Q. After I take it out, then what? A. The clean object will acquire surface rust very quickly, so wipe it dry and dry further in a warm oven or with a hair dryer. You may want to apply light oil or a coat of wax to prevent further rusting.
Q. Will the method remove pitting? A. No. It only operates on the rust in immediate contact with unrusted metal. What's gone is gone.
Q. What will it look like when I am done? A. The surface of rusted metal is left black. Rusted pits are still pits. Shiny unrusted metal is untouched.
Q. What about nickel plating, paint, japanning and the like? A. Sound plating will not be affected. Plating under which rust has penetrated will usually be lifted. The solution may soften some paints. Test with a drop of solution in an inconspicuous place. Remove wood handles if possible before treating.
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Tuning up planes is fun, and not too hard. I suspect that a #5 Stanley of that age has little collector's value, so you might as well make it into a useful tool.
There's lots on the Web about restoring planes. Most of it reasonable good. I've done about a dozen, and don't use electrolysis to remove rust. Scraping with a razor blade or utility knife blade followed by sandpaper followed by lots of hand washing and cleaning up the mess works well. (I have used citric acid and I like that.)
A broken handle (tote) can be glued with TiteBond II. (Be sure to prep the surfaces with acetone to remove the oil that is in Rosewood.)
Have fun, and you will be amazed a what a fine tool you have when you are done.
Old Guy
As a novice woodbutcher, I don't know what to do or what not to do. My wife's dad died a few days ago and she brought home his # 5, guess early '50's. The rear handle is broken and the long screw is bent, no wood missing. Did get the handle apart, and straighten the screw. Some rust all over. other then that, in pretty good shape. So, that can I do or not do. Or just leave it as is? She has no intrest in the $ value, but I don't want to damage the value either. If, in fact, it has any value.
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dad died a few days ago and she brought home his # 5, guess early '50's. The rear handle is broken and the long screw is bent, no wood missing. Did get the handle apart, and straighten the screw. Some rust all over. other then that, in pretty good shape.

the $ value, but I don't want to damage the value either. If, in fact, it has any value.
1905 Bailey #5s sell for around $30 in repairable condition. Figure the value of your 1950s plane from there.
How did you date the plane? Patent date stamped inside the bed? What shape is the hole in the middle of the lever cap?
As for ease of restoration, first detail is flatness of the sole in front of the mouth. Is it dead flat or slightly concave, and by about how much?
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and the long screw is bent, no wood missing. Did get the handle apart, and straighten the screw. Some rust all over. other then that, in pretty good shape.

the $ value, but I don't want to damage the value either. If, in fact, it has any value.
You have a jack plane, a useful all-around tool. From your description, it has no collectible value, but you can, with a little work, turn it into a good user. There was a good Ernie Conover video about restoring old hand planes.
1) carefully dissemble it and clean off the rust.There are a variety of mechanical, chemical, and electrolytical techniques for that. It's been discussed a lot on this forum
2) glue the handle back together if you can. You can also buy replacement handles --- or you can even make your own. Revarnish the handle and knob.
3) sharpen the blade --- also much discussed on this forum
4) flatten the sole
5) reassemble and tune up.
It's easier than it sounds.
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