I've recently fell in love with most every hand plane, while I respect the Japanese hand plane, or "Kana" I find them too finicky for my daily use in the shop. I love the new breed of hand planes, Lie Nielsen or Lee Valley's wonderful Veritas planes, I really do enjoy getting an old plane and bringing it back to life.
Recently I bought a Stanley #4 1/2 smoother, this is a short, but wide plane, and as the name suggests, it is used for smoothing, some of the last and finest cuts you make with a plane.
I bought the plane used from, Rich Sorby for $50, good price, thanks Rich, the shipping was $55 to Japan, IIRC. The plane is in decent shape, with only a few minor problems.
First and foremost the sole was not flat, you can see in the pic below......
I used a marker to color the sole of the plane, then I rubbed it back and forth on a piece of thick glass that had #180 sandpaper, you can see the low spots as they still have color on them.
After about 30 minutes and a couple of changes in sandpaper, this is what I got, I'm quite happy with that!
The other problem is that the tote, or handle at the back is cracked.....
It is a nice clean break, so I just made a small jig to hold the tote together while the glue was drying.....
In the end it came up great, nice flat sole, repaired tote and a sharp blade.
The blade is one thing that I will change, I have a new blade on order that is manufactured in Canada with a matching chip breaker, these are made by >IBC< this will cost another $85. Total I'll have $190 into this plane, but I think it will preform as well as a new Lee Valley or Lie Nielsen #4 1/2 smoother, which cost $325 plus another $50 for shipping.
Yes, I think this turned out well.