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Bailey Smoothing Plane No. 4 by Stanley

Item #
58% of 100

The Stanley Model 12-904 Bailey® Smoothing Plane is a fine general-purpose bench plane. It has a cast-iron base with precision-ground sides and 9-3/4" long bottom. It features a fully machined and polished double-iron cutter and lever, and the 2" wide cutter is made from hardened, tempered steel for durability. The solid brass cutter-adjustment knob allows precise control of depth and alignment, and the frog seat is machined for precise mouth adjustment. A quick-release cam lock makes iron removal easy. Contoured, polished high-impact polymer handles and knobs offer comfort and durability. Honing recommended before use.

  • Gray, cast-iron base with precision-ground sides and 9-3/4" long bottom
  • Durable epoxy coating provides long-lasting protection
  • Hardened, tempered steel gives precision-ground cutter edge durability
  • Fully machined and polished double-iron cutter and lever
  • Frog seat is machined for precise mouth adjustment
  • Cutter adjusts for depth and alignment, offering precise control
  • Solid-brass cutter-adjustment knob
  • Quick-release cam lock makes iron removal easy
  • Kidney-shaped hole in lever cap helps secure cutter in place
  • Contoured, polished high-impact polymer handles and knobs
(1) Bailey Smoothing Plane No. 4 by Stanley
More Information
Brand Stanley
Manufacturer Part Number 12-904
Weight 4.4000
Tech Spec
  • 2" wide cutter
Type Smoothing Planes
2.9 / 5.0
12 Reviews
5 Stars
4 Stars
3 Stars
2 Stars
1 Star
Very nice plane made in England
I’ve had mine for about 20 years. It’s made in England. My plane was flat out of the box and required minimal setup. It does a great job.
December 29, 2017
Woodworking Experience:
I recently purchased this model, and...
I recently purchased this model, and within 2 hours while was also grilling chicken, I had this set up and functioning ideally. Like the previous review, I found the sole not flat, but that is common in Stanley planes dating back to the 60's. The casting process introduces internal stresses that change over the early life of a casting, the green phase. For this reason many old engine block manufactures let their casting season for a period of time outside before they send them out for machining to ensure dimmensional accuracy. Planes are no different. It seems that they are a little green when they are machined, probably due to trying to cut down on inventory I would guess. It is possible at this time, that the casting may still be green and may need a second flattening later.I digress, I had mine flat with about an hours worth of work. Lots of methods exist, I used my table saw top with some spray adhesive on the back of successive grits of sandpaper...I didn't have glass handy. Tip: Get good sandpaper for the task, it will make your job a whole lot easier. They come with a 25 deg. bevel on the cutting iron, and state in the instructions to hone this to 30 degrees. This took minimal time. I rounded the corners, as I am going to use it for smoothing. The frog was close, but again with carefull use of a file, and some jigging on my workbench, I had this flat and making great contact in little time. Wisp thin continuous ribbon cutting is possible and not all that difficult to achieve.I needed a tool, not a peice of artwork for my shop and this is going to work perfectly for my tasks. If anyone without experience were to go pick it up and try to take off mill marks from my jointer, they would find it up for the task.Great value for the dollar, and if you educate yourself on how to properly set it up for your use, and have some basic skills with a file and sandpaper you will find this tool very well suited for your use.If you ware looking for an heirloom and one tuned perfectly from the manufacture, this may not be what you are looking for. The value of that added cost was not there in the high end planes in my opinion. I would however use one if it was given to me.
February 8, 2011
Solid but for plastic horn...
Solid contractor grade bench plane. I don't know when they started using plastic horns and handles and I'm not a fan at all, but still a solid bench plane for the price.
January 3, 2020
7 months ago
Woodworking Experience:
Starting from the beginning
I've been a finish carpenter for 30yrs but never had much use for a hand plane, I'm trying to learn the art of it, it's not as easy as it looks. The plane itself is awesome and I'm ready to plane the world.
May 25, 2017
over 3 years ago
Woodworking Experience:
When I got the plane it had a chip in the blade, although it obviously had never been used.
January 6, 2018
Needs a lot of work...
It took considerable time to lap the sole and flatten the backside of the iron. In addition, I had trouble with the chip breaker slipping on the iron when adjusting. I tried tempering the chip breaker to stiffen it, but i don't think there is enough carbon content in the steel as it didn't help much. I ended up buying the Veritas chip breaker and polished the top side of the frog and that did the trick. I also added a rosewood tote and knob. All together I've put a lot of hours and money into this thing. It's a nice plane now but I really wish I had bought one off of eBay. Other Bailey pattern planes I've bought since then off of eBay have taken some tuning and that's it.
September 30, 2015
Woodworking Experience:
Like the previous reviewers stated, Stanley...
Like the previous reviewers stated, Stanley planes need a good amount of work before they are ready for what they are designed for. Without an adjustable mouth, it's impossible to create a very fine opening 1/64 " which is what you want on a smoothing plane. I should have paid a little more and bought a Sweetheart version of this plane.
May 5, 2011
A Stanley like the #4 is...
A Stanley like the #4 is a good tool in process. It requires considerable tuning to make it work well. For me, an intermediate woodworker and tool sharpener, it took an entire afternoon to turn it into a pleasurable instrument. I had the same experience several years ago with a Stanley #7. Lapping the sole of the #4 took 1.5 hours and a lot of sandpaper. Do not believe Stanley when it tells you on the box that the sole is flat. My biggest complaint was the poor machining on the back of the frog, since the mating of the frog with the plane body is so important.I knew I was getting a plastic knob and tote with this model, but I hope my grandson will still want it when I am gone. Most of the pain in getting off tool marks and putting on a mirror surface is a one-time event. I now have a good plane for a third or fourth the cost of a premium model.
November 1, 2010
Stanley Bailey #4 Plane
It's taking a lot of work to get this plane ready for work. The plane iron had a significant belly in it that resisted flattening until I tapped in a bit of a reverse curve. The body casting had a casting bump in the throat that had to be removed before the plane iron would extend. The bottom of the casting is sufficiently bellied that I am currently rubbing it down on wet dry paper.
April 4, 2019
1 year ago
Woodworking Experience:
Stanley #4
I bought new a Stanley #4 and a #5. I worked on the #5 first, flattening the sole, smoothing the edges, and honing the blade. It was easy work and the plane exceeds my expectations. The #4 is a different matter. On first inspection, the mouth was not cut square, with it out of square on the heel side. I didn't like it, but knew it would not affect the workability of the plane. I then set out to flatten the sole. After 24 sheets of 60 grit sandpaper and well over a 1000 strokes, it is not even close to being flat. and to make it worse, the low spot is in the back half of the sole, which will affect how the plane works. I got a bad one and I'm stuck with it. I knew when I purchased these planes that they would require some work to tune, but the #4 was machined so badly, my only option may be to take it somewhere and have it machined flat. I've used Stanley hand tools for years and have been happy with them, but I have purchased my last Stanley hand plane.
March 26, 2019
Woodworking Experience:
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Browse 4 questions Browse 4 questions and 5 answers
Why did you choose this?
Rockler Store
Everyone talks about a vintage hand plane, but what's wrong with a new one? nothing, that's what.
Qoheleth on Sep 17, 2019
needed thus type plane for my woodwork collection
Claude M on Jan 28, 2019
Everyone talks about a vintage hand plane, but what's wrong with a new one? nothing, that's what.
Qoheleth on Sep 17, 2019
Getting started with traditional woodworking.
Lee D on Apr 28, 2019
needed thus type plane for my woodwork collection
Claude M on Jan 28, 2019
need a good model No. 4 plane for wood working tool box gift I am making
Claude M on Jan 14, 2019
my son asked for this
Nicole P on Dec 10, 2018
looking for a good plane and your item looked like a good fit for me.
Edwina R on Feb 5, 2018
as above
Brian M on Dec 2, 2017
I needed it for a few projects.
John P on Oct 3, 2016
To make wooden square
Bryan K on Feb 4, 2016
Suits my budget
Vignaraja K on Oct 2, 2015
affordable first #4 hand plane
JOHN P on Sep 13, 2015
Getting started with traditional woodworking.
Lee D on Apr 28, 2019
need a good model No. 4 plane for wood working tool box gift I am making
Claude M on Jan 14, 2019
Where are these new Stanley Bailey planes made?
Russ W on Jun 16, 2016
BEST ANSWER: Stanley's bench planes are currently made in Mexico.
Where can I get a replacement cutter?
chuck on Feb 29, 2016
BEST ANSWER: OEM replacements are not too easy to get, but you can easily get an improved blade, like #55183 "Spare Blade for Bench Dog® Tools No. 4 and No. 5 Planes."
Spare Blade for Bench Dog No. 4 and No. 5 Planes
Spare Blade for Bench Dog No. 4 and No. 5 Planes
Bailey Smoothing Plane #04 by Stanley

Item #: 11057 Is the cutting end of the blade square or rounded?
George D on Aug 6, 2017
BEST ANSWER: Unless you are buying a scrub plane, all planes come with square ends but if you want round, just use a stone and round the sides.
Knob and handle material?
Tom Z on Aug 13, 2018
BEST ANSWER: The knob and tote are made from plastic.