Advice needed on old Stanley plane blade retraction

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Your frog looks in the right place to me, (flush when a finger dragged across) and I wouldn't be concerned about having it adjustable. (as it's not a single iron plane)

You will be better off getting your iron sorted first, and seeing if the frog needs some tiny adjustment if it's skewed later on.
If you can get it where it needs to be without it moving when tightened, i.e no blob of paint or lump, then it's likely alright and you might not need touch it ever again,
I might have cleaned them once in a blue moon, say if it were really humid and I seen condensation.

I've never seen/read of a plane that honestly needed real work in regards to the frog being off.

Looks to me the old cap iron is good, keep that stuff, another double iron is handy to have around.

Probably best to see pics of your honing setup.
Does the blade lie flat on a bench, or could it need a tap flat.

The guide might be worth an inspection in regards to it being square when tightened.
This might explain things, cut to the part what I'm talking about.

thanks that's very useful
We came across this problem several times over the years. One manufacturer confirmed that two different C/B length had been used over the years.

A survey of user lengths would be interesting.

Length from front edge to front edge of slot is absolutely fundamental to proper use of adjustment mechanism.

The front edge of C/B fixes the position of blade edge, and the top end is fixed by the position of slot.

The peg on the yoke fits the slot and is most efficient when vertical to the frog slope. We do not have unlimited adjustment, as the peg can escape from the slot.

hope this is clear,

David Charlesworth
....The peg on the yoke fits the slot and is most efficient when vertical to the frog slope. We do not have unlimited adjustment, as the peg can escape from the slot....

Yes indeedy. This fact is frequently overlooked in the many instructions on fettling Bailey type planes. If everything is original & matching properly, the thumbwheel should also be somewhere near the centre of its stud or slightly on the frog side when the cam (or 'peg') is perpendicular to the bed slope so the normal range of adjustment falls in this efficient sector.

I have never encountered a situation where the cam slips right out of the slot. I would think it would have to be a very worn slot for that to occur with an original C/B because the cam should jam in the slot before it can escape. However, with thick after-market blades, the tip of the cam may barely reach the slot & I can see how it might come out in such cases. If the cam is engaging, but only just, the tapered tip has to move much further in either direction to push on the edge of the slot. This adds hugely to "backlash", and you may find the thumbwheel is almost falling off the stud before the blade is in a working position.

I only became aware of all this when I first tried to make a replacement cap-iron. The first attempt was not good, I made the slot about 2mm too far forward & a fraction wider than it should have been. Besides the extra backlash, the thumbwheel had to be wound way back to get the blade in a cutting position. At that point it was not only an obstruction, the loss of efficiency made it hard to turn, so no delicate adjustments were possible "on the go". Eventually, I sat down & studied the whole setup & finally twigged what the problem was.

'Tis a brilliantly simple& effective mechanism, but all the bits need to be matched for it to work smoothly & efficiently as Mr. Bailey intended.....:)
Just an update, after asking several sellers to measure the distance between the adjuster slot and bottom of the cap iron one of them sent a picture showing it to be shorter than mine so I bought it for £7.75 including postage. It arrived today and the blade now retracts properly. I noticed it has an 'S' stamped on it but I'm nor entirely sure what this means - e.g. Stanley or Short? I also sorted out the skewed bevel and the plane is working very well. Thanks for all the advice it is much appreciated.