You have mentioned your love for the #4, but out of all the planes you own (individuals, mind. Not types), which is your favourite? Do you find yourself favouring a particular #4 of yours, even if it’s based on something a little less logical, and a little more sentimental? Though, I think sentiment is logic, often.
I ask just out of curiosity. I know, personally, I pick favourites. I have a favourite knife for working, though it may not be the best, or the most functional. But it’s my favourite, none the less.
I do have a favourite or two amongst the many makers of the Leonard Bailey and Bed Rock types of number 4s. Bed Rock is principally a Bailey-pattern plane with an adapted frog. The rest is identical the Bailey-pattern so he should get the credit here anyway.
The plane I reach for in the day to day is the Stanley #4 Leonard Bailey pattern but it could I suppose as easily be a Record. They weigh in about the same in almost every aspect. I think one thing is important to understand about my planes and that is that I like my handles to fit my hand and so the first thing I do is customise the fit to fit mine in every way. Additionally I restore the planes and fettle them all identically as needed too. Three coats of shellac and some wax polish on the handle and it’s mine. If there is a glitch on a plane where the mechanisms are distorted or different one to another I fix it and never live with it. Stanley is not just the poor man’s plane though. Remember that I am not selling planes or demoing them at shows to sell, which makes everything different.
So, yes, I do love the Stanley #4 and the Record #4, but my favourite #4? Well, I have to say it’s the Woden #4. I just love this cheeky little plane. From the perfect fitting handle and the little red medallion on top of the tote to the misspelling by which most people find them listed on eBay. This plane was a better made UK model of a mass-made version in that it’s mechanisms seem better fitted. It’s not really different to the Stanleys and Records other than that. I own all of the ones Woden ever made, but I still reach for my Stanleys the most. I just love ’em and though I have owned all of the others, this one I have always been faithful to.