Right, this here #39 dado plane then. I decided I'd sharpen up the blade and spur cutters and see how it went, rather than leap into correcting stuff that might not even need it. The iron looked pretty rough but polished up very quickly. This is a Bad Thing - suggesting, as it does, that the blade has all the edge-holding ability of a processed cheese slice. Oh well.
The nickers? Well judge for yourself if I was justified in having some doubts about them. At least, being soft as butter, it was easy to turn the bevel into something approaching an edge.
The bevel end is the one on the left in both pics - possibly not immediately obvious in the side-on shot...
The blade bed is a fetching shade of blue - all over. D'oh. I looked at it, shuddered, and stopped looking. To be fair the bottom few millimeters is milled (and then painted) but only the extreme forward point of the blade is supported on it.
The rest is suspended in mid air. If this thing works it's going to be a miracle... On the other hand, the blade width was spot on and I was able to set it just right between the two spur cutters without the fiddling I'd feared.
But hey, miracles do happen sometimes, so I took it for a spin. I can see exactly what Blood & Gore means about them being uncomfortable for the front hand. I managed in the end by bridging over the obstacles on the toe in a sort of pinching holding.
Okay for a short test run, but not great for any quantity of use. On the other hand there aren't many scruples floating about when it comes to tapping a 20 quid plane made the day before yesterday, so something might be done about it.
So after all that, so many "oo, you don't want that feature on your plane, missus" boxes ticked, how did it perform actually doing the job for which it was intended? Dammit, the blasted thing worked a treat! Yeah, okay, so I had to concentrate on holding it plumb 'cos the sole wasn't, and it just about managed two 1/4" deep housings before the iron needed sharpening again, but really, it was pretty damn good. I might take the trouble to square up the sole a little better, just to let me be lazy when it comes to using it, and something about the front grip would be nice - but on the whole it ain't broke so I don't see myself fixing it.
Unless I get really bored one rainy day...