No. 4 Smoother Restoration, with Emphasis on Repairing a Chipped Knob

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Blog entry by Bugnurd posted 02-02-2015 02:23 PM 1404 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch


I’d like to share with the world my restoration of a Stanley No. 4 smoothing plane. I picked up this plane last spring off C-list. Here's a post from when I got it if you are interested in seeing more “before” photos. It seems to be a type 13 example, which dates the plane between 1925-1928. Rust was pretty much only surficial, and the original jappaning was about 95% intact.

Here’s what she looked like as found:

Cleaning up the plane was pretty straightforward. An abrasive pad, a can of WD-40 and a couple gallons of elbow grease got her all gussied up and ready for a night on the town. The only issue was with the blade. Apparently the previous owner thought they could use it as a chisel, and the top was mushroomed a bit. The blade was also slightly bent (I think the previous owner was related to Primitive Pete. If you don’t get that reference, please watch this video, it’s very entertaining). It was also hammered on to repair the bend, albeit unsuccessfully. Luckily I had an extra blade that I picked up for pennies at a yard sale. Not only was it pristine, but was also a Sweetheart logo blade of the same era as this plane. Perfect.

Now I needed to turn my attention to the knob. As you can see, it was missing a chunk.

An esteemed associate of mine procured what he thought was a small chunk of rosewood to fix it. The tropical hardwood wasn’t rosewood, but I decided to use it anyway. I think it may be Wenge?

I first sanded the chipped surface flush so that it mated flush with the mystery wood.

I used regular wood glue, and clamped the piece on.

When it dried, I roughly shaped the piece with rasps and files. I don’t have a proper bench and vise yet, so I use hand screw clamps for all my work holding needs. They are actually very versatile.

Next, I chucked the knob in my ghetto lathe, and went at it with some 120 grit paper. The final result was pleasing, even if the color didn’t match.

And so, the moment you’ve all been waiting for. I present my new, nonagenarian smoothing plane.


-- Marc -- Worcester, MA

7 comments so far

View Puffball's profile


43 posts in 1237 days

#1 posted 02-02-2015 02:44 PM

Nice – it gives me hope when I see some of them on ebay that need some TLC.

How well does it plane?

View eldercop's profile


61 posts in 1533 days

#2 posted 02-02-2015 02:50 PM

Really slick method for an often needed repair. Thanks for posting

-- "Experience is what you get the day after you needed it" Mark Twain

View handsawgeek's profile


645 posts in 1420 days

#3 posted 02-02-2015 06:30 PM

Nice save! That plane really cleaned up well. Bravo!

-- Ed

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 2509 days

#4 posted 02-02-2015 07:41 PM

Nice job. If it’s stupid but it works, then it isn’t stupid.

-- Brian Timmons -

View Grumpymike's profile


2260 posts in 2340 days

#5 posted 02-02-2015 08:35 PM

I’m not trying to one up you, but jut comparing notes. I found my #4 at a yard sale, the guy made me pay $7 for it … took it home and turned the blade around the right way and worked fairly well before I sharpened the blade.
This has become one of my favorites. I hope that you put yours to work and enjoy it as much.
The knob turned out just great.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View Bugnurd's profile


105 posts in 1615 days

#6 posted 02-02-2015 11:30 PM

Thanks a lot everyone.

Mjtool – I just have to lap the sole and sharpen the blade, but I see noreason why it shouldn’t work like a champ.

Eldercop – I can’t take credit for the method. I’m sure I got the idea from fellow lumberjocks. Just glad to show that complete amateurs with minimal tools can do a plane justice.

BTimmons – great quote, I’ll have to remember that one!

Grumpymike – what a deal! I’ve gotten my fair share of killer tool scores from yard sales. That’s really the place to get good stuff for a song, but you do have to put in some legwork. Looking forward to the spring, when people start cleaning out the barn!

-- Marc -- Worcester, MA

View Rick's profile


9711 posts in 3057 days

#7 posted 02-03-2015 12:24 AM

Nice work on that knob! Well done Marc!


-- LIFE is what happens when you're planning on doing Other Things!

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