Bench plane is the generic term for planes used for general joinery, carpentry and cabinet-making. Whilst many planes form the past were made entirely of wood (except the blade!), this style was superseded in design terms by the all-metal planes pioneered by Bailey towards the end of the 19th century and since produced in huge numbers by Stanley, Record and others.
Such is the influence of Bailey and the excellence of his design work that these planes are still known as Bailey-pattern and the design is essentially as defined by the company - at least on the better versions of the planes.
Much of the work of these specialist planes is today done by machinery but there's no comparison between the finish created by a finely set hand plane and that from a planing machine (US: jointer). And there are few more rewarding activities, in woodwork, than working with such a tool to create that masterpiece.
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