Oddball Smoothing Plane

I bought this plane on eBay this week. Probably the first plane I bought on the bay in two years. The seller said it was marked 904 and was similar to a Stanley No 2 plane. When I opened the box, I immediately saw that it was actually the size of a No 4 plane. It’s my fault for not paying closer attention to the pictures and not doing my research. I looked over the plane and saw no makers mark of any kind. To me, it looked like it was made by the Sargent Tool Co.

When I took the plane apart, I saw that the frog on the plane was identical to early Stanley Bedrock plane. I knew it wasn’t a Bedrock because it would say “Bedrock” on the bed. The only other plane company that made planes that I knew of that had a Bedrock style of frog was Vaughan & Bushnell but all their planes had flat side walls similar to Bedrock planes.

The lateral adjustment had a twist on the top. It reminded me of a Sargent plane but I don’t think Sargent ever made planes with a Bedrock style of frog.

The back of the frog was similar to all other Bailey style planes on the market back in the day. The one thing I noticed was that the threaded rod for the brass knurled nut was really long like that of an Ohio Tool Co plane. Was this an Ohio Tool Co plane?

The only identification mark on the plane was 904 on the chip breaker. Since I thought it was a Sargent or Ohio Tool Co plane, I researched “904” for each company and came up empty. Sargent’s No 4 size planes were labeled 409 not 904.

The blade had no marking on it. The only unique feature it had has a polygram shaped hole at the bottom. So, I went back to Vaughan & Bushnell and searched “904”. Sure enough, I found an early example on the internet of a Vaughan & Bushnell No 904 with round sides. Mystery solved. Why Vaughan & Bushnell didn’t mark their planes is anybody’s guess but mine would be that they sold their planes to hardware companies who would then label the plane under their own brand name. Similar to that of companies who use to make tools and sold it to Sears to be sold under the Craftsman brand. Maybe this plane was packaged in a box with the hardware store’s brand on it.

I sharpened the blade and put it to use. After a quick honing, the plane performed well. It’ll make a nice user however, I’m still kind of pissed it was sold as a number to 2 size plane. I overpaid for it but that’s my fault.

Installing Crown Molding

Last weekend I proceeded to work on the dining room by installing crown molding around the ceiling. I already built and installed bookcases that went on either side of the sliding glass doors a couple of weeks ago. Now I needed to complete the look by installing crown molding at the top.

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Before I began, I watched a YouTube video with Tom Silva of This Old House to give me the idea of how to cut the molding. The trick was flipping the board over and cut the trim upside down. Clamping a board on the saw table helped kept the trim at the proper angle.

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The molding around the bookcases wasn’t too bad as the sides were 90 degrees to each other. However, when I ran a piece down the one side of the dining room to the hallway, is when I got tripped up. I may be able to hand cut dovetails, but a trim carpenter I am not. I have no idea how they cope one end of the crown to fit perfectly, then make a perfect cut nine feet away to make a tight corner to a wall that is out of square. I gave it my best attempt and attached the crown to the wall. I then tried to figure out the other angle the other piece of trim would need to be to make the corner look nice. However, every cut I made was way off. I tried about a dozen times to make it work with no luck. I became so frustrated, that I decided to quit Saturday afternoon and reconsider continuing with the room or just take everything down except the crown around the bookcases.

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I woke up Sunday morning and decided to give it another shot. I messed around with the other side of the crown molding for a couple of hours until I was satisfied with how it looked. Below is a picture of the finished corner. I had to shave a lot of the molding away with rasps so each piece would match. I probably should have sanded the pieces better, but I was so frustrated with it I said “screw it”!

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Fitting the crown for inside corners was a bit tricky as well. Even after I coped the ends, I had to file the back of the molding so that it would fit in place. However, after practicing coping a few times, I got better at it.

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This was the final piece I cut to finish the job. It was a bit tricky as I had to cut the trim at the correct length as well as perfectly cope each end so everything fitted nicely.

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After everything was done, Anita started to apply the first coat of paint. Next I’ll be working on the chair rail and the faux wainscoting molding squares I made a couple of weeks ago. I’ll throw up a few pictures of the finished dining room and hallway when I’m done.

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Brown Tool Auction Winnings

Every few months Clarence Blanchard from the Brown Tool Auction holds an antique tool auction in Pennsylvania. Even though some his auctions are within a day’s driving distance for me, I’ve never been to one. It’s just too easy for me to place a bid online and pay a $3.00 absentee bidder fee for every auction I win. Plus at $3.00, it’s a lot cheaper than spending the money on gas and a hotel room.

I never know what or if I win until about a week later when UPS drops of a box at my door. So you can imagine the excitement when I see a big box at my door. Typically the bigger the box, the more tools I have won.

As soon as I open it up I see molding planes neatly bubbled wrapped up. I love molding planes. To me they’re the router bits of hand tool woodworking. With a little bit of work, molding planes tune up nicely and create some of the nicest profiles that you can’t even produce with common router bits.

After unpacking the box, the results were in. Seventeen molding planes and two Stanley bench planes. All of the planes were in good shape and need only a little bit of tuning to bring them back to working condition.

Of the two Stanley planes I won, one was the Big Boss of Stanley planes, the No 8C Corrugated Jointer. This plane is in excellent condition and with a little bit of work, it will clean up to be a top shelf tool. The other bench plane was a nice Stanley 5 1/2C corrugated plane. Collectors go crazy for the corrugated soles as they tend to bring in higher prices, but for me, the corrugations just act as a place for dried glue to hang out. The theory behind corrugated soles was that they tend to be easier to push because of the less mass on the workpiece, and they were easier to fettle the bed because you didn’t have to remove as much metal. I haven’t found either one of those benefits to be true.

The molding planes were nice with a wide variety of profiles in the mix. Over the next few weeks I’ll tune them up and list them for sale on eBay.

As you can see, I have a soft spot for molding planes. The day I figured out how to tune one up and make it sing, I was hooked. I intend to sell some of my duplicate profiles on eBay in the coming weeks.