Restoring a Number 7 Bailey Jointer Plane #1: Patient Intake

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Blog entry by MrFid posted 07-24-2013 08:49 PM 4632 reads 2 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Restoring a Number 7 Bailey Jointer Plane series Part 2: Disassembly and electrolysis »

First blog entry on LJs. I have restored two other planes before this one (both Bailey No. 5s… one for use as a jack, one for use as a scrub), but this one will definitely be the best documented. Here goes. FYI I am done with this restoration and will be adding entries in chronological order as time permits. Truthfully, I’ll try to sneak in an entry between entertaining my 7-month-old.

While browsing the Craiger, I came across a sale for a bunch of stuff (none of which I needed). Naturally, I clicked on the link (who wouldn’t?), and at the bottom of the listing was something like this line: ”Some old, rusty handplanes… $1 apiece”. No pictures, no other description, nothing. JACKPOT!!! I email the guy asking what type of handplanes he has, not expecting a coherent answer in the slightest. The guy writes back: ”Bailey No 7 and a No 5 with no markings other than size.” Well, haven’t I been pineing (pining?) for a Bailey No 7? Doesn’t this guy live in the next town over? Couldn’t I meet him tomorrow to take it off his hands? Cue the hallelujah chorus.

That night, I am not kidding, I had a nightmare that he sold it to someone the next day before I could get there. I awoke in a cold sweat. I checked my email just to be sure there wasn’t a Dear John letter in it from the guy. Thank God, safe and sound. I resolve to be 5 minutes early to the guy’s house due to this bad omen. I worried that maybe he had meant $10 or $100 and that maybe he had made a typo in the listing.

The day of reckoning arrives, and I commute to this man’s house. When I got there, we actually had a nice conversation about his work. He had been a shipwright, and this plane had been his grandfather’s. He had neglected it, and didn’t seem to know much about wood planes. He certainly had never used it.

Okay, you’ve waited long enough. Here’s the grand reveal:

I paid him a dollar, and gave him two more for a small spokeshave he gave me, and left. I considered buckling the No 7 up for the drive home.

Here are a few more pictures, then I’ll give my thoughts on the plane at the start.

So there it is. A couple things:

1. The frog is missing the lateral adjustment lever. In fact, the top of the frog looks broken off. Will have to be dealt with.

2. The patents (2) stamped in the bed are from 02. I’ll safely assume 1902. In 1802 we were still cro-magnons and in 2002 who uses handplanes anymore what with the iPhone app that does it? A little research determines that I have a Type 9. Maybe this thing is worth $1000 as a collector, but I don’t care. I also doubt it. This is meant for shop use as my shop is too small for a power jointer. Maybe next house will have a bigger basement.

3. Top of tote is broken off, but would still be useable in a pinch.

4. Bottom has potential to be pitted. Ruh-roh. Not too badly though hopefully.

That’ll do it for the first part of this blog series. I hope you follow along with me as I go through making this a user again. Maybe someone will find something useful in my ramblings. Until next time!

Bailey (why do you think I am hoping for a collection of Baileys?)

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

8 comments so far

View Don W's profile

Don W

19896 posts in 3581 days

#1 posted 07-24-2013 10:02 PM

A dollar and a dream?

Excellent find. Not bad for a dollar.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Dwain's profile


622 posts in 4873 days

#2 posted 07-24-2013 10:30 PM

Looks like a cool project. Check e bay for frog parts. I am sure you can find what you need. A replacement tote shouldn’t be too hard to make. As a matter of fact, you could really personalize that thing by making a tote and knob out of something different, Please keep us informed of your progress!

-- When you earnestly believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling your efforts, there is no end to what you CAN'T do

View rfusca's profile


155 posts in 2857 days

#3 posted 07-25-2013 03:40 AM

Pitted on the bottom really shouldn’t hurt performance, just looks. Great find for a dollar!

-- Chris S., North Atlanta, GA - woodworker,DBA, cook, photographer

View NoLongerHere's profile


893 posts in 3690 days

#4 posted 07-25-2013 12:56 PM

How can you go wrong for a buck?

Unfortunately, these planes aren’t as rare as you would think. The market is soft right now but they’re definitely going up in value and a fun investment.

You could buy one on E Bay, a No. 7, type 9+ that’s been completely refurbished for about 100 to 200.00 from a pro finisher. Of course you will pay more if it has the sticker on the original handle and has 99% of the japanning.

Why do they still call it japanning? I thought it was some magic chineeze secret formula until someone told me it’s just high gloss lacquer.

I recently paid 280.00 for a no# 2 but it was mint with the original box. Otherwise, they go for 125 – 200.00. which is still hard to believe. These are E Bay prices mind you.

Your situation is quite common – do I spend 39.00 for a sweet set of rosewood replacement knobs or do I spend 16 hours trying to figure out how to make one poorly? (the first one)

Is it worth spending around 12 to 18.00 for a frog plus 8.00 in shipping or just paint the one you have and look for another plane that is in better shape? Damn that shipping costs!.... especially on small items.

Once you get it cleaned up, if I were a to take a guess what it might be worth?.....68 to 75.00 with same frog and a new tote. Just a guess, I’m curious if others would agree.

View NoLongerHere's profile


893 posts in 3690 days

#5 posted 07-25-2013 01:38 PM

BTW – My estimate is based on a 4 month sabbatical/ E bay spending spree last winter where I purchased over 50 planes, numerous measuring tools and several levels, All antiques, mostly Stanley.

I discovered the best way to learn the values is to search for that tool and put anything of interest on your watch list. Then go back and see what they sold for. You start to recognize what the values are and what to look for.

Be aware, I didn’t plan on spending all that time on EBay, it’s addicting! Ha! Hey, I call it an investment and I found stuff I’ve never seen at a garage sale or a flee market.

The best thing was, I spent hours online studying the history of Stanley which led to the study of other tools as well. It’s a fascinating story, especially when you learn why Bailey is written on the front of a Stanley plane, what the SW in the heart on the blade is all about (my favorite collectable time period) and begin to see how Stanley consumed smaller companies/ designs, which brought us the No. 55., The no. 18 Excelsior, the 289, the transitionals, and the Union brand made by prisoners…. so many others. It’s just like that mini series: The men who built America. A worthwhile read.

Can’t wait to see it finished!

View Mark E.'s profile

Mark E.

387 posts in 4756 days

#6 posted 07-25-2013 02:09 PM

Looking forward to your step by step.

I am on a similar journey. Trying to breath new life into old planes. Lot’s of fun, at times.

-- Mark

View MrFid's profile


908 posts in 2918 days

#7 posted 07-25-2013 02:45 PM

Thank you all for the comments. 2 Marks commenting back to back! To Mark (Reedwood) thanks for the advice on pricing. I wasn’t thinking it would be worth too much, and I have spent a little time looking into Blood and Gore myself (why did he call it that?). For me, half the fun is in making something that wasn’t useable back into a worker, the other half is in thinking about the history. The third half of the fun, of course, is using the thing to plane a piece of wood.

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View Douglas's profile


424 posts in 3574 days

#8 posted 07-25-2013 03:03 PM

Bailey, I enjoy saving old planes too, and turning them into workers. Looking forward to more posts. It may just be the camera angle, but it looks like the iron and the chip breaker are both bent! You have a lot of work ahead.

-- Douglas in Chicago -

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