I got a "new" (to me) no. 4. It's a Stanley-made, Craftsman c557b.
The good: it was really clean. I was able to flatten the sole, the bedding a area of the frog, and the frog's mating surface in about an half an hour. The frog sits firm in the sole with no rocking. The iron needed a little work but not too much, and it is now shaving-sharp. It gives nice smooth surfaces on pine, walnut, and mahogany.
The bad: I thought I had done my due diligence, but I mistook it for an older model. So, it has one of the lightweight aluminum frogs, rather than the preferable cast iron ones. The lateral adjuster is really tight. Like, tight enough that it's hard to adjust tiny amounts without over-doing it. The images of the frog are from before tuning.
The ugly: it gives me a lot of chatter and stops dead a lot on harder woods, like oak and cherry. Closing the mouth to the point I can barely see through the slot helps some, but not a huge amount. Ditto with setting the chip breaker.
The real kicker is that I can get silky smooth ribbons and cuts on those exact same pieces of wood with my Grandfather's Great Neck no. 3, which is not exactly what people would call a high-end piece. Apart from the size, the only real difference is that the Great Neck had a cast iron frog.
Is there anything I've missed? I've watched dozens of plane tuning videos and have successfully tuned up my no. 3, no. 6, and a cheap Buck Brothers no. 4 I to a scrub plane. I thought i might have gotten a good deal on a nice no. 4 to be a smoother, but not if it under-performs a smaller, "cheaper" made plane.
Is there any possibility of a cast iron frog that fits this plane bed? The frog from my other no. 4 doesn't fit - the geometry is way different and is more like the classic Stanley Bailey/Bedrock design.
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