This was my first Stanley Bedrock. I purchased it on Ebay about a year
ago. After I took it out of the box I quickly rushed it down to the shop
to wrestle with a piece of maple. As expected, it cut nice long fine shavings.
They call the #5 the Jack plane because it is the jack of all trades.
I tend to agree. No, it can't do everything, but it does most things well.
It is long enough to flatten stock but also small enough that it is easy
to use. Sure it will follow the contours of the wood a little more than
a #7 or #8 but sometimes a little less heft comes in handy. The narrower
blade of the #5 is also going to push a little easier than the wider #7
Is the Bedrock line of planes worth the money? Is the frog all that great?
I'm not going to weigh in too heavily on that issue. If you have the money
for a Bedrock and you want one then by all means, it is worth it. Paying
for a Bailey when you want a Bedrock just doesn't make sense. Don't waste
money on a tool that you don't really want. You'll just end up with two
tools in the end. Tell me the last time you were happy when you decided
to cheap out on a tool. Enough said.
If you decide to purchase a jack plane whether is is a Bedrock or a Bailey
you really want to look at some of the older pre WWII planes. When I was
shopping around I noticed that you can buy a shiny new Stanley #5 for
under 70 bucks. While this may sound like a better deal than buying a
used one for roughly the same amount of money, be warned that you are
buying a tool of much less quality. The new ones come with plastic handles
and the overall quality of the tool is much lower. A nice, usable and
good looking pre WWII Jack plane can easily be purchased for around the
price of a brand new plastic handled plane. If you know what you're looking
for and you get a plane that is flat and free of cracks you'll be buying
a tool that you can pass on to your children's grandchildren.
Overall Rating 5 out of 6.