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Thread: Diagnosing a no. 4 1/2 Bailey Stanley from the 80s

  1. #1
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    Diagnosing a no. 4 1/2 Bailey Stanley from the 80s

    Hi all, a while ago I got a vintage Stanley Bailey 4 1/2 made in the uk.

    My best guess is itís from the 80s.

    Iíve e been struggling with it and wanted to ask some advice.

    My first issue was crazy chatter. I fixed it when I realized that by advancing the frog, it no longer had the support of the rear wall of the mouth. Now I have a wider mouth and much less chatter. Itís still giving me a hard time. Iíll advance the blade mid push stroke and get nothing out of it until all of a sudden it gouges the wood. No in between.
    the blade is sharp enough to shave with, and the cap iron fits well and close to the edge

    my second issue is backlash, I feel like I need to make 3 turns of the adjuster screw to actually get something out of the blade.

    I am no expert here, but I do know how to plane reasonably well on my LNs 4 and 8. I know I canít expect it to be tuned to that level but I would like to get a decent shaving out of the thing.

    any advice would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Not sure if I recall correctly but think David Weaver mentioned this on another plane video or thread.
    Would have been better to get that one to you instead of the more recent video he made which I suggested earlier.
    https://youtu.be/1q1H7zdTfyk

    I think it might have been an issue with the yoke or the slot.

    Tom

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    It’s still giving me a hard time. I’ll advance the blade mid push stroke and get nothing out of it until all of a sudden it gouges the wood. No in between.
    the blade is sharp enough to shave with, and the cap iron fits well and close to the edge
    This sounds like the plane's sole is concave from front to back. Have you checked the sole with a straight edge. One check of this is to try setting the blade with a small scrap of wood, like one or two inches. Then see if it takes a shaving on a longer piece. If not, try pressing down on the plane above the blade. If it engages then, you have a concave sole that needs to be corrected.

    my second issue is backlash, I feel like I need to make 3 turns of the adjuster screw to actually get something out of the blade.
    This is pretty much normal with Stanley planes. Sometimes the adjuster wheel is worn from having the lever cap too tight. This is common and something to which one has to become accustomed.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

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    Iím not sure how advancing the frog would give you a wider mouth. You need a narrow mouth. The gap between the blade and the front of the opening should be small to resist pulling of the grain and digging in. That can cause chatter. Also check the blade beds on the frog properly, if not it the frog needs flattening. The screw backlash is normal. Part of fixing things is changing things and see what helps, or not.
    ​You can do a lot with very little! You can do a little more with a lot!

  5. #5
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    OK.......ah...nope...

    There is a little ramp at the back of the mouth opening.....designed by Leonard Bailey himself.....The face of the frog is supposed to be co-plannar with the face of that ramp....NOT hanging out in the middle of nowhere, trying to do what it longer can...that little ramp provides enough support to prevent the edge of the iron from vibrating and causing chatter. Anti-tear-out comes from the chipbreaker. close the mouth up like above....all you will get done is trying to un-clog the mouth opening.....shavings have no where else to go.

    The reason Bailey went with a thinner iron.....he figured the chipbreaker would combine with the thin iron to form a thick piece.....learn to use the chipbreaker the way it was intended.

    Have seen way too many BADLY sharpened iron....oh, they were indeed sharp, looked good and mirror bright.....until you placed a square across right behind the edge.....have seen a few like this..~, or like the camber was install..backwards. Once the edge is straight across and resharpened....THEN you can worry about adding a touch of camber to just the corners. Once THAT is done, set the iron into the plane


    Ok, next look right down the sole at the edge of the iron.....should be a straight line across.....NOW you can even see IF there is a hollow down the center of the sole. Usually this is a result of decades of wear down through there, trying to joint edges.

    BTW....have also seen quite a few planes that were set up....bevel up...with a chipbreaker........chipbreaker will usually slide forward, until one is trying to plane with just the chipbreaker....doesn't work very well, loads the plane up with loads of junk ......

    You might want to watch a Rex Krueger video....about a brand new LN No. 4.....that would NOT cut right out of the box....and see what was done to fix that....enlightening.

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    Thanks Steve. I can see why the back of the bottom opening would have to be co-planar with the frog, so you can use it back there. Mine has never been there, I move the frog so the blade is close to the front, with enough room for the breaker and shavings. I get much better results with a small opening. I only move it back for thick shavings in soft wood. Will try and find the video you mention. I have a Ďmoderní Stanley #4 that has never worked well despite a lot of fixing.
    ​You can do a lot with very little! You can do a little more with a lot!

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    Watched the video Steve. The only real tweak he made was to close up the mouth and move the frog forward, my point exactly!
    ​You can do a lot with very little! You can do a little more with a lot!

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    Quote Originally Posted by William Fretwell View Post
    Watched the video Steve. The only real tweak he made was to close up the mouth and move the frog forward, my point exactly!
    Don't forget the plane used in the video > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnV27QVLmzA < is a bedrock style plane. The geometry of how the frog seats on the plane's base allows the frog to support the blade closer to the work than on Bailey design planes.

    Rex Krueger has my agreement on an important point he makes at the end of the video. Being able to fettle an old plane found at a junk shop or an estate sale is an important part of the woodworking experience. It is how many have learned to identify problems old tool might have and then correcting them.

    jtk
    Last edited by Jim Koepke; 05-14-2021 at 2:59 PM.
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

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    I'd agree that the most likely problem is a concave sole if the symptoms are that advancing the blade slowly does nothing, until it suddenly takes a lot. This needs fixing first.

    You should try a plane before flattening the sole, and it doesn't need to be flat to a machinist's standards, but this one sounds like it needs help. Just go until it's not concave.

    Closing the mouth will only help while taking a thin shaving, so you need to do that first. And learning to set the cap iron can substitute for closing the mouth in many cases.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by steven c newman View Post
    The reason Bailey went with a thinner iron.....he figured the chipbreaker would combine with the thin iron to form a thick piece.....learn to use the chipbreaker the way it was intended.
    Chipbreaker is set 1/32 from edge - I filed it square (finished with water stones) and there is no light between it and the blade (its tight)

    Quote Originally Posted by steven c newman View Post
    Have seen way too many BADLY sharpened iron....oh, they were indeed sharp, looked good and mirror bright.....until you placed a square across right behind the edge.....have seen a few like this..~, or like the camber was install..backwards. Once the edge is straight across and resharpened....THEN you can worry about adding a touch of camber to just the corners. Once THAT is done, set the iron into the plane
    Blade is sharp and square - LN honing guide won't let me take it out of square

    Quote Originally Posted by steven c newman View Post
    Ok, next look right down the sole at the edge of the iron.....should be a straight line across.....NOW you can even see IF there is a hollow down the center of the sole. Usually this is a result of decades of wear down through there, trying to joint edges.
    there is a slight concave to the plane bottom - I am waiting on getting a good straight reference surface before I flatten the sole


    Quote Originally Posted by steven c newman View Post
    BTW....have also seen quite a few planes that were set up....bevel up...with a chipbreaker........chipbreaker will usually slide forward, until one is trying to plane with just the chipbreaker....doesn't work very well, loads the plane up with loads of junk ......
    I don't even know how to comment on this... short answer is that that isn't the problem

  11. #11
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    there is a slight concave to the plane bottom - I am waiting on getting a good straight reference surface before I flatten the sole
    Discovering this on a plane surprised me to learn the cast iron sole on a plane will flex a little. It seems when the blade finally touches the wood, it dives in and takes a thicker shaving. In some cases it catches, releases then repeats the cycle into a chattering hunk of iron.

    An SMC member brought me a #3 that had a convex sole. That was a nasty bugger to try and take a shaving before a bit of lapping.

    One does need to take care when lapping to not make a problem worse or to turn a perfectly good plane into a problem. Figure out what needs to be done, then constantly check to make sure that is all that is being done.

    jtk
    Last edited by Jim Koepke; 05-16-2021 at 1:46 PM. Reason: Changed wording from someone…
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  12. #12
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    I just picked a Stanley No. 4, Type 20 yesterday......$29 + Tax....
    Birthday Rust Hunt, Stanley #4, T-20.JPG
    Haven't started on it just yet.....Can already tell the iron is VERY dull. Have managed to get the Depth Adjuster wheel to move freely again.
    Birthday Rust Hunt, Stanley #4.JPG
    May have to work on the top of the front handle.....might need a few washers in there?

    At least it passed the 2 Finger Test....sole does sit flat on a table top. May give this plane a going over, and see IF the OP's problems show up.....may include a few picture along the way...

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    I'm including a picture of the planes sole against the light with a Starrett straight edge.
    do you guys thing that could be concave enough to cause the issues?
    WhatsApp Image 2021-05-16 at 23.58.29.jpeg

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Assaf Oppenheimer View Post
    I'm including a picture of the planes sole against the light with a Starrett straight edge.
    do you guys thing that could be concave enough to cause the issues?
    WhatsApp Image 2021-05-16 at 23.58.29.jpeg
    Yep.

    It looks like it may have a bit of a wave.

    This is the time to gather your assets.

    First would be if you know someone with or in a machine shop. They may have the equipment to turn the sole into a flat surface and at 90ļ to the sides. (having the sides at right angles to the base is good, but not essential.)

    If that is not an optionÖ

    Next would be if you have a flat reference surface and be willing to do the work yourself. This would be the ramp of a joiner or the top of a table saw.

    Here is how mine was found > https://sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?133080 < FYI monument makers are the people who carve grave markers.

    Here is the stand made for holding it > https://sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?134511 < It is made to a basic saw horse design.

    There are other sources of a solid flat surface.

    Then there is the technique. Sometimes it is advantageous to run the sole sideways down a thin strip. Avoid pressing down hard. It seems the right thing to do, but it may cause problems.

    Yours looks like it has a gap between the mouth area and the tail end with the toe above these. Care will be required to not rock the plane, removing metal from the toe that shouldn't be removed.

    Of course it is difficult to properly diagnose with one image. That is better done in person with a careful eye. It also needs to be done often. Cast iron wears off fast with fresh sandpaper. One also needs to remove the iron swarf from the sandpaper. Mine is removed with a magnet wrapped in paper on every other stroke. The removed iron piles up fast. That is why one needs to check often and to clean the abrasive often.

    If you are using a piece of equipment like a table saw you may want to clean up often with a shop vacuum to avoid getting the iron particles in the machine.

    jtk
    Last edited by Jim Koepke; 05-17-2021 at 12:29 AM. Reason: my typing turns saw into say ??? :eek:
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  15. #15
    Yes. That is bad. Convex can work if you hold it right and are just intent on smoothing. Concave is a problem.
    Last edited by Thomas Wilson; 05-16-2021 at 9:27 PM.

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