I'm a woodworking beginner trying to restore a Stanley no 5 and have run into problem with the blade hanging lower on one side.

I'm not sure if it was originally like this or something I did - I've flattened the sole, squared and sharpened the blade, and ran the frog over sandpaper a few times to remove dirt.

There are no noticeable issues with the mouth, it looks nice and square.

I think this may be something to do with the frog? Any ideas?

enter image description here

  • Hi, welcome to Woodworking and congrats on starting your hand-plane journey! Since you are a beginner are you aware of how 5s are generally set up i.e. what tasks they are set up to do? You can use a 5 essentially as a long-bed smoothing plane, but they are at their best either for A, coarse work (roughing jacks as they're called in the UK) or B, as a general do-many-things plane (jack of all trades). In either case you're going to want to at least knock the corners off that iron! Ideally with a jack you want the edge to be cambered (AKA radiused), and for a roughing jack quite noticeably.
    – Graphus
    Oct 6, 2021 at 7:00
  • It was only the second half of that Answer I wanted to point to. Shimming was only necessary in that case because of a rare fault in that user's frog; v unlikely yours is like that too. I know it might seem a little intimidating — after all there's so much else you have to pay attention to, all of which you're currently unfamiliar with — but you must learn to use the lateral anyway, right now, and it's no more likely to shift from position if set a little right or left of centre than it is if set closer to dead centre, if your plane is set up properly (lever-cap screw adjusted right). [contd]
    – Graphus
    Oct 6, 2021 at 15:17
  • If you do want a more permanent fix then it is to hone the iron appropriately, i.e. take material off the corner that's currently too low. Some users do this a little at a time over a number of honings until the edge is back to square, some choose to do it all at once and be done with it. Choose as suits your patience level and current sharpening equipment. *** BTW all this is assuming the frog is set correctly, completely parallel to the rear of the mouth. Be sure to check that first! If it's rotated just a tiny amount this is also how one corner of the iron can project more.***
    – Graphus
    Oct 6, 2021 at 15:20

1 Answer 1


You say Stanley no 5 so your plane is a Bailey pattern, which has a lateral-adjusting lever on the frog. Changing the angle of the cutting edge is the purpose of this lever. Push it towards the corner you want to pull up.

Here's how the lateral works as shown by instructions in Stanley documents:

enter image description here

enter image description here

P.S. If your plane is a very early model, "pre lateral" as it is called, or if the lever is broken from the frog you can still adjust. Using a small hammer hit lightly the side of the iron with the projecting corner.

  • My blade is offset even when lateral adjustment lever is centered, this is what I'm trying to fix
    – Al.
    Oct 6, 2021 at 6:26
  • 2
    @Al., I thought we had a previous Q&A that touched on this but I can't find it. Anyway, it's perfectly normal for the lateral not to be dead-centre when the plane iron projects evenly. One of my planes has a default position where the lever is very left of centre, and I've restored a few planes where the lateral had to be left or right. If it's excessive — needs to be all the way to one side or the other — it can sometimes be an issue (not for regular planing, for certain planing tasks), but if it's less than that it's generally fine. And on a 5 in particular it's unlikely to cause a problem.
    – Graphus
    Oct 6, 2021 at 6:51
  • @Al., found it! Second half of this Answer.
    – Graphus
    Oct 6, 2021 at 7:46
  • Thank you @Graphus, I may just use shims as suggested by other user. To make it straight means leaving the lateral adjustment lever at an odd in-between angle which I definitely going to mess up. If I feel brave I may even try filing the frog a bit to even it out.
    – Al.
    Oct 6, 2021 at 13:32

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