Stanley Bailey #5 and stumbling through a restoration

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Forum topic by controlfreak posted 09-23-2019 02:11 PM 857 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View controlfreak's profile


219 posts in 114 days

09-23-2019 02:11 PM

Topic tags/keywords: stanley bailey 5 plane restoration

I started playing around in my shop Sunday and made my first dovetail joint. I needed a plane to cut back the pins and tails that I had intentionally left slightly proud. This made me sharpen the blade on my father’s Craftsman for the first time (never had ever used it). Since the wife was out of town I started eyeing a stanley Bailey #5 I had picked up at an estate sale for $25. I used a derusting liquid that I picked up at Lowes and it worked great. Here are some before and after pictures.

A few questions have come to mind. Should I take a flat surface like glass or granite to wet sand and do additional cleanup on the bottom and sides of the tote? Should I attempt to put red paint around the Stanley? I don’t have any reason to believe it was red before.

The tote is cracked and I plan on using epoxy to mend. Should I sand and epoxy the two pieces but leave a gap around the outer edges to place some wood filler in?

I don’t intend to sell this but make a usable tool in my shop but I guess I would kind of like it to be attractive too.

Thanks in advance for any comments or ideas.

16 replies so far

View Ocelot's profile


2356 posts in 3151 days

#1 posted 09-23-2019 02:49 PM

If the tote (handle) just broke, I would certainly not do anything to the broken surfaces. The more complete and unmodified they are, the better the glue joint you can get. Epoxy might be great, but titebond 3 will also work well, but it does not fill gaps. So, that’s why I would not alter the two surfaces.

Of course, you’ll want to de-rust the upper parts also

I would hold off on flattening the sole and cheeks until you find that they really aren’t flat and the plane doesn’t work well. If it planes, it’s good.

View ChefHDAN's profile


1460 posts in 3362 days

#2 posted 09-23-2019 02:52 PM

Its up to you how far down the rabbit hole you want to go. I went through a phase where I almost bought every plane I saw. I sold of the duplicates and ones I didn’t prize. The remaining ones I cleaned up sharpened and fixed any totes that needed fixing. As for the sole there are some different opinions as to how flat is really required and what part of the sole needs to be flat. For me, I happened to have a piece of granite from a kitchen refresh that was handy so I got the wet sand paper and went to town, and back, then back again, then again, then realized it was turning into some serious work/workout and decided that good and flat for most overall is good enough and some spots near heel &/or toe are fine. After all we’re cutting wood not machining steel.

Good Luck, there is very little as satisfying as running a sharp plane with a wicked curl coming off!

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View cmacnaughton's profile


103 posts in 157 days

#3 posted 09-23-2019 03:16 PM

I second Ocelot on the Titebond III to fix the tote. I used it on a Stanley #4 I picked up and it’s held up through repeated use.

-- –Chuck M. Nutmegger by choice

View controlfreak's profile


219 posts in 114 days

#4 posted 09-23-2019 04:58 PM

The tote handle I feel has been broken for awhile and has some wear so the parts don’t “mate” anymore. Upon close inspection I think I found some clear material that I was able to flick away so the former owner may have tried a glue repair before. That is why I was asking about the epoxy. Does epoxy need to soak into raw wood to “bond” or is okay to just use over whats there? Its not a perfect mate but will likely be better than sanding down the parts. I think it going to be epoxy or a new handle for this baby.

I may take one of my sharpening stones and see how the polish on the sole is affected after a few passes.

All parts were de-rusted but I have yet to polish the brass and refinish the handles. I will be repainting the interior of the tote black again.

View Andre's profile


2805 posts in 2319 days

#5 posted 09-23-2019 05:17 PM

As for the tote, brush it clean maybe even swab it with some DNA if there is any oil or wax?
I always flatten the sole and square one side so that plane cane be used on a shooting board.

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View Don W's profile

Don W

19341 posts in 3080 days

#6 posted 09-27-2019 09:45 AM

View controlfreak's profile


219 posts in 114 days

#7 posted 09-27-2019 01:37 PM

Thanks Don.

I have looked at so many videos and articles I couldn’t remember the best way to proceed. I ended up winging it with a four hour soak in the derusting liquid. I didn’t want overnight to avoid metal blackening. As you can see in the top pictures it came out well. Because I plan on using it I may just rehab the handle crack and refinish the knob and handle. I will repaint the interior of the plane and give the bare metal a rubdown with WD-40 and scotchbrite. One cool thing I found is the former owner stamped his initials in the side of the sole. I decided it wouldn’t be right to erase that. He has left this world but his memory lives on in this plane.

The blade was in rough shape and although I produced an edge I was a bit off with my sharpening jig so it is not a true 90 deg. I can compensate with the adjustment lever but it bugs me. I plan on going to the glass company to get a sheet of glass to glue sandpaper to. I will then true up the blade and correct the many mis-sharpenings to produce a clean and true edge. Then it will be back to the wet stones and strop to finish. This will then land me straight into my next project. A shooting board.
Of course This means I need to build storage for my plane(s), sharpening stones & tools and the yet to be created shooting board. With all my shop projects I may never get to build any furniture. That’s okay, I have time.

View BurlyBob's profile


6516 posts in 2778 days

#8 posted 09-28-2019 01:41 AM

Before you spend any money on a piece of glass. Look around for a countertop shop that specializes in Quartz. They often have leftovers that they just toss in the garbage. Quartz is a manmade composite and is truly flat. I’ve got several pieces that I use for sharpening my chisels and plane irons. The cost was only my time and effort digging thru the trash for nice big long pieces. I use wet/dry sand paper and a spray adhesive. I’ve got grits up to 3000.

View corelz125's profile


858 posts in 1489 days

#9 posted 09-28-2019 02:54 AM

I agree with Bob get a piece of stone. Most of the time if there’s a stone fabricator near you there’s cut offs in the dumpster.

View Andre's profile


2805 posts in 2319 days

#10 posted 09-28-2019 06:43 PM

I use Water stones to sharpen, put to flatten plane soles and chisel backs I use self adhisive sand paper 180 or 220 grit stuck onto the end of my jointer. You could also use your table saw top as well? Any autobody supply store carries it even Lowes had it for awhile. I recommend you look into a Norton 1000/8000 combination stone foe sharpening, cheap and works great, still have the one I bought many years ago but still useable! You need at least 4000 to get sharp and 8000+ to polish.
Have gone through all the tricks except the sandpaper route to sharpen and each has their pro’s and con’s, practice and experience will decide for you. IMHO! I always come back to the Water stones.

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View bandit571's profile


23803 posts in 3196 days

#11 posted 09-28-2019 08:54 PM


Chip breaker..

600 grit Medium India stone…then..

A little oil on the stone, to keep the papers in place, 1,000 grit to 2500 grit…I use the rag to keep the iron clean…

Then a strop is used…along with the “Green Stick” ....chipbreaker was also polished on the strop…

Checked for any gaps….then install the chipbreaker about 2mm back from the edge. And, go to work..

Nothing fancy..

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

View OSU55's profile


2408 posts in 2502 days

#12 posted 09-29-2019 12:28 PM

Blog for hand plane tuning

View bigJohninvegas's profile


683 posts in 1975 days

#13 posted 09-29-2019 05:21 PM

I too have a #5 I am doing a restoration on. It also has a bad tote on it that a previous owner has tried to glue.
For me it is time to replace it. I was going to build a new one. and I may yet do that. But just yesterday I scored another #5 that has a broken frog, but good knob and tote. So for now I think I’ll just use it and see how I like it.
I did find plans to build your own tote on lee valleys web site. Here is the link. If the glue, epoxy repair does not work out for you.,46168

Also I had a bad cap iron. And because I am using this plane, and more interested in performance and not how authentic the parts are. I bought the cap iron and blade from lee valley too.,41182

Good luck

-- John

View bandit571's profile


23803 posts in 3196 days

#14 posted 09-29-2019 05:28 PM

Have to watch out on those after-market irons and chipbreakers….as the tab for the adjustor has to reach through the iron, and engage the chipbreakers slot…..a tab that was designed for the thinner Stanley, Millers Falls, Sargent irons…

Some are too thick for the tab to reach through..

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

View Tim's profile


3859 posts in 2474 days

#15 posted 09-30-2019 08:28 PM

Like Ocelot said, check to see if the sole is flat already. If it’s close it’s probably fine for a #5. If you later find it isn’t working well then you can spend the time to flatten it. Personally I prefer a coarse file to sandpaper. It takes some skill to flatten something with a file, but it was a skill I was happy to start to learn. It came out well.

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