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Thread: Advice on a couple of planes

  1. #1
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    Advice on a couple of planes

    I've been offered a couple of planes in trade - a Stanley 5-1/4 and a Bedrock 603. The planes appear to be in old condition, likely as found. Before I make a decision I'd like to be aware of any gotchas so I'm hoping you guys can help spot any concerns. It appears to me the tote on the 5-1/4 has been repaired and as I am posting this thread I see the 603 had a bad break with the tote and has been repaired also.

    I'm hoping to at least have an idea of type and thus age before making a decision on the trade. I'll ask the owner about any dates on the planes. It looks like there is a date or dates on the 5-1/4. I cannot see any on the 603. I only have one Bedrock plane. So I don't have much experience typing these. Does the Plant Flowchart work/apply to Bedrock planes? I notice the 603 doesn't have Bedrock on the lever cap. From what I've read I suspect that's a non-Bedrock replacement. ??

    Based on what we can see from the pics do you think the plane irons will clean up sufficiently to make these good users or do you think they'll need to be replaced? I've read that when the blades are pitted it can prevent being able to get a good cutting edge.

    For what it's worth, what I'm trading has a value of $100-$120 and will cost $30-$40 to ship (it's heavy). It's an old drill press belt guard.

    I much appreciate any thoughts/help/guidance you guys can provide.
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    Last edited by Lee Schierer; 02-16-2019 at 11:50 AM.

  2. #2
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    If structurally sound looks like a decent trade for users. Main things I look for is:

    - Fractures anywhere, but especially around the mouth (I don't see any)
    - Sole flatness -- I've bought good looking planes off the internet that were banana-shaped ... not much you can do with but part them out. Toe of sole flatness is most important. (This you can't tell by photos, unfortunately)
    - Mouth integrity, has mouth been opened up by filing? Not desireable. (Yours look good)
    - For users, the rest is incidental as can be franken planed in other words, cobbled together, by other parts from other similar planes. However, I'm no expert on Bedrock and I don't know how easy that would be.

    Can't tell you what to do. I'd probably take the plunge myself. Here in the Midwest I've had to. Not a lot of opportunities to look at something up close and in person. It's hard to find a good smoothing plane and when you do it's expensive. Just know you're gambling a little.

  3. #3
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    Here’s a link to a site to help establish a type for the Bedrock:

    https://www.antique-used-tools.com/brtypes.htm

    The Bedrock 603 seems relatively rare in the used market. I’m a Bedrock fan but have never had a 603. I suspect that once de-rusted and cleaned you could have a plane worth $100 or more, especially if you could find a correct lever cap. I currently own 604 and 607 Bedrocks, both flat sides.

    I’m also a fan of the Stanley 5 1/4 Junior Jack Plane and have one. I paid $30 for mine but it had a chunk broken off the front side that does not affect its performance.

  4. #4
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    Is it just me or do the sides of the #5-1/4 look like they have cracks?

    Crack?.png

    There looks to be another on the other side.

    The real question might be how easy would it be to get $100 for the belt guard? My tendency would be to keep the $100 than to get the planes, but then my shop doesn't have much room for more of what is already there.

    There was a nice woody jack that caught my eye in a junk shop on Hawthorne Blvd in Portland yesterday. Alas, it stayed behind.

    jtk
    Last edited by Jim Koepke; 02-16-2019 at 2:00 PM.
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
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  5. #5
    If you are going for users, don't worry about the exact year, they are both from the right period to be good planes. My biggest concern of the two is whether the Bedrock will come apart. I'm not overly enamored with the amount of corrosion on the lever cap screw. The junior jack (5 1/4) is probably just fine based on its overall condition. It doesn't have the "sat in an unheated barn and got condensation on it" look like the Bedrock. Main concern here is if the tote was fixed well, and to check for damage in case the tote broke because the plane was dropped.

    For both, check that they all come apart completely, that there are no cracks, especially by the mouth, and that the blade isn't too pitted to to clean up and sharpen.

    Whether they are worth trading for you will depend on how much you value what you are trading to them. I don't have a junior jack, but I would pick one up if the price was right. Only because they look kind of neat though, I don't think they are that useful of a plane.

    From a plane acquisition perspective, if it was me, and remember this is just me, I would pass on the Bedrock. I like #3 planes, but I don't have any special attractions for Bedrock planes, and better Baileys #3s are pretty easy to find. The junior jack is also easy to find in better condition. Neither are probably worth $70 each as users.

    That said, if I had a big heavy chunk of something that I wanted out of the shop quick, I'd trade for these if the Bedrock really does come apart and the junior jack isn't cracked. I know I have a 3 phase parts Unisaw sitting in my way in the shop that I would probably let go of for 4 or 5 decent planes in a heartbeat.
    Last edited by Andrew Seemann; 02-16-2019 at 2:17 PM.

  6. #6
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    FWIW, I wish I had said this in my initial response. I should qualify my recommendation that I've never used a smoother the size of a No. 3. Some writer re-popularized them a couple years ago. I have no idea thier utility or value. I'd have to really want a No. 3 to get the 603.

  7. #7
    I'd probably do the trade. When you receive them take them apart and put the metal parts in de-rust solution (Evaporust) overnight. That should clean them up pretty good. You can sand the knob and tote. Check if the blade is badly pitted, and if so, you can replace it with a modern iron.

    I have a 5 1/4 and use it a fair amount.

    If the 603 cleans up really nicely, you might get $100, or more, for it on eBay.

    Mike
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  8. #8
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    Condition, condition, condition. The 5 1/4C is fairly rare and would appeal to the collector market--as long as the cheeks are not cracked as Jim pointed out. The 603 could be a nice user and yes, that's not the correct lever cap. So, definitely worth the trade, conditional on no cracks.

  9. #9
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    I wouldn't worry about cracked totes - they are easy and quick to repair. My only concern would be any breaks in the castings or frogs. Rust is no issue so long as it isn't too bad - I've restored a lot of planes and none were ever so rusted that they couldn't be sorted out. As for value even at $120 and $30 for shipping I think you are making out pretty ok, as the 5 1/4 is fairly uncommon, and the 603 could go for $100 or more itself.

  10. #10
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    A lot of good sound advice guys thank you. My bad for not making it clear that this trade will take place via the internet. I won't be able to see or touch these planes until they arrive at my house. By then it's too late to say I change my mind. I have a good Stanley #3 user type 11 that I like and would probably stay my user. The belt guard is sitting on a shelf and of no use to me. I went the trade route out of curiosity. I've picked up quite a few (for me) Stanley planes over the last 8 or 9 months. The 5-1/4 and 603 are starting to be more about collecting than using. I honestly am not sure I want to be a collector. If I could clean them up a bit and sell them down the road for a bit more than I have in the guard that would be great. If I just come close to breaking even that's fine as well. If I use them and don't break even that's fine.

    I'll ask about the 5-1/4 having any cracks in the sides. For what it's worth I've picked up 2 other Stanley #3 just in the last week. Keeping the 603 would just be about collecting and I took a look in the big auction site and they appear to sell for $50-$70 there. I am not going there at that price.

    Thanks! I'll let y'all know if I make the trade and how they turn out.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Manning View Post
    A lot of good sound advice guys thank you. My bad for not making it clear that this trade will take place via the internet. I won't be able to see or touch these planes until they arrive at my house. By then it's too late to say I change my mind. I have a good Stanley #3 user type 11 that I like and would probably stay my user. The belt guard is sitting on a shelf and of no use to me. I went the trade route out of curiosity. I've picked up quite a few (for me) Stanley planes over the last 8 or 9 months. The 5-1/4 and 603 are starting to be more about collecting than using. I honestly am not sure I want to be a collector. If I could clean them up a bit and sell them down the road for a bit more than I have in the guard that would be great. If I just come close to breaking even that's fine as well. If I use them and don't break even that's fine.

    I'll ask about the 5-1/4 having any cracks in the sides. For what it's worth I've picked up 2 other Stanley #3 just in the last week. Keeping the 603 would just be about collecting and I took a look in the big auction site and they appear to sell for $50-$70 there. I am not going there at that price.

    Thanks! I'll let y'all know if I make the trade and how they turn out.
    I think you're under pricing yourself on that 603. There are two versions of Bedrock planes, round sides and flat top. The round side planes are less expensive. I looked on eBay and don't see any 603 flat tops for less than $100 - but maybe I didn't search hard enough. Even the Keen Kutter K3 (similar to a round side Bedrock) is $100.

    If you use a #3, the Bedrock might be a nice plane to use. I don't use a number 3 plane, although I have a couple of Stanley Baileys.

    Mike
    Last edited by Mike Henderson; 02-16-2019 at 8:22 PM.
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  12. #12
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    Mike,

    I have written a response twice, and it disappeared into the either twice. So I will write short sections and save it each time, so until I am finished, there will be some incomplete blurbs. I will also shorten what I write.

    There is not enough shown to tell whether the Bed Rock is a type 5, one of the type 6s, or a type 7 (1923-6.) It looks like it has the smaller diameter brass verticle adjuster knob, if so it is likely a type 5 (1911.) If it has only one date behind the frog it is likely a type 7. If it is a type 7, then the lever cap on the Bailey is the correct one for a type 7 bedrock, and if the vertical adjuster on the Bailey is the large one, it could be swapped out with the small one on the Bed Rock (if that is what it has), and you would have a #7 that is correct to type. If the iron on the Bailey is not pitted and the one on the Bed Rock is, I would also swap out the iron, and probably the chip breaker. Same thing with the tote, if the Bailey has a better one, assuming they are the same physical shape, and this is not always the case.

    You could then put the remaining parts back on the cracked Bailey, and have a beater plane for rough use. Even with the crack it might hold up for a long time. I think the Bailey is a type 14 (1929-30.)

    A couple of thoughts, if the back of the iron on the Bed Rock is pitted, you will need to replace it. You need to figure that into the cost, although if the one in the Bailey is good, you can swap it out.

    Ask the guy to take apart the Bed Rock and Bailey and check them to make sure EVERY machine screw is free and not frozen up. If any on the plane are frozen in, that is a deal breaker in my view, especially on the Bed Rock.

    If the Bailey body is cracked, then it can still be a "beater" user with the worst iron and other parts from both planes, but value wise the value dropped a great deal, and for all intents it's value is that of a "parts" plane. Not worth a lot.

    Once restored, the Bed Rock is absolutely a premium plane, one of the best bench planes ever made, but you will have to invest quite a few hours to get it that way. (Been there done that several times. Although some of the guys like Steven Newman can restore one in a fraction of the time it takes me.) That said, one of the Bailey planes from the golden age of Stanley planes, if correctly tuned up, will do every bit as well as the best Bed Rock.

    Finally, if you can't sell the belt gaurd, trading it may be the best option. However, if you can sell it, I would do that and invest the profit from the belt gaurd in something I want worse than the two planes. I do agree with one of the above posts, however. If you get the parts swapped out with the Bailey, all of the machine screws are free, you get the corrosion off the plane, and spruce it up a little, and fix the tote, it will be worth more than what you estimated. My guess, if you get it to a good user state, it aught to be worth a bit more than $100 on the auction site, and if you fix it up to where it looks really nice it should bring between $125 and $150. Again, it will depend a little on whether the parts from the Bailey will bring it "true to type" or not.

    Finally, as you can see from the above, you are taking a bit of a chance with the trade. It might be a good trade, but also depending on the condition of all of parts on both planes, if a few parts are not good, they may not be worth the $100. You never know until you have them in hand. Still if I could not sell the belt gaurd, I would go for the trade. It has to be said, however, that given the value you have assigned to the belt gaurd, and the cost of shipping it, I think the guy that wants to trade the planes (given their condition,) is getting the better of the trade.

    Stew
    Last edited by Stew Denton; 02-16-2019 at 10:58 PM.

  13. #13
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    Well, got some more pics and more info. There is a crack in the 5-1/4! Which sucks! The planes are as he got them at an auction. Both totes are cracked. The 5-1/4 has Apr 19-10 date and the 603 has 2 pat dates, APR 2-96 & APR 3-10 according to the owner. I included the additional pics for you guys to see.

    Stew I appreciate the comprehensive response. You raise some good points but given the above information regarding the crack in the 5-1/4 and investment required to get the 603 to where it would be a good collectible seller I told him I was going to have to pass on the offer.

    All Any additional thoughts are certainly appreciated if you think I'm making a mistake here or just comments in general.

    Thanks!


    pic1.jpgpic3.jpgpic4.jpgpic2.jpgpic5.jpg

  14. #14
    Good choice to pass on them. Unless you are really into repairing and restoring old planes, those probably aren't worth the effort. Some might say the Bedrock is worth fixing up, and it might be, but only if you like that sort of thing.

  15. #15
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    Mike,

    Based on the added information, I think the Bed Rock is a type 5 and the Bailey is a late type 13/early type 14, which would fall about 1928.

    For what it's worth, I think you probably made the right decision, and it is what I probably would have done if in your situation.

    There are guys who restore the old planes and sell them on the auction site. However, they can't be making much an hour for their labor, if they have to give what you would have in the two planes, and they are asking a reasonable price for the plane.

    If they can buy them for a song at a garage sale or flea market then they can make some money for their time, and if they are retired and have a lot of time on their hands, at least they can get a return for their time. I don't begrudge the prices they ask, if they are reasonable for the condition of the plane (many aren't), because they are not making a killing for their time.

    Stew
    Last edited by Stew Denton; 02-17-2019 at 3:14 PM.

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