Of course it wasn't until yesterday that I realised that post should really have been called "Mess Observation". D'oh.
Anyway, the results are in - settle down class. Chapman Minor and A N Other tie in second place but Wenzloff Major is top of the form simply because he came up with some extra possible problems that I hadn't even considered yet. All right Wenzloff, settle down - is that gum you're chewing? Have you brought enough for the rest of the upper fourth? No? Put it away and I'll see you after class...
So Exhibit A - Frau Frankenplane
"I may have the body and frog of a blue and British Record 010, but I have the iron and lever cap of a Stanley plus the cap iron of a Record #3" as Elizabeth 1st might have said. Or maybe not. The sole is not just rusty, but pitted, which no-one seemed to view as a problem? (Alas, everyone says that until you come to try and sell them a plane with an area of pitted sole...) Amazingly it doesn't appear to have any cracks in the cheeks, because that's the one thing I remembered to check.
Now this is where I offer up a Valuable Lesson on the Duplicitous Ways of Tool Dealers.
Said seller did the classic honest-as-the-day-is-long manoeuvre - and assiduousy pointed out that the cap iron was incorrect. "I wouldn't want you to find out later and be annoyed" etc. Well of course if you're already in a befuddled state you act like a moron and don't say to yourself "so what else is wrong with it?" like you usually would. H'oh no, you come over all trusting and STOOPID. Sigh. So I sort of took in the Stanley lever cap (hard to miss) but bethought myself cunning on the issue of the cap iron 'cos I'm fairly sure I have one spare. Somewhere. If I can find it. So I was thinking I was maybe having one over on the seller a little bit, 'cos he didn't know that the fault he was pointing out I was in a position to easily rectify. On that basis perhaps I deserved to miss the repaired horn on the tote... I mean it's no biggie, but it does annoy me slightly that this saintly "wouldn't want you to find out later" character had stuck the price tag right over the repair.
Anyway, I vacillate madly between thinking it's not so bad and with a bit of work it'll clean up to a good user right over to feeling I should put myself out of my humiliation and just toss it in Falmouth Harbour at the earliest opportunity. Heigh ho. I won't do the latter of course; it seems to have the older style frog for a start, so it's worth the effort.
Exhibit B -The Visitor from The Colonies
Hands up, how many people not living in North America have seen a knuckle joint lever cap block plane? In the wild? Yeah, exactly. That's one of my excuses (see the price tag above as one of the others) - the excitement of a #19 Sweetheart example went to my head. I ignored the orange front knob (I don't even know if that's a Stanley thing at one time, so unschooled am I in a type of plane I never usually see), I ignored the leetle bit of rust, the couple of tiny chips out of the back of the mouth (would have taken a good educated guess to spot those, folks, so don't beat yourselves up about it), the worn plating on the lever cap was just a charming illustration of the craftsman's hands that had gone before me. I put all these things aside. The block plane was even slightly comforting to me after I took in more of the 010's delights.
Three days it took me for the penny to drop. Three days. It took Paul less than three hours to spot the missing lateral adjuster.