It’s rare that I feel macho up north. By Maine’s rugged standards, I’m a delicate flower with silky smooth hands and a peppy foreign car. But you mustn’t judge a woodworker by his wheels. The surest test is to dive into his toolbox.
It was in that spirit that I finally tuned up a Bailey #4 hand plane that had remained untouched under my bench for weeks. Using a nifty online “plane dating flowchart” I determined that the rusty $25 flea market find was manufactured between 1899 and 1902. Fortunately, with Bailey planes, the older they are, the better they shear.
After sanding the sole flat with 100 grit paper (2 hours), sharpening the dull, chinked blade (1 hour), squaring the frog with a file (1/2 hour) and epoxying the handle flush with the base (1/2 hour), I had acquired the woodworker’s Holy Grail: a hand plane I could trust. What’s more, after taking apart and refitting the plane for four hours, I felt like a manly craftsman. Now if I could only find a decent hair salon up here.