The first bench plane that I purchased was a Buck Bros jack plane. I bought it at Home Depot on a whim. I typically like to research products before purchasing them, but I failed to do that with this plane. It looked nice enough, but I didn’t really know what to look for at the time. Alas, my Buck Bros plane was a big disappointment because I didn’t know how to tune it up and it left a rough, chunky finish on the wood. I wanted to know what was so special about those hand planes that everyone liked to rave about, but my Buck Bros failed to give me a satisfactory answer. This changed when, a few months later, my father-in-law offered to give me some old and rusted hand tools that belonged to his father: mostly saws, drills, and a few hand planes. Two of the planes turned out to be gems in the making: The Keen Kutter K5 plane and the Stanley 45 plane.
The K5 plane was made by Stanley and is built exactly like their Bedrock planes. It also has a corrugated sole. It was obviously a very high quality plane, but it needed a ton of work due to years of neglect. The whole plane was rusted and covered with dirt. The mouth was unevenly filed and enlarged. The tote was cracked in the middle and the horn busted off. The japanning was hit or miss. The iron was poorly sharpened. Unfortunately I neglected to take a photo of it in this state, but believe me it was bad. So how did I go about refurbishing it?
- Soaked all the pieces (sans tote and knob) in a bucket of Evaporust. The Evaporust worked wonders on removing the rust.
- Removed all the loose japanning and painted the sole black, using Rustoleum hammered finish spray paint.
- Made an extra effort at flattening the sole.
- Turned a new knob and carved a tote out of Cebil (Patagonian Rosewood). The knob isn’t the exact shape I was going for, but it’s based on the older Stanley low knobs (this plane originally came with a low knob). I’m pretty happy with this choice of wood for the plane because it’s a nice medium shade and has some beautiful wood grains and colors.
- Installed a new Lie-Nielson iron and a Lie-Nielsen chipbreaker in order to fill in the enlarged mouth.
- Filed the mouth so that it is even.
With the new LN cutter and chipbreaker, this plane performs like a dream and is comparable to premium hand planes produced today. It has easily become my favorite bench plane to work with and has a special place in the shop since it belonged to my wife’s grandfather. It has also made my father-in-law very happy to see his father’s tools given new life and being cared for.
Now on to the eye candy.
-- "hold fast to that which is good"