Sunday, December 23, 2012

Seldon Bailey No 5 Patent Plane

If you've been following along, you know I managed to pick up an unusual metal hand-plane at a local yard sale. I posted about this in my last blog post, however for convenience here are a few images:

Group of Items found 2012.10.06
Plane as found
I only had a few facts to go on:
  1. The plane body is unmarked
  2. Tote and knob are both rosewood
  3. The blade adjuster has an unusual raising feature.
  4. There's an extra cap which is secured via a cam-lock lever
  5. The blade is marked "Bailey Tool Co" in an arch across the cutter, with a medieval looking axe and Patent 1871 beneath.
Knob view

In any case, I posted the images above to the old tool group to see if I could fine out any more info. I suspected from my own searches that this plane was an early Leonard Bailey plane. I received a couple of replies identifying the plane but the best answer I received was from tool collector Josh Clark who wrote:
Yup, it's a Bailey Tool Co. jack plane all correct and proper and actually in not too bad condition. This plane was made in Woodsocket, RI by Seldon Bailey & Co., not Leonard, though Leonard did get involved at some point ca. 1878 and the whole thing gets confusing. You can see the various patents for the plane here:  If you have an interest in mechanical stuff, the blade adjusting mechanism is really cool- it's a work drive that has a very very fine adjustment tolerance, much finer than a standard Stanley plane. Cool stuff. Nice find.
So this blog post is basically about taking some detailed photos and getting them online (I found one photo of a similar plane, a number 4, that was shown on a For Sale page but marked as sold).

I very carefully dissembled the plane to give it a good cleaning, using only mineral spirits:

Here are some details shots of the blade adjusting mechanism:

And here's a short video of the way it works:

The other unusual feature of the plane is the cam-lock mechanism:

And here's another short video showing how it works:

Additional photos of the cleaned plane:

I received a suggestion from Josh that I might want to repair the tote (it had been badly glued together at the crack at some point and the rod would hardly pass the off-set). I undertook to use something that was reversible, in case at some point someone wanted to do a different repair, so I used a black super glue I found online, reasoning that a bit of acetone would break the repair if necessary.

I did just a little light sanding then added some shellac to approximate the sheen on the knob. Here are photos of the completed plane with just a little more cleaning an a light coat of paste wax:

That's about it. I hope I've managed to add to the knowledge-pool regarding the Seldon Bailey plane.

Here's a site that shows images of other Seldon Bailey planes (sold):

And here's some additional info from the Old Tools Archive:

Thanks! John

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