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Thread: Toolemera - Mr. Bailey and other stuff

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    Massachusetts
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    Toolemera - Mr. Bailey and other stuff

    Folks

    Thanks to Kelly Wilson (actually his wife but neither of them want to be recognized) I've posted the legal briefs of two suits between the Stanley Rule & Level Co. and Leonard Bailey. These are the first items to find their way into the Leonard Bailey section of the website. I'll be adding more stuff as I dig it up, including a bibliography of articles as I unearth them from the catacombs (aka my basement).

    http://toolemera.com/Manufacturers/L...ardbailey.html

    In addition, I'm trying out a new feature over at the blog, the Reference Desk. It's a simply blog for Questions, Answers, Whatsit's, Whensit's, Whosit's etc. The intent is for this section to be by the reader, for the reader. If someone has a question, I'll post it. It's then up to the throngs to answer the question through Comments. The Reference Desk is not meant to surplant any of the questions and answers that happen on the email lists or forums, more as an opportunity for people who don't regularly visit forums and lists to participate. If it works, great, if it doesn't, I'll add it to the Great Ideas that Sounded Good but Didn't Work Out.

    http://toolemerablog.typepad.com/reference/

    Feedback of all sorts is always welcome

    Gary
    Gary Roberts
    Massachusetts
    Blog: Toolemera Blog
    Web Site: http://toolemera.com/

  2. #2
    Stanley and Mr Bailey...kind of a love-hate relationship wasn't it? Still Mr Bailey was a very talented plane-maker. I wish to be a lot like him.

    I have a few ideas of my own that I would like to make...an improvement to the Router Planes is one I have been giving that a lot of thought lately. Stanley and Lie Nielsen both make router planes, but I got some improvements that they have not thought of.
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Massachusetts
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Johnson View Post
    Stanley and Mr Bailey...kind of a love-hate relationship wasn't it? Still Mr Bailey was a very talented plane-maker. I wish to be a lot like him.

    I have a few ideas of my own that I would like to make...an improvement to the Router Planes is one I have been giving that a lot of thought lately. Stanley and Lie Nielsen both make router planes, but I got some improvements that they have not thought of.
    Ah... the lure of the inventor. First of course you would have to investigate all the previous patents to see if there is any infringement of an existing company. But then, some modern tool makers got their starts reproducing, with improvements, the work of long extinct inventors (somehow I don't think that extinct really expresses what I want to say).

    Gary
    Gary Roberts
    Massachusetts
    Blog: Toolemera Blog
    Web Site: http://toolemera.com/

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Roberts View Post
    Ah... the lure of the inventor. First of course you would have to investigate all the previous patents to see if there is any infringement of an existing company. But then, some modern tool makers got their starts reproducing, with improvements, the work of long extinct inventors (somehow I don't think that extinct really expresses what I want to say).

    Gary
    Actually there is no need to research patent rights. As long as you are using the tool for your own use, patent rights do not apply.

    Even if you do plan on making a line of hand tools to sell (I have no such illusions) patent rights only last a few years, and then need to be renewed. I am not a patent right attorney by any means, but I do know they run out.

    Its interesting that people like Tom Lie Nielsen started out the same way. His line of tools even has the same numbers as the Stanley planes. There is nothing wrong with that. He has improved many of the tools, but of course is limited to manufacturing large numbers of planes using stuff that can be readily cast and easily machined.

    I am a one-off kind of guy so I am not limited by that. I am also a welder which enables me to craft hand planes in more creative ways.

    My respect for people like Mr Bailey go very deep. Its one thing to improve upon another's invention, but quite another to conjure up the original design...creativity out of necessity as it is. I enjoyed machining planes like the #140 and #9 at Lie Nielsen, but working on Paul Hubbman's 1909 #140 was truly a treat. It was honest to goodness the original Stanley #140 design. Well it was...

    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Massachusetts
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    Mr. Bailey et al

    But of course you are correct. My lack of clarity haunts me at times. I only wish that I had purchased some of Tom's work early in his career. I was so fixated on Original Tools that I neglected to pay attention to the fine work produced by his company.

    I think that genius such as Mr. Bailey only comes along once in a very great while. His work produced truly novel and superior designs that have continued to stand the test of time. Spare in details, functional and good to look at to. If you look at much of the new tools hitting the market, some look like Rube Goldberg was on the design team. The tools do the job, sometimes superbly so, but they are often lacking in visual appeal when it comes to grace of line and proportions.

    Gary
    Gary Roberts
    Massachusetts
    Blog: Toolemera Blog
    Web Site: http://toolemera.com/

  6. #6
    I understand that in the interest of brevity, you can not always type out clear responses. I hope my post did not sound condescending, because it was not meant to.

    In any event, Tom Lie Nielsen has some interesting history too, like working for the Lee Valley group first, then splitting off to make his own mark on the woodworking world. So was his first machine, from what I understand, a cheap China made bench top milling machine that would make any machinist roll their eyes in shame. Still it got the job done and established himself. And of course there was the castings they used to make right there in Warren, Maine. That is no longer done there which is a shame, but modern OSHA Laws has more to do with that then anything.

    Still I have yet to see Lie Nielsen come up with anything truly unique. He's got some nice improvements, but nothing truly revolutionary. That is why I would certainly not put him in a category with Mr Bailey. The one person that I would put with him however, is a member right on this forum....Paul Hubbman.

    He comes on here once and awhile when his work load allows, but that man is a true hand plane guru. He knows the history of these old planes, but his amazing ability to improve planes and find solutions to hand plane problems is truly amazing. When I made my fist self-made shoulder plane, I had issues with the lateral adjustment. One email to Paul and he had the answer; adjustable set screws in the body of the plane. When I emailed him about making a improved router plane, his solution to a side fence was as simple as it was revolutionary, a design that will allow the plane to track straight or follow a curved surface. Between his schooling as an Architect, his knowledge of machining from his father (who designed and machined milling machines) and his own love of hand tools, that guy should be making his own line of hand planes. If he did, I would have to move my family out to St Luis and work on his production line. I have worked on three of my own hand plane versions and each one has a tag line that says "with assistance from Paul Hubbman."
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    St. Louis, MO
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    OK Travis,
    Thanks for the nod, but don't forget that you're the one doing the work and that most ideas are simply applied from some other type of application. Usually, it's just a bunch of cross pollination. I'm always looking to contribute, but all of your projects are 99.99% you. It's easy to play armchair quarterback occassionally.
    There are production builders out there that are truly developing the hand plane to perform better more comfortably. I put Lee Valley in that category - also Bridge City Tools. Lee Valley's tools are within my reach - Bridge City's are beyond what i could justify (or even want at their prices). I think the other thing to keep in mind is to strive to keep things simple. Elegant solutions can't be understated. Krenov planes look like something a cub scout might make, but they function wonderfully. There's an innate quality of the refined basics in Krenov planes. (They, too, are beyond my hobbyist means).
    The great thing about this sort of forum is that there's no pressure or competitive spirit stifling ideas. We all get to benefit from each other's coincidental experience or knowlege. That's a leg up we have on the Baileys and Stanleys.
    I'll step off my soap box now - really it's just about having fun or solvnig problems.
    Paul Hubbman

  8. #8
    Paul, not surprisingly, you are too modest.

    As for one of my downfalls...I love stainless steel way too much. It looks pretty all polished up for sure, but its really not the best steel to make hand planes out of.

    One of the things I am slowly learning at Lyman-Morse Boatbuilding is how to make "fair lines and curves that fit the yachts we make". I am sure down the road I can apply this theory of form and function to handplanes.
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
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    More on Mr. Bailey

    A few new pieces of information on Mr. Leonard Bailey:

    Some PDF compilations of his patents, some of which are suprising
    and
    Two commentaries by learned barristers on the Stanley Rule & Level Co. v Leonard Bailey lawsuits

    Both at:

    http://toolemera.com/Manufacturers/L...ardbailey.html

    Gary
    Gary Roberts
    Massachusetts
    Blog: Toolemera Blog
    Web Site: http://toolemera.com/

  10. #10
    Without a doubt, doing research on old tool makers can be a lot of fun. It was awhile ago, but a guy on Wood Online had a question regarding some tools he bought...some old twist drills...and wanted to know about the Syracuse Twist Drill Company.

    I did the research for him and it ended up being a very unique story. A company that burned down and rebuilt, a company that patented some new drill bits...just an interesting company history. I can see you are into that too.

    I read your blog and see you have a soft spot for chisels. You are indeed right, someday they will have been ground away to obscurity, but at the same time I am sure they will show up. One of the many benefits you and I have is living in new England with the many older homes. I am sure that in the back "tractor shed", or "in the attic" of these old places there are plenty of old chisels ready to be discovered still.

    I remember working on an old abandoned house with my Uncle one year and in the barn we found an old Slate Sink. It was cracked, but despite my Uncle's insistence on tossing it out, the homeowner had it rebuilt and put into his new kitchen. My Uncle takes the approach that all things old are useless, while I see character and charm in the older stuff. Either way it was great to pull old newspapers out of the walls from 1912 and read about the "great War", those "new fangled areoplanes" and see that women still loved shoes back then, but that they cost .25 cents a pair and not 140 bucks. Of course it was gratifying because after break was over we then installed a slate sink quarried and made right here in Maine, but 150 years old.

    My tools are old, and my wife is young...that's the way it should be shouldn't it?
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

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