My Stanley Bailey #5 rear handle is bent

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    Topic
  • #442096
    Zdenko Tudor
    Participant

    Hi everyone!

    I started with this woodworking endeavour last August, following Mr. Sellers guidance, and so far it is going well and I am loving it. Yesterday however I received a #5 from ebay, which in total put me back 70EUR (shipping + import take over half of that), and was dissmayed to find the handle bent sideways. If this is actually bent or poorly cut I do not know. Now i wish to know if this is something I should address immediately or is this OK (see photo). I am assuming that this bend in the handle is going to make it that much more difficult for me to feel through the plane for what is straight and perpendicular, for squaring things off. Any ideas or suggestions?

    PS: The bend in the handle is towards the right and you can best see it by referencing the cutting iron above it.

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Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 15 total)
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  • #442125
    Ed
    Participant

    @ed

    I don’t think this will matter. Is the handle wobbly? If you look at the top of the tote/handle, you’ll see the head of what appears to be a bolt. This holds the tote onto the plane. If you unscrew it, you’ll find that the tote is skewered by a long threaded rod. You may find that gently, but firmly, tightening this “bolt” will take care of everything. Or, you may find that the handle has shrunk over time and is loose to a degree that cannot be accommodated by the original rod and thread. You can put a bit of shelf liner under the tote to take up some room and reduce future loosening. Paul discussed this (and totes in general) in his blog. Or, you may find that, for some reason, the handle is just cockeyed even when tight. That could be because the base of the tote isn’t square or the rod is bent. You could square that up, but if you have any sense of unease, then I’d just use the plane as it is until you decide you are comfortable modifying it. I really doubt the tilt at that level will matter.

    Does the metal sole all look sound (no cracks, no blobs of weld, etc.)?

    #442167
    Zdenko Tudor
    Participant

    @zdenkotudor

    Thank you for the answer Ed.

    The sole does look sound, as I verified from the pictures on ebay prepurchase.

    I have seen Sellers’ videos on plane restoration and i am aware of the wobble and that i can also file down the rod holding it down. This is not the case, it sits well however there is the bend that I mention. Also, since we are discussing the rod as well, I am not sure how to undo the rod, because unscrewing it from the top only removed the top screw, while the rod itself is still conneted to the plane, any suggestion? I am afraid to damage the screw if I go at it with a pair of plyers :).

    Thanks again,
    Zdenko

    #442168
    Ed
    Participant

    @ed

    If the rod is tight and the right length, then there’s no need to remove it. If the rod is bent, a little gentle pressure would straighten it without removing it from the sole. I haven’t had to deal with this repair, so I’m only guessing, but my guess is that the rod just adds tension and whether the tote is perpendicular or not is determined by the shape of the tote. So, if you just place the tote down a table and compare it with a square, does it sit perpendicular on the table?

    If you do decide to grab the rod with pliers, grab in the middle where you never actually use the thread, but these stupid things loosen up frequently, so if yours is tight, I’d avoid loosening it without good reason.

    #442186
    Zdenko Tudor
    Participant

    @zdenkotudor

    The problem is that I cannot examine the handle properly without removing it, and it does not come off before the rod is out. Thus I cannot grip the rod anywhere else besides throught the scre hole at the top.

    #442209
    Ed
    Participant

    @ed

    I would stop until someone else has an idea. You should be able to slide the tote off of the rod once you’ve unscrewed the brass nut at the top. If you try to grab the exposed threads, you will have trouble reassembling.

    #442219
    Zdenko Tudor
    Participant

    @zdenkotudor

    I was actually able to reach the rod (outside the threads) from underneath and rotate it, so this is now solved, though I am would still like another opinion on whether working with a plan with a bent rear handle will train my hand-eye coordination wrongly, such that on a straight handle i would constantly be planing everything out of square 🙂

    (I do have a #4 with a straight handle, so this will luckily not be my very first plane experiance)

    #442254
    David B
    Participant

    @dbockel2

    I’m not sure I understand why you are not able to simply unscrew the brass nut and slide the tote off to inspect the rod. The handle is wood and shouldn’t really “bend”—I’d think it is just an issue with the rod (unless somehow the rod-hole in the tote was drilled at an angle (which would indicate that it is not the original tote, but something someone tried to make).

    As a matter of good practice, whenever I order a plane from ebay or anywhere else, I completely disassemble it to inspect every single component. If you haven’t done that with your plane, I would highly advise doing so as you may find other flaws or imperfections. Or you may find a very simple solution. But before you can determine the root of the problem, you should take everything apart and inspect it.

    #442321
    Zdenko Tudor
    Participant

    @zdenkotudor

    I was afraid to tug at it too much when it didnt come off, thinking that maybe the rod widened at the top, but having solved this i assume the washer has just grown stuck.

    Anyhow, certainly i will take the whole thing apart and adress whatever i can. I am now attaching a photo of the handle up against a square.

    From what you write David I am forces to conclude that this handle was “homemade”

    Attachments:
    #442361
    Derek Long
    Participant

    @delong1974

    Perhaps you can just plane the seat of the tote square and call it good if the rod isn’t bent.

    Derek Long
    Denver, Colorado

    #442406
    David B
    Participant

    @dbockel2

    I can’t tell too much from that photo b/c your tote is leaning but so is the square you’re using. I agree with Derek though–if it is an issue of the bottom of the tote not being square to the rest of it, perhaps you can micro-adjust the base with a plane or pare it slightly with a chisel. Also–just curious–is the tote really crooked or is it possibly just not seated straight (i.e. slightly crooked)? Do you have a tote from another plane you could put on there just to confirm it’s an issue with the tote and not the plane or rod?

    #442474
    Ed
    Participant

    @ed

    Remember, if the tote tapers from bottom to top, it may appear as if the base is out of square.

    Let’s back up three steps, though. I really don’t think you need to worry about this. At least for me, I do not control the plane by twisting the tote. The tote is for pushing. The sole rides on the surface being planed, and the relationship between the blade and the sole, the shape of the blade, and set of the blade are really what determine how the edge changes. On occasion, I will need to change the squareness of an edge by something like twisting the tote, but I don’t do it by twisting the tote. I do it by applying thumb or finger pressure directly to the sole. More often, I move the plane laterally on the edge to take more or less off of here or there or to take advantage of a cambered blade.

    If you’re twisting the tote, I think you are “bulldogging” the plane, as Paul likes to say. Most of the time, you don’t even need to grip the tote, really, if you don’t want to. You can just make a “U” from your thumb and fingers and push on the tote (without gripping), a bit like a moulding plane.

    So, I really don’t think you need to get to bothered by this. If there are a bunch of #5’s on a bench, you’ll be able to pick yours out. That’s a feature rather than a flaw.

    #442578
    cragglerock
    Member

    @cragglerock

    Quite a few of my totes look like this, I think it’s just from years of use and being under tension from the screw. I don’t find it affects my planing at all.

    Regards

    Craig

    #447010
    Richard Guggemos
    Participant

    @rickgugg

    Late to the party, but a few more ideas.

    1) Ergonomically, that looks like it’s for a lefty. Try holding your hand as if on a tote, now twist first clockwise, then counter.

    I don’t think it will give you bad habits, but it may be uncomfortable.

    2) It may be damaged in a way that leads to future breakage. Totes are ATMO poorly engineered, which is why we see so many broken. There are three areas for your concern:
    – Does the bottom of the tote engage the base fully?
    – Is the rod bent, and if so has this weakened the rod?
    – Are the (female) threads in the base damaged?
    Any of these conditions will lead to motion in the tote under use. This is annoying and may lead to more catastrophic failure. So now is the time to address them.

    The good news is all can be repaired, and generally easily and for low cost. ATMO the expeditious approach is as followes:
    1 Remove the tote even if it breaks (making an new tote is an easy job).
    2 Remove the rod from the base.
    3 Inspect how well the tote sits in the base without the rod. Is it straight and in full contact. Does the front nub of he base engage the tote to prevent twisting around a vertical axis? If you are good here, set the tote aside for reinstallation later.
    4 Inspect the rod. Are the threads good (both ends)? Is it straight. If it’s bent, you can try straightening the rod. Remove the top cap, hold the rod with a vice grips on a hard surface with the bend up, and tap to straight. Check closely that the rod hasn’t developed cracks at the site of the bend. If you’re still good, put it aside for reuse.
    5 If the threads are damaged on the rod, you’d probably do best to purchase a replacement on eBay. Be sure you get one for your type (Bailey vs. Bedrock) of plane.
    6 If the threads in the base are shot, you’re in a more difficult situation. Most of us don’t possess a machine shop, don’t have the proper taps, nor the setup to guide a tap at the proper angle into the base. FWIW, I think this rod happens to have Whitworth threads (bench planes were made with a crazy combination of standards). Moreover, it’s likely that additional material should be brazed in prior to retapping.

    If the plane is a worker rather than collectible, you may have a much easier alternative.

    I have a war-era #4 which won’t hold the rod. I tried epoxy in he threads with a new rod (good threads) but it won’t hold up to ash or oak. Understand that all of your muscle is transferred through that thread to the plane.

    What has worked for this plane is a bit ugly.

    File or chip any loose paint from the base under and around the tote.
    Mix up some slow setting epoxy (30 minutes or longer). Thicken it up with micro balloons or baking soda to the consistency of peanut butter. Apply to the bottom of the tote, including into the depression that receives the nub on the base. Put epoxy in the threaded hole in the base. Mount the tote and do your best to thread in the rod. Take the remaining epoxy and make a fillet between the base and the bottom of the tote. The end of a popsicle stick is good for forming the fillet. You can clean the excess with a paper towel soaked in rubbing alcohol, if you like. Let this set for a day or two. The tote should now remain firmly in place at least until the tote itself breaks (dropped on the floor or whatever).

    Hope this helps you or someone else with a challenged tote.

    Rick

    #447540
    Zdenko Tudor
    Participant

    @zdenkotudor

    I didnt know what to reply because I felt that either my ability to check for square was doubted or I needed to try it out a bit first, which now I have.

    I touched the bottom just a bit and corrected the sideways tilt by a 1-2 mm which does make a difference. However the handle does wiggle from side to side, with the origo of rotation in the front screw. This side to side action of the handlde happens while the top screw of the rod stays in place and does not shift. My first thought was that maybe the hole for the rod is too wide?

    Richard, to what you are saying, yes, bad habits was exactly what I was asking about, given that I am a novice. And now to your questions: I have not expected the threads on the receving side of the rod (the base), and I am not even sure how to do this. I know that the rod itself had a wobble to it when slightly screwed, but i have not yet screwed it fully without the handle to see how it connects. The rod itself is not bent. And do you have any suggestions on how to check how well the handle engages the base? Is it just by eyeing it? There might be some discrepancy here, which may account of the wobble I am experiencing, but just eying it didnt tell me anything specific.

    PS: Oh, and thank you for such an in depth answer!
    PPS: Filing down the rod in the handle didnt seem to make any difference in the wiggle.
    PPPS: This is definitely a worker and not a collectible, so function is primary concern.

    #460420
    Rick Gatewood
    Participant

    @rickg3

    I have a number seven that had a loose tote. The rod threaded in tight but it was too long. After repeated grinding and checking, I got the rod to a length where the tote does not wiggle anymore.

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