I was the happy recipient of an eBay buy but couldn’t understand the surprisingly low price at £13.01p plus £6.00 shipping. I suppose I Sorby is really not known for its all metal cast planes so much as it’s plane cutting irons and wooden bodied models of yesteryear and more the iron and blade side rather than the stock holding it. I own the #5 1/2 model I Sorby already, which has proven to be such a wonderful plane, and I didn’t know that a #5 I Sorby existed anywhere. These two planes are rare planes indeed now but though slightly heavier than Stanley and Record models, I don’t believe them to be altogether greatly better planes. I do think the engineering seems to a higher standard but only marginally. The thickness of the sole is thicker and so it seems that this gives the plane more weight.
I don’t know that any of this validates my wanting to own these two rare planes, but I like the thought of Sorby recognizing the value the Bailey-pattern plane played in the history of plane development. Bailey pattern bench planes became the most highly manufactured of all metal bodied planes and this then led to the replacement of wooden bodied planes altogether. I think it’s this that lead to a texture few will ever know. These planes signify a juncture if you will; a point in time when like many of us wanting to make a difference, we strive to further improve what exists and create progressive steps leading to that end. Over the years I have grown to respect what some modern-day planemakers have done in creating beautifully engineered planes unparalleled by past generations. It isn’t so much that we needed such art works to work with but that we strove for something finely crafted and are indeed blessed by refinement such as these hand wrought things gave to us. Some are sculpted planes finely made as examples from ebony and ivory, some produced as castings and some meticulously crafted as decoration, but, still, the ones I like to see that hold the most for me are the ones shaped by their working, worn by hands and wood. These planes contain within what they work the signature marks of texture and will wear more such marks as I follow on to use them in my own work. What was written in the body of these planes will be continued testament to I Sorby and to the man who works with the planes in years yet to follow.