My First Stanley Bailey No.4 Smoothing Plane (Semi-Restored)

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Doug posted 01-27-2022 02:17 AM 1567 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hello, all you who cruise through LumJo land.

If you care to read it, I’ll tell you a story. A semi-restoration story.

It just so happened, that, one day when I was at one of my favorite “antique” stores that I came across this Stanley Bailey No. 4 smoothing plane.

It was mixed in with a batch of hand planes that looked like they’d been used and abused for a long time. Curiosity got the better of and so I had a closer look.

It too had signs of a lot of use. In my estimation it didn’t look to bad and so I looked at the price tag. I just about fell over.

Now some of you may say “That’s way too much for a Stanley Bailey No. 4 smoothing plane!” You might be right. But, to me, it was a great price. I knew that I had some work ahead of me but I didn’t care. I had confidence in my abilities to make this plane do my bidding.

As with any restoration project the first thing to do is take it apart. I had to assess things to see what I had to work with and what needed the most attention.

I cleaned up the plane body and the frog with an old tooth brush and some soapy water.

I can live with a little bit of rust and some chipped japanning.

Looking at the plane iron I could see that the back was not flat.

Thus began the arduous task of flattening the back.

A little better

The best I can get it

The bevel of the iron was in dreadful shape

I began the reshaping process freehand before switching to my honing guide

You’ll have to forgive me but I don’t have a picture of the finished bevel. Suffice it to say that the bevel cleaned up nicely and the edge was razor sharp.

If you look at the first picture, you will see a crack in the handle towards the bottom.

I fixed this by, first, separating the parts of the handle.

Then I set the bottom part of the handle in place and applied some glue.

After this, I put the handle screw through the top part and got both parts aligned. I then tightened the screw which acted as a clamp to hold the two parts together as the glued dried.

I set this aside and turned my attention to the chip breaker. I could see a gap between the chip breaker and the back of the plane iron.

So, with some sandpaper and a flat surface, I started flattening the edge of the chip breaker.

Only the outside corners were resting on the plane iron

After some sanding the edge of the chip breaker flattened out nicely.

No more gap.

With all of this done I could now put it all back together.

First, the frog.

It needs to be moved forward with a few turns of the frog adjustment screw.

That’s better

Next, the tote and handle

Then, the plane iron and chip breaker

Finally, the lever cap

One more major thing to do, and that is to flatten the sole. Again with sandpaper and a flat surface

Really needs work

Getting better

That’s as much as I want to do. Would love to get all the pitting out. Oh well!

Everything is all done and now it’s time for a test run

Not bad for a first run

And so, this story comes to a close. This part of it anyway. For me and the Stanley Bailey No. 4, our story has just begun. I hope that we will have many more years together making whisker thin shavings. And who knows, maybe this story will continue through the lives of my children and grand children.

Thank you so much for you time. Go create stories of you own. Take care.

Watch the video here.

-- Doug

8 comments so far

View BurlyBob's profile


10498 posts in 3725 days

#1 posted 01-27-2022 03:53 AM

You done it right! That’s a great price for a #4 and everything you did was spot on.

View bandit571's profile


31892 posts in 4143 days

#2 posted 01-27-2022 04:22 AM

Looks good!

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View Doug's profile


1304 posts in 4220 days

#3 posted 01-27-2022 09:39 AM

BurlyBob – I’m glad I made the purchase

bandit571 – Thanks

-- Doug

View controlfreak's profile


3747 posts in 1061 days

#4 posted 01-29-2022 06:08 PM

Look nice, Nothing better than making a shaving with a new plane.

View Doug's profile


1304 posts in 4220 days

#5 posted 01-30-2022 01:26 AM

controlfreak – Thanks. I agree. It’s very satisfying when you can breath life back into a tool.

-- Doug

View mafe's profile


13872 posts in 4548 days

#6 posted 02-01-2022 01:26 PM

I will call this a love story.
The right prize is the one that we are happy with, it’s that easy, so it’s the right prize you payed.
Fine restore, I love that you kept a lot of the patina and previous life and impressive first shavings.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

View Doug's profile


1304 posts in 4220 days

#7 posted 02-01-2022 08:47 PM

Mads – Thanks. That means a lot coming from someone with your knowledge and experience. Thanks for reading.

-- Doug

View mafe's profile


13872 posts in 4548 days

#8 posted 02-02-2022 01:36 PM


-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics