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Thread: Am I hosed? (crack in #4)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
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    Wayland, MA
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    Am I hosed? (crack in #4)

    So after years of using various garage sale planes in as-found conditions (not very well, I have to admit) I finally have some time to improve their condition, and perhaps my success in planing. One of the planes is a #4 Stanley.

    After a fairly large number of hours spent lapping the bottom to a reasonable semblance of flatness I decided to clean up the sides a bit as well when I found a crack, which you might be able to see in these photos.
    IMG_0044.jpg IMG_0043.jpg

    Do I pitch it and start over with a new plane? I have no skills or equipment in welding, brazing or silver soldering. It took a long time to get it flat and I still don't want to accept the concept of sunk cost ;-). (To make matters worse, because the blade was badly pitted I ordered a new blade and chipbreaker for it, which is now on the way.) I suppose a #4 is about the easiest plane to find.

    I'm assuming that this crack is a Bad Thing that will have some bad outcome when I use the plane, presumably flexibility between heel and toe that will keep me from getting a flat surface. Is that correct?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Broadview Heights, OH
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    245
    If it doesn't get any worse, you should be ok. If you do decide to try and get it brazed, you will be amazed how out of flat the bottom will become. If I were you, since you already invested the time in flattening the bottom, just use it and it it breaks, it breaks. Unless you plan to use it part time as a mallet or drop it, I bet it won't get any worse. As you suggest, you can easily find a donor plane since the wood looks to be in good shape. Lots of super cheap planes with trashed wood as opposed to what you have there (Good wood with a cracked cheek).

    Pete

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Longview WA
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    16,394
    Finding a replacement casting for the plane shouldn't be too difficult if it is a common type. Yours looks to have a 1-1/4" depth adjuster which would be a type 12 or later. Looking on ebay it looks like they cost more for just the sole than any of my #4s have cost.

    You may be able to find a #4 with a broken tote cheaper. If you are going to rehab your planes, you will likely end up with some extra parts planes. It is often cheaper to buy a complete plane than individual parts. Some of my planes that were bought for parts ended up being my users and the planes needing parts were sold for more than was paid for the "parts plane."

    My most recent experience was buying a #3 with a crack like yours for $10. A replacement sole cost me ~$25. Not a great deal, neither a bad one.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
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    The pictures are small and it's hard too tell how far the crack goes. If it ends about what looks like 1/2" from the edge then you could stop drill it with a 3/32" drill bit. The hole drilled through the sidewall relieves the stress at the end of the crack, keeping it from going further. De-burr the edge of the hole on both sides. The plane is a user so apart from the cosmetics there won't be any impact on it's use.

  5. #5
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    Sep 2013
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    Bigger pictures (I didn't realize how small "medium" was!)

    IMG_0044 (1).jpg: IMG_0043 (1).jpg

    Thanks for the suggestions. I'll just try using it for now, but keep my eye out for a suitable replacement. The crack does seem to stop short of the mouth, so stop-drilling it seems sensible, I don't see anything to lose by trying. I think I only have $5 into it so far, not counting the new blade on order. It is in otherwise fairly nice condition, but for some cosmetic rust.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
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    Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
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    Oh that's much longer than I thought. It has likely had that crack for a long time so you might as well use it as is.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Issaquah, Washington
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    882
    Just go ahead and use it, it will probably last well beyond your lifetime assuming you don't drop it.

  8. #8
    I picked up a #3 similar that was rusted so much i couldn't see the crack till I lapped the side, I picked out because it was a dollar. I was able to get a sole off eBay for 9 bucks shipped after waiting a few months passing up lots of opportunities because i didn't want to pay over 20 bucks for just a sole.

    You may have seen my other thread now I need a chip breaker. I'm the time looking for a sole i bought another plane for parts which turned into a user, set up eBay alerts and you will find one in the range you want to pay if you are willing to wait.

  9. #9
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    I cleaned it up and put it back together and even with the old blade it cuts much better now than it did before! I can now get an even, wide shaving. The bottom was pretty warped. Looking forward to trying it with the new blade and chipbreaker. Appreciate the advice, I'll just use it until something happens to prevent me!

    On to my 4-1/2! (I've inspected it pretty closely for defects!) The 4 was fairly uniformly hollow in the middle of the sole, the 4-1/2 is more like a potato chip. It's riding on three high spots now. It's going to take some elbow grease to get flat.

    At this rate I may get to the big planes by Christmas. Can you flatten a sole on a granite plate that's a little shorter than the plane?

  10. #10
    I have a #5 Union cracked the same way and have been using it for years. I wouldn't worry one wit about it. In fact, I have a #4 and a # 6 with cracks elsewhere, that were given to me as "parts" planes. I sharpened them up and just use them too. I also have thought that flattening planes is overrated. Patrick Leach has also stated that he believes the same. Mr. Bailey's patent is a wonderous one.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Dickinson, Texas
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    You can braze the crack.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    twomiles from the "peak of Ohio
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    A fellow named Dave Bardin, of Chisel & Forge has a video about how he brazes a plane's crack. One of the planes he repaired in that video was my Millers Falls No. 14 jack plane. might be worth a look....?

  13. #13
    Welp, while looking on ebay for a chip breaker I came across this 152810536809, double check to see if it matches how the frog mounts but if you are as OCD as I am I'd replace it so I thought I'd share.

  14. #14
    Join Date
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    Longview WA
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    If Roger's plane doesn't have a ring around the base for the front knob that may be a good find.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Dickinson, Texas
    Posts
    4,617
    If all else fails, brazing is an old way of repairing cast iron planes.

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