Friday, April 18, 2014

Treasure Found...Bailey No. 7 Jointer Plane

A young couple recently started a business in beautiful downtown Remer called the Rusty Bucket. I guess it's kind of an antique shop, art gallery and curio shop. My friend Mike welded together a 15 foot long fish sculpture out of old bicycle parts that he sold there for a respectable piece of change. I'd been meaning to stop by and check the place out. Hearing their ad on KAXE reminded me to do just that next time I was in town.

I introduced myself to the proprietors and strolled around looking things over when I spied a couple of old woodworking planes. They fell out of favor when power tools showed up but everything old becomes new again and now many woodworkers seek them out to use or just collect. As I reached through the clutter to grab one of the planes I sent the contents of a nearby shelf crashing to the floor. I picked everything back up and tried to put it all back where it was and then I sent another load to the floor. I was seriously embarrassed but the owner Scott kindly laughed it off. Fortunately nothing was broken.

Well I didn't really want to buy an old plane that needs some TLC but after my thrash-about I decided it was the least I could do. So I looked the planes over and chose the Bailey No. 7 jointer plane. Jointer planes are big long affairs used for straightening the edges of boards, a process known as jointing. There is a schematic out there to determining the age and quality of old Stanley Bailey planes based on the location of patent dates and other tell-tale signs but I did not have that information with me. This plane was a little rusty and obviously heavily used but the blade was sharp and the blade depth adjustment nut worked smoothly. The rosewood tote, while slightly chipped was still in tact and the knob looked to be in good shape too. So I grabbed it and carefully walked to the register and paid for it without further incident.

I got back to the ranch and looked up the Stanley Plane Dating Flowchart. As I worked my way through the flowchart I learned that my plane was a Type 12, which means it was made between 1919 and 1924 and was the first of the Stanley "Sweetheart" planes that are known for high quality materials and workmanship. Stanley has reintroduced the Sweetheart brand for planes it makes and sells today but collectors feel they are not the same at all. I'm very happy to have this plane. I paid a fair price, I did not walk away with the bargain of the century but I did get a great old plane that I can't wait to clean up and put back to work. I just hope Scott and Kara will allow me back into the shop.

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