Another Stanley Bedrock – a #605

August 22, 2008

I have not been posting regularly – so to all of my 3 or so readers out there, my apologies. I’m going to make more of a routine of posting and less of a routine of repeatedly rewriting posts to the point where they never actually get posted. I am up to 15 unpublished drafts. Enough on that for now though.

I have almost completely sworn off yard-sales and flea markets. The urge is there, but I have been able to restrain myself. Mostly.

Anyway about a month ago, after doing the Saturday running-around/shopping routine, I passed these two gentlemen packing up what had been a huge tool yard sale. I couldn’t help myself.  Besides it was 2:00 in the afternoon – it was safe…what could possibly be left which was worth buying?

I recognized one of the men as a picker that I used to see all the time when I was really yardsale-sick. He’s the guy who always manages to get to a yard sale about 2 minutes before you. The guy who you see putting the box of hand-planes into his trunk just as you pull up to the sale.

Stanley #10 Rabbet Plane

Stanley #10 Rabbet Plane

Anyway there were still some fantastic tools. An early Stanley #10 caught my eye right away – the #10 is basically a open sided rabbeting version of a #5. The blade was worn to a nub and the price was a bit too rich for me (70$). I briefly entertained a fantasy of having a new blade made. Fortunately, I sobered up. I really wasn’t planning on making any timber frame buildings soon and all of my massive rabbeting needs (so far) have been satisfied by my Stanley #190.

I bought a couple of newer #3 planes with decent parts. I got a nearly mint Millers Falls iron hand drill, and as an afterthought – I asked about a Bedrock.

stanley bedrock 605

Presenting...Stanley Bedrock #605

“A user”?  the man asked.

“Yeah nothing pretty, I want to actually to plane with it.”

He walked into his house. A minute later he brought out a flat side #605 with a round chip near the back. Beautiful wood, clean sweetheart cutter, with plain “Stanley” cap, decent Japanning. I tapped on the sole, it didn’t have any structural cracks. 

“Exactly…so how much do you want for this”?

I bought it for 35 bucks which seemed fair. So for $50, I bought the two #3 planes the Millers Falls hand drill and the Bedrock #605

Three screws total to adjust mouth

Three Screws Total to Adjust Mouth

The Bedrock cleaned up nicely. I switched my Hock cutter from my “old faithful” #5 and gave her the sweetheart cutter. With the Hock cutter installed, the Bedrock plane cuts like a dream. But my plain-Jane #5 also cut like a dream with the Hock blade.

I guess I am still in the break-in period. After my experience with the 605 1/2 – I am not sure that there is any Bedrock “magic” out there.  Bedrocks are definitely a little bit better plane. They are definitely more adjustable, but does any of that really matter?  When is the last time that you tried to adjust the mouth on a two-handed plane? In my case…almost never. Is that extra margin of adjustability going to offer you the piece of mind needed to start hacking into that nice piece of birds eye maple with a hand plane?? rather than a scraper?? Im not so sure.

Chip isn't structural

The Chip Isn't Structural

So…is the Bedrock design worth paying the extra $$ that the name usually commands? Offhand, I’d say no. If you can get a Bedrock pattern plane for the price of a Bailey pattern plane, then by all means, do so. If you need to shell out a significant premium to get the Bedrock pattern, then you might want to think about getting a Lie Nielson. If you actually want to use the plane and the ancient Bedrock you are eyeing is roughly the same price as a new Lie Nielson – don’t be a fool. The cutters on the Nielson planes are thicker and more solid than anything Stanley ever used.

All Hail the Grand Poobah! - sort of, anyway.

All Hail the Grand Poobah! - err...sort of.

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2 Responses to “Another Stanley Bedrock – a #605”

  1. Keith Says:

    Why can’t I ever find these deals at garage sales? Keith (www.woodtreks.com)

  2. shinoteabowl Says:

    Hi Keith!

    Nice site you have! I’m still going through, but so far it’s great. Very nice!

    Yardsale Zen? Start out at 7:00 AM no matter what. Look where older home-owners live. Generally the outskirts of affluent towns are great. Always ask for what isn’t there (ie tools). Always be friendly and genuine – professional yard-sale pickers can be slimy jerks and yard sale sellers generally want to find good homes for their unused treasures – especially the treasures which they leave in the basement (which you ask for). If you throw eggs, you won’t get the candy.

    -Peter


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