View Full Version : Bailey planes

Paul Geer
04-02-2003, 2:26 PM
I noticed Wood Craft has new Stanley-Bailey planes, No. 4, 5 and 6. I've been thinking about trying one but noticed they all have plastic handles. are they any good?

I have an older (antique) No.4 Bailey with rosewood handles and it works great once I learned how to use it.

I guess I'm worried about those plastic handles, are the new planes the same quality as the old ones. Should I look for the antiques?

Lie-Nielson? lot of green backs, nice planes though...

Tom Scott
04-02-2003, 4:52 PM
The new Stanleys aren't anywhere close to the quality of the older (specifically, pre-WWII) models. The blades aren't as good and the castings aren't even close.
If you don't mind the clean-up and fettling part of it, there are a lot of older planes to be had on E-Bay. With a little bit of work, these will serve you much better than new ones. Also note, a new Stanley must be thought of as a kit, similar to picking up an old one, that will need work to get it into "working" shape. The sole won't be flat, the chip breaker won't fit properly, and you may need to do some filing at the frog to get it to seat properly. Ad to boot, you can probably get the older (better) plane cheaper than the new one.
If you want to go new, the Lie-Neilson's are tops in my book. Lots of green, though. You should also look at the Veritas planes offered through Lee Valley. Those are great planes and cheaper, though not as pretty, as the L-N's.

Dave Anderson NH
04-03-2003, 1:15 PM
New Stanleys can only politely be refered to as a kit. They are inferior in every way to the ones made even as little as 20 years ago. In reality, the period from about 1896 to 1928 or so was the zenith of Stanley quality and this is what you should try to find. #4-#8 sizes are quite common on the old tool market and are available readily at reasonable prices well below what you'd pay for one of the new ones with all its quality engineered out.

Paul Geer
04-03-2003, 2:10 PM
Thanks, Tom and Dave,

That's about what I figured, I'll look for the antiques. My Father had a No4 Bailey and gave it to me and his mother give it to him, she won it at some kind of tool promotion about 80 years ago.

Here's a No 7 Bailey that was found by one of the guys at work, needs to be cleaned up and new rosewood handle otherwise works great. The two planes really got me interested in hand tools after 15 years of powering it.

Thanks again!

Paul Geer
04-03-2003, 2:14 PM
For some reason the picture didn't make it on my reply, so I'll try it again.

BTW: Tom, Just received a copy of Lee Valley catalog today and I'll take a look at those Veritas planes.

Tom Scott
04-03-2003, 7:46 PM
Hard to tell from the pic, but you can try using this link to a Stanley plane dating flowchart to try and date your planes Plane Dating Flowchart (http://www.woodcentral.com/bparticles/pdatechart.pdf) .
Let us know what you got.


Paul Geer
04-04-2003, 12:44 PM
Tom, I have one date on the casting (U.S.PAT APR-19-10), and a raized ring around the base of the knob. According to the Plane Dating Flowchart the plane was made around 1929-30, that is if I didn't miss something.

Tom Scott
04-04-2003, 3:58 PM
So it's a type 14. Good. Generally, the type 12 through 15's are considered the best users.
Get that puppy tuned, sharpened, and put it to work.

Enjoy the quiet,

Roger Nixon
04-15-2003, 6:34 PM
My first real plane was a Made in England Stanley #7 with plastic totes. It wasn't too bad, reasonably flat, etc. The biggest problems were the plastic totes (slippery and made my hands sore) and the blade wouldn't hold an edge for very long. Those things can be replaced but then the plane would wind up costing more than a much better one.

Michael Cody
04-16-2003, 7:51 AM
You can buy all the 3, 4, 5's in the flea market or ebay world often under 20$ but for sure under 30$. No reason to buy a new one since even the 50-60's planes are better. If you go with Miller Falls, Sargent or even Dunlap or Sears/Wards (these are sargent or miller falls made) you can get them even cheaper. Still better than current offerings. The Lee Valley & Lie-Nielsen planes are great but they are not 3-4 times better than the old ones like the price would indicate and you will still have to fettle them (ie tune them up) for peak performance. I personally don't see why anyone buys them but a lot do.

Roger Nixon
04-16-2003, 11:40 AM
After I bought the made in England Stanley mentioned above, I came across a Type 17 #6 for $20. I bought it thinking I would use the tote and blade on my #7. After I cleaned & sharpened the #6, I tried it out. That's when I realized a $20 plane could be way better than an $80 plane. The #7 went to ebay long ago.
Since then I've had 100+ bench planes and still have 30 or so Bailey type planes. My main users are Sweetheart era Stanleys or Keen Kutter K-series (Type 4 Bedrocks) and the vast majority were under $20.