Woodworking Plane ; Stanley Bailey Planes
The next important tool to be considered is the plane. It is absolutely essential in the execution of every finished piece of work the amateur may essay; and the beauty of that work will largely depend on the perfection of its planing, or dressing as it is technically called. It is not only necessary that the amateur should possess such planes as the different operations of joinery require, but that he should be thoroughly acquainted with the proper ways of using them, how to adjust their cutting-irons, and how to keep them, generally, in good working order. Each plane should be carefully reserved for the class of work for which it has been designed and is best fitted; and the finer planes should never, to merely save a little time and trouble, be used for rough work. Amateurs are apt to forget that such care is necessary, and only realise it when they find all their planes out of order. The delicate cutting-edges of the finer irons are very liable to be notched if roughly and carelessly used, and sometimes this may involve re-grinding in addition to considerable sharpening on the oil-stone. To avoid any accidental injury to the exposed edge of the iron, a plane should be laid down on its side in preference to being hastily put down on its sole or face on the bench or any hard surface.
It is very important that the amateur joiner should select for his use the best planes to be found in the market to-day ; and these we unhesitatingly affirm to be the now antique Stanley Bailey Adjustable Iron Planes, made by the Stanley Rule and Level Company, of New Britain, Connecticut, U.S.A. It is properly claimed that these planes work better than others in any kind of wood; are better made; are made of better materials; and can be better, more smooth, and more easily adjusted. We can say, from long personal experience, that these planes are faultless in every respect. It is well known that wood planes soon become worn and uneven on their soles or planing-surfaces; and that their mouths become worn too open, caused by the constant friction of the shavings passing through them. Nothing of this kind is possible in the Bailey planes.
We have made the drawings given in the following Plate A from a smoothing plane we have long used, so as to enable us to properly describe the construction and manipulation of the Bailey plane. With the exception of the handle A and the left-hand rest B, every part of the plane is made of metal. The principal portion C is of fine cast iron, accurately planed flat and die-square on its sole and two exposed sides. The sides are carried sufficiently high to allow the plane to be used in "shooting".
A prominent feature of the plane is its cutter D, which is thin and of uniform thickness: the advantages of which are lightness, ease in grinding, less grinding, as a thin cutter can be kept in good condition by honing, and less liability to "stub ofF" the cutting-edge when honing ; hence the original bevel is retained much longer.
The cutter is made of specially tempered English steel. This improved form of cutter renders it unnecessary to detach its cap E at any time, as it will slide back to the extreme end of the slot in the cutter without any danger of falling out. It can then be tightened by a turn of its screw, and the cap will serve as a convenient handle or rest while sharpening the cutter. The cutter-cap E is made of thin steel, of uniform thickness, curved and ground at its lower end, as indicated, and held to the cutter by the cap-screw F, shown in Fig. 2 : these three simple parts constituting what is technically known as the "double-cutter" or "double-iron". The cutter-seat or "frog", shown at G, is adjustable, sliding on a machined seat, raised from the plane bottom at H : its relation to the mouth of the plane, and the manner in which it carries the cutter, and all the fixing and adjusting parts connected therewith, are clearly shown in Figs. 1 and 2.
The lever-cap I is held in its place by the screw J, which acts as a fulcrum, and the cap may be rigidly clamped down upon the cutter-cap E by means of the lever-cam K. When the lever-cam is turned upwards and ceases to bear upon the cutter-cap, the lever-cap can be removed and the cutter taken out without turning the screw J, the lever-cap and double-cutter being properly slotted for this purpose. When the cutter is clamped in its place, it can be adjusted accurately lengthwise by means of the adjusting-wheel L, which moves the Y-lever M, the upper end of which engages in a small slot in the cutter-cap, as indicated in Fig. 2.
This simple mechanism allows an instant and most minute adjustment of the cutting-edge at the mouth of the plane, without disarranging a single part of the tool. The lateral adjustment of the cutting-edge,: is effected by means of the lever N, which is pivoted on the upper part of the cutter-seat at O, in Fig. 2. One end of this lever engages in the slot of the cutter, in the manner indicated, and by moving it laterally, the cutting-edge of the cutter can be easily brought exactly true with the sole of the plane, if the cutter should not be exactly true when clamped down.
A revolving disc on the lever N, where it engages in the slot of the cutter, prevents all friction. From this detailed description, the plane might seem to be a complicated tool, while it is in reality beautifully simple in all its parts, and, owing to its perfect workmanship, is manipulated with the greatest ease and certainty.
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