Sunday, March 1, 2015

The story of my Bedrock No 602

Sometimes you get lucky and you don't even realized it. That pretty well sums up this story.
I have been coll...err I meant accumulating tools for a long time, family and friends noticed (wonder how :-) and have been looking out for me at time.

This little guy came from a good friend. Tom has been one of my early mentor in my career and I have long considered him, my father figure away from home. I will also never forget the first time I saw him. Mid's 70s, I was a young lad airman, anxious to go see my first airplane which I would be working on; the mighty CP107 Argus. Its a Canadian built Submarine hunter/killer.
After pestering my supervisors, they finally took me to go look inside for my first time. On our way to the plane inside the hangar, the first person I saw coming off the ladder was Tom, hopping down the ladder on one leg! That's right, on one leg!  Tom lost a leg in an accident years ago, and normally wore his artificial one, but he often took it off for a good joke or whatever reasons. He was quite a joker with it at time. My first reaction seeing him, and learning that he was my sister trade (He was comm I was radar)  was: Wow, is there something I should know about working on this plane??? Seems a tad dangerous !? :-)

Fast forward about 20 years, mid 90s, during one of my visit to Tom, he asked me if I was interested in some old tools he had and if I wanted them. I was grateful for the Luftkin Zig Zag rule but was not really interested in that stubby sad looking plane which was missing its rear tote.

But he insisted I took it, so I did. It was not until later, when I took it apart, that I realized that this was different, I had never seen one like that before. Intrigued, I started researching it, and discovered that it was a Bedrock, and was quite valuable.

I was shocked at its value and went back to him to explained what it was and how valuable it could be. His reaction was; Well good for you, enjoy it! So, I did, and still do. I love this little guy. Not something I would have picked, since it was way
above my means, but once cleaned up, sharpened and with a replacement tote, it is a joy to use and it never stop bringing a smile to my face while I use it. It remind me of Tom :-)

Bedrock type study My example has a Type 7B SW iron 1923-35

The bed is where the Type study becomes a bit bewildering. Understand that Type study are never foolproof, they do provides some indications, but in the end they are based on examined specimens.
Stanley has never heard of such study in those days and used whatever parts they had on hands. Furthermore most Stanley Type study's of planes are based on the No 4. While the features reported are more or less common across the range (From No 2 to No 8, No 1 was a short live plane hence has it's own type study) Some features do not translate well into smaller sizes, like the Patent numbers; The No 602 has a rather small footprint 7 in long X 1-5/8 wide.
Therefore it shows the Type 7 1923-26 features:  Knob receiver boss flat, SW iron, Stanley embossed in lever cap instead of Bedrock. No patent date showing on bed, but it is rather small.

The Made in USA cast on the bed is said to start with the next Type 8 1927-30 without patent date, but the receiver boss is unchanged unlike shown for Type 8. And finally it clearly shows some

characteristics of Type 9; Orange paint on lever cap (Stanley) Made in USA only on bed and Type 10 1933-41; Orange paint on sides of frog, but no kidney shaped hole on lever cap and no raised receiver for tote (but again this is a small plane, it may have never got that feature)

Could this be an harlequin plane? (made up from various types parts after the fact) Doubt it very much. Except for the replacement tote I installed, everything is as found and I have no reasons to believed it was ever muck with.
This plane then was probably manufactured in the early 30s (Stanley orange on frog side, SW iron, keyhole on lever cap). After numerous tries on EBay to get a genuine period correct rosewood tote for it, I gave up and bought a new period correct reproduction tote from an EBay vendor. It fit perfect and feel just right in my hands.

The blade was a tad corroded but pretty well full length. After some hours spend sharpening it, it perform great. In these old pics you can start to see the camera reflections, but it is still not quite squared and sharp enough :-)

I am truly grateful for Tom and this little guy has earn a place in my heart, and my bench. I would never sell it at any price!



  1. I want to add a #2 to my herd but the prices I'm seeing tell it'll be a while if never that that happens. The picture of the sharpened iron looks like Damascus steel with the swirls it has.

  2. Yes the No 1 and 2 are rather pricy little buggers. I would have probably never own a No 2 , never mind a 602, but like I said, I got lucky :-)
    The swirls are caused by the reflections of the camera lens indicating a polished face. Not quite finished yet at that stage but getting there. These are old pictures taken when i refurbished it.
    Damascus steel, hummm i like it :-)

  3. That reminds me, on some of my old blades, you can clearly see the tell tale demarcation line between tool steel and carbon steel. A highly polished blade reveals it all and glide effortlessly on wood. Its a good thing :-)