My father gave me two old Bailey style Stanley hand planes (a No. 5 and a No. 5-1/2) about 40+ years ago. I tried using them a couple of times unsuccessfully and then set them aside. 20+ years ago, I loaned the No. 5-1/2 to a friend. I didn't think much about them until I retired in 2013.
As I got back into woodworking I decided I wanted to learn how to use them and dove down the internet "rabbit hole" to find out how. One of the first sites I found, Red Mill.com, turned out to have a complete history of Stanley planes and I learned that my No.5 was a bit of a Frankenstein plane. Most of the parts were from a type 9 plane made around the turn of the 20th century, however the frog (the part the blade is attached to) was from a type 10 or later plane. I learned from reading articles that the old planes were difficult to setup primarily due to their having thin irons (the cutting blade) and chip breakers. Mine were originals and not in good shape, so I ordered modern replacements from Hock Tools who I had read good reviews about. I then learned about sharpening irons, how to set them up and that the throat of the plane body might need to be "opened up" to accommodate the thicker irons. With some trepidation, I took a flat bastard file to the plane throat and opened it up. The original tote (handle) and knob were also in bad shape so I ordered replacements from Highland Woodworking. Having done the renovations and learning how to setup the plane I discovered that not only could I use it, but I enjoyed it!
That led me to wonder if my friend still had the 5-1/2 and used it? I got in touch, he still had it and never used it, so I arranged to repossess it. It too was a Frankenstein type 9 but had been stored badly, rusted and in need of a general cleanup in addition to the upgrades I had done on the No. 5. I undertook the cleanup and renovations and now have two functioning old-time Stanley Baileys that I frequently use to plane down the inlays in picture frames so they are level with the primary wood of the frame.
That led to my latest painting, "Old No. 5". I was planing down some molding to make photo frames and thought that might be a fun painting to try. I took a couple of pictures with my cell phone as references and got busy. It took quite some effort to do the original drawing trying to replicate the angle of the scene and all the angles in the face of the vice. After spending several hours painting the plane and vice, I recognized that I had messed up the perspective of the back face of the vice in relation to everything else in the painting. I was able to "lift" some of the error but not all of it. I was about to throw it away and start over when I decided to try something I had read about, Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. I taped off the sections I did not want removed and tried the Magic Eraser......it worked! I then moistened the area I had erased and repaired the roughed-up surface by pressing it with the back of a tablespoon. I was then able to blend the original painted area to the repaired area.
I hope you enjoy the painting, and my long winded blog. :-)
John Schwartz - watercolorist and woodworker.