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Vintage Hand Tools #2: The Keen Kutter K5 Plane

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Blog entry by Brandon posted 956 days ago 4698 reads 0 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: The Slippery Slope Part 2 of Vintage Hand Tools series Part 3: Tenon Saw Rehab »

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"



18 comments so far

View Don W's profile (online now)

Don W

14503 posts in 1155 days


#1 posted 956 days ago

that is eye candy. Very nice!!

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

7599 posts in 2639 days


#2 posted 956 days ago

That is absolutely WONDERFUL!

It’s nice to see good old tools be revived like that and end up better than new.

Thank you for sharing!

Great job!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

View ShaneA's profile

ShaneA

5212 posts in 1185 days


#3 posted 956 days ago

Looks awesome, what ever became of the Buck Bros plane? I really like the handle/knob, wood choice was very good.

View Brit's profile

Brit

5103 posts in 1430 days


#4 posted 956 days ago

Nice one Brandon.

-- Andy -- Old Chinese proverb say: If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it.

View Brandon's profile

Brandon

4136 posts in 1538 days


#5 posted 956 days ago

Thanks guys. I still have the Buck Bros plane and it can actually make an okay shaving, now that I know what I’m doing. I’m sure if I invested a little more time on it it would perform even better, but I’ve already got two other Jack planes so I’m not planning on investing much more in it. Plus it’s ugly. :-)

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View Mauricio's profile

Mauricio

6737 posts in 1739 days


#6 posted 955 days ago

Dude, my first plane was a Buck Brothers Jack, after spending a couple of hours trying to flatten the sole I returned it and went and got a Stanley block plane from Lowes. Not vintage, but works great.

That is a beautiful plane Brandon, nice shavings, enjoy.

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View Don W's profile (online now)

Don W

14503 posts in 1155 days


#7 posted 955 days ago

Buck Brothers Jack…..sounds like a Tennessee sour mash :-)

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View Mike's profile

Mike

66 posts in 969 days


#8 posted 954 days ago

Nice plane but I have a couple of questions, whats Evaporust, and where can I get it. I’m starting a restore on a baily no 4

-- But hon I need this tool.......

View Don W's profile (online now)

Don W

14503 posts in 1155 days


#9 posted 954 days ago

Evaporust is a rust remover. Some tractor supply’s carry it. Amazon has it along with several other internet resources.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View Brandon's profile

Brandon

4136 posts in 1538 days


#10 posted 954 days ago

Evaporust is ambrosia to the vintage tool deities. It seriously works wonders AND its non-toxic. I’ve used naval jelly, electrolysis, and other methods, but Evaporust is my favorite. And its reusable, so don’t throw it away after one use. Wait till its as black as oil. In addition to the locations that Don mentioned, you can purchase it at Autozone and Harbor Freight. Try to find it in the gallon size.

Best wishes on your Bailey #4 restoration. Don’t forget to take before pictures and post the restore here on Lumberjocks!

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View Don W's profile (online now)

Don W

14503 posts in 1155 days


#11 posted 954 days ago

View Mike's profile

Mike

66 posts in 969 days


#12 posted 952 days ago

Thanks for all the info I appreicate it, I tried navel jelly on it and that didnt do much rust removal, I post some pics soon, thanks again

-- But hon I need this tool.......

View Lifesaver2000's profile

Lifesaver2000

504 posts in 1699 days


#13 posted 952 days ago

Another source of Evaporust is O’Reilly Auto Parts. Toymike, I see in your profile where you are located, and the O’Reilly site shows five stores in or near your city. Price is about $23 per gallon.

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

7599 posts in 2639 days


#14 posted 952 days ago


Evapo-Rust

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

9510 posts in 1205 days


#15 posted 942 days ago

Missed commenting on this installment. I do like the K5 – funny how some jack planes just work better than others for no particular reason. I have a single low knob Stanley in my arsenal and it’s my go-to jack. Probably the blade’s camber, if I’d have to guess, but it just goes and goes when I reach for it. Sounds like your Keen Kutter is the same for you. Congrats, nice work.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

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