Lie-Nielsen Blade Upgrade

Part III: Bailey No. 4-1/2 type 17

by Cian Perez

This artcle first appeared as a thread on theWoodNet woodworking forum. It was compiled and reproduced here for easier public consumption.

Well, this is the last addition to the Lie-Nielsen-implanted-into-Bailey experiments.

This time around it is a Rarebear 4-1/2 type 17 (shown here prettied up with new brass and rosewood):

I was originally going to retrofit a massive .140" Lie-Nielsen blade into this very willing recipient. The .140" blade is standard fair on the larger planes (4-1/2+) in the Lie-Nielsen line-up. The only thicker Lie-Nielsen bench plane blade is their 3/16" monstrosity they have on their #8. I had also procured one of Lie-Nielsens new 1/8" thick chipbreakers which they are making available as upgrade options on their planes nowadays.

Right off the bat, though, the .140" blade had no hope on making it through the sole without a file job on the 4-1/2's mouth. I was (and still am) highly resistant to do any filing on my planes due to my own fears of damaging them. I figure to best leave that exercise to the pros.

So I placed this whole assembly on the shelf and went forth and ventured with this same endeavor with my custom .125" Lie-Nielsen blades and found success with both a Record No. 7 and a Bailey 5-1/2 type 11.

Well, now here we are again. I figure I better face my fear with this .140" blade.

So I picked up my Record No. 7 this evening and realized that there was a possibly that the frog may not be in its most rearward position. Hmm. So I popped off the .125" blade and checked the frog alignment, and sure enough, it wasn't. The ol' noodle is startin' to overheat now... My thought was if I could successfully utilize the .140" blade on this plane, then this would free up the .125" blade to try on the 4-1/2.

Well, with a few blade on-and-off and frog alignment/adjustment trials, I actually found that the .140" blade does fit rather nicely in the big Record.

So, now we have a new Lie-Nielsen .125" heavy chipbreaker and .125" blade looking for a new home.

If you're wondering how much thicker this assembly is, here's a few close-ups in comparison to the stock blade and chipbreaker that came on the 4-1/2:

If you think the blade on the left is imposing, the .140" blade is even LARGER!!!

Anyway, with no adjustment of the frog on the 4-1/2 (it was already in its most rearward position from earlier trials with the .140" blade), I installed the new blade assembly, replaced the lever cap, proceeded to engage the blade with the depth adjuster, and . . .

"What is this?" Nudge blade left...

"Is this light I see???" Nudge blade slightly right...

I started to project the blade to what seemed beyond any realistic cutting depth and held it up again to the light, and sure enough, there was light clear across the top of the throat! And evenly spaced too! But man does that look tight!.

So the guinea-pig cherry board gets thrown on and clamped again to my worktable (I don't have a proper bench yet ), and LO AND BEHOLD: SHAVINGS!!!


So, yeah, add another notch to the Lie-Nielsen-blade-into-Bailey-retrofit-success column. Furthermore, it's becoming quite apparent to me that the .125" blade is the absolute maximum that these Baileys can hold, at least the ones that have blessed my shop. In the future, I may forego the .140" blades and will simply order more custom .125" blades should the need arise.

Do note that .125" is the standard size on Lie-Nielsen's normal size planes (#3, #4, #5, etc.). It's when you get to the predatory sizes (#4-1/2, #5-1/2, #6, and #7) that Lie-Nielsen moves up to the .140" blade. Thus necessitating the "custom order" nature of these .125" blades for the larger plane widths. Luckily, LN didn't charge me anything additional to make these! Now that's a class act.

So here we are gang - a Rarebear restored Bailey 4-1/2 type 17 upgraded with new rosewood, brass, a Lie-Nielsen .125" chipbreaker, and a Lie-Nielsen .125 cryo A2 blade:


Related links:

Part I: Lie-Nielsen Blade on Record 07

Part II: Lie-Nielsen Blade on Bailey 5-1/2 type 11


Return to How-To Index / Woodworking

©2010 Cian Perez /