So, if you ever wondered about the #3 smoothing plane you’ll discover yet another Leonard Bailey wonder of plane making. Over the past few days, because we keep a couple for students with smaller hands and less upper shoulder muscle mass, I tried out the plane with the ten ‘musclemen’ in the class last week. I knew what I knew, but I wanted to see how and what they felt. That’s what all the smiles and the raised hands were all about.
In relation to the #4 plane the #3 is slightly smaller, not too much but just a bit. It’s a bit like the #4 1/2 to the #4 but the opposite way in that the iron is 1 3/4” wide instead of 2”. My hands are fairly normal, perhaps leaning towards large, but not massively so. My thoughts are these. #3 planes are not lesser planes in any way with regard to functionality than say the #4 and the #4 1/2. In fact they equal or even surpass the slightly wider versions because they pack that certain compact punchiness the heavier counterparts often lack.
I bought this £2 car boot find and restored it while the class was working. It’s the one above. They are not so common as the #4 I know, but they are still common enough to see them filter through eBay regularly enough. Handles and totes are usually a good fit for me so I think they will indeed fit most hands. You will pay a higher price for a number three, but it will be worth it.