A No.4 Scraper Plane
Rescued from Oblivion
as a
Cracked Type 11 Stanley/Bailey Smoother
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This little plane came to me courtesy of Sandy Moss as a user Type 11 No.4 smoother. Alas; the bottom was broken out of the plane. What looked at first like a small depression in the bottom was instead a big piece of the surrounding metal ready to fall out. So we renegotiated. Then, it bothered me that the plane was neither a collector's item nor a user. So I designed a couple of alternatives: Make it into a scraper plane; or into a low-angle smoother. I let Sandy decide; this is the result.

The machining of the plane is another story that will be added later. For the time being, here is how it came out.

The design loosely follows Stanley's No.112 and No.212 scraper planes, as it has a center post and tilting frog. However, the pivots of the frog are much higher up on the cheeks, allowing the addition of a rabbet mouth, which is found only in the rare No.85 Stanley scraper plane. The cutter width is 2-3/8 inch, placing it between the No.112 (2-7/8 inch) and No.212 (1-3/8 inch). This design allows the No.4 scraper to work on surfaces that abut vertical members.

A tilting tote allows the No.4 scraper to be used as a shooting board scraper or for scraping against vertical members without scraping one's knuckles, too !

The composite image at left shows the extent of tilt that the tote can reach each side of center.

Here is an overhead view that shows the frog adjustment mechanism. The center post is held by the original frog-anchor screws plus two more that I added for stability; I flattened the top of the frog receiver also, so there would be a good bearing between the bottom of the center post and the top of the frog receiver.

Here is the frog taken out of the plane and sitting upside down on the bench. The cutter is made from a worn-out bimetallic hacksaw blade. No tempering or other heat treatment was necessary because the back of the bimetallic blade is already tempered for an optimum combination of strength and toughness. It is actually too hard to file, but my burnisher can turn its edge with ease. The high-speed steel teeth of the hacksaw blade were ground off. Actually, you could make a toothing blade by leaving those teeth on ! The three screws at the top of the image serve two functions. The two at the right & left are the lateral adjusters for the blade; and the middle one clamps the cutter clamping lever's anchor screw so that the lever will swing in the correct portion of its limited arc of movement.

Here's what the frog looks like mostly apart. The heads of the two set screws in the lever cap at left are seen in the bottom of the previous image. The lever and its anchor screw are shown together at bottom left, just above the dedicated screwdriver that's used for fine adjustments on the plane, and which stows in the hole formerly occupied by the frog-translation screw that first appeared in Stanley's Type 11 design. At the lower right is the cutter itself; note the notches which enable it to clear the small rabbet mouth openings.

Here's the tilt mechanism for the frog; the image also shows the cutter clamping lever. The clamping lever need only be swung a few degrees in order to clamp the cutter securely, so the small arc of movement is not a handicap. The depth of cut of the cutter is increased by slackening the front thumbnut and tightening the rear one; the adjustment is quite easy and can be set to make gossamer shavings or just dust if desired.

The lateral adjustment mechanism for the cutter is based on the toe jack that a rigger or millwright will recognize in miniature here. The active portions of the toe jacks are "L" shaped pieces that move in sliding dovetails in response to threads on their backs. The adjusting screws are captured by circumferential grooves that are engaged by anchor screws on the back side of the frog. The adjusting screws bear on 1/16 inch diameter balls at the bottoms of their blind holes. Turning one of those screws clockwise lifts that side of the blade to increase its depth of cut; this is easiest to do if the clamping lever is slightly loosened. Just visible towards the top left of each of the three images at the right of this composite is one of the two taper pins on which the frog pivots. Each pin can be pried out of its socket by gently levering the inner end with the dedicated screwdriver shown at the lower left.

The front knob is tilted forward (or left or right) in order that one's guiding hand's thumb doesn't foul the front of the frog. I made the new knob attachment screw because it's longer than the original, so that one wasn't consumed in this alteration.

The tilting tote is quite a complex mechanism, because the No.4's tote is held in place by just one screw. There's only one place for the tilt mechanism to attach if one doesn't want to alter the basic design or drill a hole through the bottom of the bed.

There isn't much clearance between the parts of the tilting mechanism; the tote is presently 7/8 inch above its original position, but that turns out to be an advantage because the plane needs more down force than a smoother to cut consistently, and the higher position of one's grip on the raised tote (which is a full-size No.4 tote) naturally accomplishes that end.

Here are the parts of the plane in an "exploded" view. Even here, there are several major portions still together, such as the frog and the center post/frog tilt mechanism. Note where I flattened the frog receiver by removing about 1/8 inch, where I removed most of the brace from behind the knob (so the chips would not accumulate between the frog and that brace), and where I opened the mouth to 0.7 inch from the original 0.2 inch or so. That last modification was what was necessitated by the cracked floor of the Bailey's frog receiver. The metal was only 0.025 inch thick where it cracked. One reason it cracked was that the two screws that held the frog only engaged a couple of threads each in the bed - not Stanley's best quality effort, to be sure.

The plane cuts gossamer chips; here the wood is Andaman Padauk (Pterocarpus dalbergiodes) the same stuff used by Sargent for their "East Indian Mahogany" totes & knobs. I bought two boards in a New Jersey lumberyard, thinking it was Brazilian rosewood. Darn.

Anyway, the plane works fine now as a scraper instead of a smoother.
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