Adventures with a Faithfull no. 7 plane

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4 Feb 2006
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Having a decent No.6 and No.8 would do, I thought, when the wallet was flush. But the big plane with it's wide blade, great for edging, is a heavy push on a surface. A good new No.7 is a pricy item, and even second hand could cost you 3 figures with no guarantee the sole is reasonably flat.
Thus I chanced my arm with a 45 quid Faithfull - quite interesting... What a meaty lump of cast iron! It weighs well over 10 lbs (4.6kg; the No.8 goes 4.7kg)). The sides are almost 6mm thick. It appears to be carefullly surface ground (no linishing). It's also quite flat; on a surface plate a 1.5 thou feeler can be slid under at a few places, increasing to 2 thou shows only slight penetrationat the ends, which is less than 3 thou. Thus it looks flat to the old BS (+/-1.5 thou) plane standard.
It's not all good news. The handles are matt varnished hardwood, but the tote is smaller than usual, Replacing it with an old Record tote required some filing of the replacement as the fixings are not quite the same. Tedious, but do-able. The frog bed machining of the plane body was OK, but the frog itself was quite concave so as to leave the centre of the cutting edge unsupported. Probably rectifiable with a lot of patience, but I had an old solid front style Record frog that was already flat. To fit this required some filing of a wayard knob of cast metal between the two rear frog mating surfaces. The older type of (frog) mouth adjuster has a different thread so will not fit. This was replaced by a 1/4 UNC capscrew so as to control just the rearward movement of the frog. This is not too serious as the mouth is not likely to be frequently adjusted. The capscrew is easily rotated by a ball end allen key.
With various odds and ends on the shelf, handles, frog, choice of cap irons and blades, it's given me a useful plane for 45 quid. If you have small hands, you'd be happy with the tote supplied. The 2 piece cap iron used, is not now available, nor the spare old original Clifton blade. Adding a Record lever cap took the overall weight to 4.6kg. If it had proved to be a bent bannana it would have gone back for replacement.