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  1. #1
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    Default Stanley Bailey No 4 1/2 identification

    I recently purchased 3, No 4 1/2 Stanley Bailey handplanes.
    I was hoping to cobble together one worker out of them.
    However they all seem to be slightly different.
    I'll probably need some spare parts but the first thing to do will be clean them up.
    Then see what is missing to decide which will be the keeper.
    Lyle
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  3. #2
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    It looks like the top one only needs a blade.
    I'd start with that one.
    Happy restoring
    Tom
    .... some old things are lovely
    Warm still with the life of forgotten men who made them.

    D.H. Lawrence

  4. #3
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    Not really a lot to go on lyle; although I can see the bottom one is a pre-1936 US. Judging by the monstrous gaps between the frog and the centre web I would say the the middle one is a 1950-80's UK made while the top could be anything after 1933.

    I'd need a photo of each plane disassembled showing a top view of the base casting with the frog next it; and another one showing the adjuster on the frog.

    4-1/2's are unique amongst Stanley bench planes in that the early UK built ones can be regarded as slightly superior to the US ones due to the much thicker castings used; the only area where the US ones were better is in the machining of the frogs and frog receivers.
    Nothing succeeds like a budgie without a beak.

  5. #4
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    Thanks gentlemen for your reply.
    I need some advice.
    Gave the top one, (most complete - it needs a blade holder), a clean and degrease.
    Came up surprisingly well.
    BUT it has this mud brown paint over it. The japanning? Underneath seems really good. Any ideas how to remove it without ruining the japanning?
    Ordinary citrus based paint remover? Will that hurt?
    Also why would you paint it brown.????
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    Hmmm... somewhere between the 50's and late 60's. The finish is rough which puts it later when QA was sub-optimal but at least it has wooden parts and the cast yoke. Is the adjustment wheel brass or steel? There wasn't really much to differentiate between the production years; merely a slow decline in the quality.

    Carpenters and educators used to daub their planes and other tools in coloured paint so that they can be easily spotted in the wrong toolbox... I'm afraid I can't offer any real advice on how to remove it because I don't know what coating the English planes used. Good chance it may be stove enamel which is very durable and should resist a citrus stripper, but if the worst comes to the worst a spray can of black engine enamel will recreate the original coating relatively cheaply without looking garish or falling off as soon as you look at it.
    Nothing succeeds like a budgie without a beak.

  7. #6
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    Thanks Chief. I'll give it a go.
    I'll get a can of the spray engine enamel in anticipation of the worst.
    Are the blade holders common, or do I need one for a 4 1/2?
    Thanks
    Lyle
    Ps. The adjusting wheel is brass..
    Last edited by Lyle; 12th July 2021 at 09:01 PM. Reason: Add info

  8. #7
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    The “blade holder” is usually referred to as a either a “cap iron” or “chipbreaker”. You need one that is 60mm (or 2-3/8” in old money), this size was common to the 4-1/2, 6 & 7. Later 5-1/2’s also used that size but they’re not that common a plane and for some reason most of the one’s I see are the earlier models running a unique 2-1/2” blade. Keep an eye on fleabay etc for a blade assembly; that is a blade complete with cap iron. If you manage to locate a cap iron on its own then you can buy a brand new blade from Bunnings.
    Nothing succeeds like a budgie without a beak.

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chief Tiff View Post
    .... for some reason most of the one’s I see are the earlier models running a unique 2-1/2” blade..
    Slip of the typing finger, Chief? I think you mean 2 1/4" blade for the pre-1935 5 1/2s...

    Just a word of caution about a new cap-iron, Lyle; they are mostly interchangeable, but there is some minor variation in the distance between the edge that sits behind the cutting edge of the blade, & the little slot that engages the cam of the adjuster yoke. This is particularly so if you find one off some "generic' brand 5 1/2, though there are very few of these compared with the far more common #4 size. It only has to be a couple of mm out of the right spot and it will cause you trouble because the adjuster wheel will need to be screwed out or in a lot further to get the blade to cut if the cap-iron is set "correctly".

    Hard to tell from a single pic, but I suspect my choice of which plane to work on would have been the bottom one. It looks like a pre-WW2 model - can't tell from the aerial photography if it's a high or low-knob, but if the latter, I'd hang onto it & spend some time getting it back in working order, too. You might find it the superior plane, it's the quality of the frog & receiver machining that maketh the plane, imo, not the weight of the body casting...
    Cheers,
    Ian
    IW

  10. #9
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    Default Typo Alert!

    Quote Originally Posted by Chief Tiff View Post
    ...Later 5-1/2’s also used that size but they’re not that common a plane and for some reason most of the one’s I see are the earlier models running a unique 2-1/2” blade...
    That's a 2-1/4" iron.

    Cheers, Vann - who likes the ye olde terms, so:

    "Cutting Iron" (or just "Iron") is the blade (although I think Record referred to the 'iron' as the 'cutter');
    "Cap Iron" - is the chip breaker;
    "Double Iron" is the blade assembly (presumably complete with screw to hold the two together);
    And I prefer "Tote" to 'handle' ('cause there's two of those) - which is now an American term, though I believe it originated in England.
    Gatherer of rusty planes tools...
    Proud member of the Wadkin Blockhead Club .

  11. #10
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    Caveat Emptor.....
    Cleaned up and discovered cracks in the sole coming out of the corners of the mouth.!
    Repairable, nothing to worry about, throw into scrap iron???
    File them out and fill with a "metalset type" repair?
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    Last edited by Lyle; 13th July 2021 at 10:33 AM. Reason: Add photo

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vann View Post
    That's a 2-1/4" iron.
    Quote Originally Posted by IanW View Post
    Slip of the typing finger, Chief? I think you mean 2 1/4" blade for the pre-1935 5 1/2s...


    Yeah... I meant 2-1/4"... sorry!!!



    Nothing succeeds like a budgie without a beak.

  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lyle View Post
    ...Cleaned up and discovered cracks in the sole coming out of the corners of the mouth.!
    Repairable, nothing to worry about, throw into scrap iron???
    File them out and fill with a "metalset type" repair?...
    Hmm, they look pretty nasty from here. Yes, repairable, but only by someone who really does know what they're doing with cast iron (which definitely excludes me!). But you have 3 bodies, so at this stage I'd just move on to one of the others. It doesn't look like much more is missing from either, & what is should be easily replaceable.

    I'm still plumping for #3. It looks like the rear handle/tote is rosewood & original, but the front knob looks suspiciously like beech which it shouldn't be on that vintage. However, that's not the end of the world, it wouldn't be the first old plane wearing the wrong livery.

    Cheers,
    IW

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    I'd hazard to guess someone or a secession of folks had a go at lapping that one, and the sole is now thin, which has led to that cracking.
    Although I suppose it could be from some sort of drop, but I doubt it, I think I've a plane with the same issue.

    If they all came from the same lot, I'd be looking to do up the one with the thickest casting.
    Hopefully it's possible to cobble one together, I wouldn't be worried about any perceived performance new vs old.
    I tend to avoid these job lots and look for pictures front and back of the plane to ensure a thick casting, or I ain't buying it.

    If you learn to set the cap iron, (search David Weaver's "Setting a cap iron" wood central article) that will eliminate the need for a tight mouth, should you be thinking about moving the frog forward....what I mean is adjustment screws, or more contact area on the plane casting for adjustment isn't important feature to me.
    If the frog is flush with the casting (all the way back) and sitting solid, then it's all you need.

    Tight mouths on Bailey's are a complete hindrance if one wants to learn how to use the cap iron correctly, i.e impossible at the finest setting for smooth planing.

    If you learn to use the cap iron and realise what it can actually do, eliminate tearout, instead of relying on the front of the mouth to press down on the fibres in effort to eliminate tearout...
    then you stand a much better chance if those planes turn out to be lemons (not flat) or some other issue with the sole in front of the mouth.

    Not saying things might not be improved by lapping some specific areas only, if they're way out.
    But beware that if they are thin on the ends, then flattening could well reveal some error or crack like you've seen, I've even found a pocket
    on a cheap 60 1/2 which wasn't nice.
    I'm fully to blame by not lapping it correctly at the time.

    I'd leave well alone if all are really thin, and just accept that if they're way out, you might not be able to take a consistent thin shaving.
    Still should be able to take a normal shaving and not experience tearout, which is the important thing.

  15. #14
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    Hi Lyle,

    I have a laminated sweetheart era blade that you can have for the price of postage.

    Cheers,
    Zac.

    Sent from my SM-A115F using Tapatalk

  16. #15
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    WOW that is extremely generous Zac.
    May I hold off untill I get a bit more sorted out?

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