First up, the Stanley Bench Plane dating page marks this as a #4
Smoother, Type 9, made between 1902 and 1907. Two patent dates, plus
the lack of a frog adjustment screw.
Pop was born in 1899, so my guess is that this was HIS father's plane.
I'll ask Mom and see if she remembers whether or not her Grandfather was
I reground the iron straight--its bevel was crooked and
rounded--managing not to turn anything blue. Scary sharped the iron.
Here's how I set it up:
I have the cap iron set back the width of a screwdriver tip--this should
probably be set closer, it's closer to 1/16th than 1/32nd.
I'm not sure about the frog adjustment. I put it back on the original
marks showed it was. I tried moving it further forward but that proved
too far forward to allow the blade to move. If anyone knows how best to
set the frog on this plane, I'd love to hear it.
Finally, it's tending to dig in. Is there any good way to reduce the
backlash in the iron adjuster? I'm finding it difficult to strike the
best balance between too shallow and too deep a cut.
Meanwhile, I'm making shavings, trying to get them nice and wispy . . .
though I'm occasionally tempted to get out the sandpaper . . I'm
practicing on Piney wood, plus some oak and maple offcuts I've lying
On Wed, 15 Sep 2004 18:50:23 GMT, "U-CDK_CHARLES\\Charles" <"Charles
It all depends. You don't tune planes, you tune them _for_ something.
What are you doing with this thing ? Smoother ? Smoother for gnarly
stuff ? Bench plane ? Scrub plane ?
Baileys aren't accurate enough you can use them for everything,
flipping from one to the other with a small twist of the adjuster.
They can perform well, but you're best leaving them set for one task.
Set it as far back as it _should_ go, which is actually as far
_forward_ as it looks like it ought to go. The frog edge should be
aligned with the mouth edge.
If you set the frog further back, the risk is that the iron only rests
on the mouth edge and is unsupported by the frog. There's no point in
putting the frog further back. With a thin sole and a long bevel you
_might_ get away with it, but generally you should avoid it.
Now with the frog right back, do a trial assembly with the iron etc.
This will give you some idea of what the max mouth width is. A Bailey
won't always adjust to a zero mouth (the cap iron hits first), but it
should go small enough for most purposes. You can chamfer off the
front edge of the mouth if needed (ON A USER PLANE).
You may also be trying to fit a better iron, like a Clifton / Victor.
These are much thicker, and the best irons around for bench planes
based on Baileys. In this case it's almost guaranteed that the iron
won't fit the mouth, no matter where the frog sits. Your only option
is to file the mouth open a little (ON A USER PLANE).
When mouth filing, I begin (if this will be enough) by filing the
front edge to a chamfer to clear the cap iron and improve chip
clearance. I then file the rear edge to roughly match the frog angle,
if this will improve the use of the frog travel. If this isn't enough
(and it won't be for a Clifton iron) then I start opening the mouth up
from the front edge. Scribe a square line across the mouth, slight
ahead (1/2mm) of the existing mouth. Wince in horror at the inaccuracy
of the cast mouth! File to this line, using a file with two safe
Backlash comes from two places, lash in the nut and lash where the
fork enters the iron. It's basically an inaccurate design, so swap it
for a Norris !
There have been zero-backlash multipart nuts, which might sell well
enough if some enterprising toolshop were to recreate them as add-ons
Mainly though, it's a question of technique. The screw holding down
the cap iron is a crucial adjustment, because it controls the friction
that locates the iron (and it's _only_ this friction that holds it).
Think of the adjusting fork as a "poke" to shift the iron along in
either direction, not as the nut representing the actual position of
If you really have dig-in problems, think about the crowning, corners
and the overall sharpness of the iron.
On Wed, 15 Sep 2004 21:58:18 +0100, Andy Dingley wrote:
Listen to the man. My Baileys behave themselves much better after I
understood this point. You also want to always end your adjustment by
bringing the blade forward. If you don't, the blade will slide back up;
Thoughts on using some loktite on the cap lever screw, once the best
position is found?
Fussing with the adjustment is at least half the fun! ;-)
Seriously, what Andy said in another post, about having more than one
plane, is the direction I've been sliding recently. Some old 'Handyman'
relics, swiped from my father's toolbox 20 years ago, a Record #4 that
refuses to be a precision device, a Stanley low-angle block, set up for
softwoods - these are my traveling kit. If they get lost or forgotten, it's
not the end of the world. Along with some Ace Hardware chisels (which are
surprisingly good), a couple of handsaws, and whatever power tools seem
appropriate to the challenge. The good stuff stays at home, but seems to
get new company regularly...
I'd like to use it for smoothing. Yes, I've been winding the adjuster
back, say half a turn, then winding out the backlash in the screw, then
advancing it by eighth turns.
This is definitely a user. The iron is original as far as I can tell.
It also helps if I make sure there are no old shavings caught between
the cap iron and the iron when I reassemble...
: I'm not sure about the frog adjustment. I put it back on the original
: marks showed it was. I tried moving it further forward but that proved
: too far forward to allow the blade to move. If anyone knows how best to
: set the frog on this plane, I'd love to hear it.
You might care to try my web site - Planing Notes - Fettling a Cast Iron
Plane and scroll down to The Frog.
: Finally, it's tending to dig in. Is there any good way to reduce the
: backlash in the iron adjuster?
Very difficult to do without spoiling the plane - in any event some backlash
appears to be required by the plane design (consider the operation of the
yoke's spigot in the cap-iron aperture).
: ................................ I'm finding it difficult to strike the
: best balance between too shallow and too deep a cut.
Is the lever cap set so tight as you can only just manage to release it with
a finger? Otherwise you'll get very erratic settings.
Jeff Gorman, West Yorkshire, UK
Email: username is amgron
On Wed, 15 Sep 2004 18:50:23 GMT, U-CDK_CHARLES\Charles <Charles
Thanks for all the suggestions and links . . even the one's I'd already
Started making shavings on red oak last night. Is it normal to spend an
hour marveling over the texture of a planed surface?
At what point do I start sucking?
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