My choice of hand plane is the Stanley (or Record, either way, or the Woden too) #4 for 95% of my tasks at the workbench this basic plane works best for me. New, old, no matter. I also use the Stanley #5 as a second if indeed I do feel the need for a longer plane. I don’t find any use for the longer planes I have and probably should have left them aside. I have little use for a wider one even though for three decades I combined the use of 4s with 4 1/2s and 5s with 5s with 5 1/2s. The makers name makes little difference to me at the end of the day one’s as good as the other and that includes what’s now called premium planes. Most are overweights and need a good slim down. Inevitably I get identical results from even the cheapest plane in the poorest condition within a few minutes.
I did pick up a unique plane from the Bailey-pattern stable this past week, another rare find from an eBay seller. I tried to get it for less but the savvy seller knew what he had and rightly clung to his price. On my end I may have paid more than I should but truth is I had yet to see an I Sorby #3 anywhere before this one. It came just at the point when I thought I’d got the whole team of I Sorby planes from betwixt the two world wars. This one is in lovely condition and after sharpening and still some need to flatten the sole a bit I am happy to have it in my collection of I Sorby’s last gathering of planes. There is a good chance the series was not actually manufactured by I Sorby as such but by another company that bought them out or more likely just bought the name rights prior to the Second World War. Many tool makers were unable to continue and neighbouring tool makers bought them to increase their falling sales market. Though the plane is in good condition it was still a user in its day. The handle has user patination as does the rest of the plane. I enjoyed dissecting the carcass to find out whether the user was a full-time carpenter or not. He was.
My plane has the usual kick of a #3. The mechanisms work smoothly and respond like a well-trained sheepdog and that only comes from a well used plane where the rough edges have been worn off and greased by human hands. I was surprised that the sole hadn’t been truly flattened because it was actually twisted which means it would be impossible to true up any surface without creating an exact opposite twist. It’ll flatten easy enough when I get a few minutes. I may ask Hannah to do it as she is very good at things that require finessing.
There is no current rust but a little evidence of patination from rust sometime in the past. No pitting though.