Thursday, June 14, 2018

The Bailey No 3 and 4 spokeshaves

Believed it or not, this is also in response to a question asked by Matt about a  Funky Spokeshave he found.  His is a EC Stearns copy of Leonard Bailey patent, so this is where it all start...

Leonard, yes that would be THE Leonard Bailey of the famed Bailey/Stanley bench planes fame, was involved with a few small companies to manufactures and sell his designs before and after being involved with Stanley Rule & Level Co.

One of them being, the Bailey, Chany & Co.  Manufacturers, Leonard Bailey and Jacob Chany, Boston Massachusetts 1868-1869
Pocket catalog of the firm, shows a full range of Bailey planes from No 1 thru 8 , wood bottom transitionals, and spokeshaves, all of Leonard`s design

In May of 1869, Leonard Bailey entered into an agreement with the Stanley Rule & Level Co of New Britain Connecticut.  The agreement provided exclusive rights to manufacture iron and wood bottom planes, spokeshaves and scrapers under patents issued to Leonard.

Seven (7) patents were involved  from Aug 7 1855 until Dec 24 1867
One of these is the July 13 1858

DATAMP screen shot

At the time that Stanley started producing them, Bailey had two (2) similar models, the No 3 with Gull wing and the No 4 with straight handles.

All the Bailey line of Spokeshaves from the No 1 to the No 9 were renumbered No 51 to 59.
These two in questions, thus became the No 53 and 54 Stanley spokeshaves

My Stanley No 53

And its brother, the No 54

My No 54 with its sturdy brazed job. A long ago repair of a previous owner
Notice it is older. Number is not cast on back and the screw adjuster is different

That Model No 54 just happened to be one of my first real tool I found, back in the early 90s. Always love that shave, it is a sweet user. The No 53 is a much more recent acquisition.

It is pretty well unique and therefore was imitated and still under production today by the German maker Kunz.

Its peculiar feature is the way the mouth adjust in front of the cutting edge.

Set for a fine cut. Notice the wear mostly in the center. 
Mea Culpa, and overdue for sharpening

It not only close or open the mouth to let pass finer or coarser shavings, but how it adjust, also change the sole geometry, the angle of attack changes.

Mouth fully opened

Mouth fully closed (for that blade projection)
Notice the change of radius of the sole.
This one flatter, above rounder

If you are used to conventional shaves, it can be a bit disconcerting at first, because you have to change how you hold the tool.  Ironically, for me, being THE shave I learned with first, it came more naturally. So either way, it's no big deal, and it works sweet once you get used to its quirks.


A number of competitors to Stanley also manufactured similar spokeshaves with an adjustable yoke, by the 1870s and later as the original Bailey patent was then expired.

Among them were
Cincinnati Tool Company
Under the same No 4 at first then changed to No 382.
It is thought that they cease manufacturing spokeshaves in the 1920s

Cincinnati Tool Co No 4 
pic from EBay

EC Stearns No 7 and No 8

EC Stearns No 7

It is not known when they started making tools (Established in 1864 according to some catalog copies) but it is believed that they started making spoke shaves in 1870. The company will last until 1956 making mostly lawn mowers by then, gas and manual. Spokeshaves were still listed in a price list of 1941.

Of all the copies, only the Cincinnati and Stearns had filigree on the adjustable yoke and they are often confused. The name Stearns or Cincinnati never appeared on the yoke

From TC Lamond book

OHIO Tool co No 053
An almost identical copy of the Stanley
Started manufacturing spokeshaves around 1900s. Will cease operation in 1920

From TC Lamond book

Edward Preston England
 Body casting similar to Stanley  Type 7 1972-1873 and Type 8 1898-1902
Never seen such an animal from Preston don't know Number either??
YES, there is a Type study on this Bailey spokeshave,
to be found inside the book from Thomas C Lamond

Record England blue No 053
From 1932 until 1943. They never made a No 054

Lovatt & Sons England (TEMA brand)
1930-1950.  The only one that is physically different

From TC Lamond book

Kunz, Germany
Still being made today, with plastic adjuster nut

Pic from Kuntz site

And Matt shave??

Pic from Matt blog

So there you have it, Matt spokeshave is a EC Stearns No 8 spokeshave of the later model (see filigree pattern and knurling on adj screw). Guessing 1930-40s from the knurling. I do not know when the yoke filigree changed.
A direct descendant of the original Leonard Bailey patent...

Bob, the tool detective


  1. Well, that settles that! Bob, thanks so much for this info - I don't know where you find the time ... But you also seem to know where to find the information and that's half the battle. I can't seem to find out what time frame this shave was made, but I'm guessing late 1800's to early 1900's. Thanks again.

  2. You're welcome Matt.
    I like doing that sort of research, but I do have to condensed the info I find to fit in a blog format.
    Realised after reading your comment that I should add more info about Stearns operating time frame. Updated my blog entry with a bit more info to help. Guessing your shave is late 20s-30s to the end of production late 40s early 50s.

    Just my best guess at this point


  3. Bob,

    As always an interesting read.

    Still waiting on the Marples chisels but a plow showed up today.


  4. Thanks Ken
    What kind of plow, a woodie??

    Bob, who gave Rudy ice cream and watermelon, its his birthday today, 3 years old

  5. What about Hargrave spokeshaves. Don’t they have the filigree pattern?

  6. Well hello Anonynous :-)
    Good question, confusing answer. It so happened that Martin and Hargrave, were brandname of the Cincinnati Tool Co. for some unclear reasons, the company started naming some of their tools in their line with the name of the then president of the company, first Martin, then Hardgrave. So short answer, they are indeed Cincinnati Tool Co spokeshave.