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Restoring Hand Planes.. My methods #2: Cleaning Brass and making it shine!

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Blog entry by Dan posted 1205 days ago 5722 reads 6 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Intro and first step of cleaning & rust removal Part 2 of Restoring Hand Planes.. My methods series Part 3: Re-painting the plane body »

Many old planes and tools featured brass elements such as screw caps, adjustment wheels ext ext. In most cases you cant even tell that its brass because of how dirty it is. Most all of the old Stanley planes have brass nuts on the knob and tote and a brass adjustment wheel. There are other makes that featured brass nuts and wheels as well.

If there is one area of the cleaning/restoring process where you spend a little extra time and effort this is it. When polished and cleaned the brass elements stand out over everything else. Sure it has no effect on the use of the tool but it makes it look great when its sitting on the bench, wall or shelf.

In my opinion Brass is much easier to clean and polish then steel. I use nothing more then some brass polish, fine grit sand paper and some Q-tips. I personally do all of this work by hand. I like doing this kind of thing in my house at the kitchen table or even in the recliner as I am watching tv. As time consuming as this stuff can be its much more comfortable doing in the house while you are relaxed. If you want to speed it up a Dremmel tool with a buffing attachment works fantastic for this also.

In most cases I can get the brass cleaned without sanding it at all. If I do need to sand I just cut a small square of 2000 grit wet/dry paper and sand the brass with the polish on it. I use Q-tips to polish the small parts as they just work best for me. Apply the polish and clean with your pad or Q-tip. The trick to a great shine is to just keep repeating this process until your pad or q-tips no longer turn black when buffing.

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I will show finished pictures of the planes at the end of the blog series. However here is a before and after of an old Disston hand saw that I restored. I used same process on the brass for the saw and it really stands out over everything else.

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Thats all for todays blog. I am doing this blog in a series as it takes a bit of time to load all the pics and resize them. In my next blog of the series I will discuss re-painting and sanding/polishing the plane soles.

Thanks for reading!

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"



18 comments so far

View Dennisgrosen's profile

Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 1616 days


#1 posted 1205 days ago

huu niiice looking saw there :-)
I know some wuold say overdone ,lost its value etc.etc.
but when it comes to a user tool it doesn´t matter ,what matters is that it a joy to take
the tool from the shelf and have a good feeling when you use it
and if thats meen you have to have a new shinny good looking tool …....then go for it :-)
I think we have seen some great shinny restorings the last year on L J

take care
Dennis

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2694 posts in 1787 days


#2 posted 1205 days ago

Good information

Thanks

-- She thought I hung the moon--now she just thinks I did it wrong

View Dan's profile

Dan

3542 posts in 1381 days


#3 posted 1205 days ago

Dennis- you are correct… Restoring tools is a hobby on its own. I find it challenging and very rewarding to go over board and make a hunk of rust look new. Some of them I use and some I may never use. I just enjoy the work of doing it.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View A10GAC's profile

A10GAC

187 posts in 1579 days


#4 posted 1205 days ago

Not to take away from the planes, but…did you put a new blade/backstrap on that saw? If not, how did you sharpen & recut the teeth on the blade? It almost looks like you changed it from a rather coarse cut to a fine cut.

The saw looks great BTW, looking forward to the finished plane.

-- Men have become the tools of their tools. - Henry David Thoreau

View againstthegrain's profile

againstthegrain

117 posts in 2253 days


#5 posted 1205 days ago

I’m loving this. Keep it up please!!!

-- Anchul - Warrensburg, MO: As a Pastor, I am just trying to get closer to Jesus. He was a woodworker too.

View Dan's profile

Dan

3542 posts in 1381 days


#6 posted 1205 days ago

A10GAC- I must not have noticed but it looks like I posted the wrong before picture of the saw. I restored a few old Disston saws that I had and I guess I didn’t look close enough before putting the pic up. I did not sharpen it at all. I plan to have them sharpened soon though. I don’t trust myself to do it myself. Here is a picture of the saw before, its the one on the top not the bottom.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View A10GAC's profile

A10GAC

187 posts in 1579 days


#7 posted 1204 days ago

Stiil, nice work, I love to see old tools put back into use. The backstrap and tooth pattern had me a bit confused; it cleaned up very well.

-- Men have become the tools of their tools. - Henry David Thoreau

View bigike's profile

bigike

4028 posts in 1789 days


#8 posted 1204 days ago

wow that brass polish works, cool.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop, http://www.icombadaniels@yahoo.com

View Dez's profile

Dez

1111 posts in 2578 days


#9 posted 1204 days ago

Nice restoration work!

-- Folly ever comes cloaked in opportunity!

View Dennisgrosen's profile

Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 1616 days


#10 posted 1202 days ago

Dan instead of using the expencive Brass polish and all that albow grease :-)
then let the chemi rule and try some of theese recipies

1.
1 teaspoon citrus acid
1 spoon dishwash soape liquide
1 Liter boiling water
put the brass in 2-4minuts and you shuold have clean brass
pure some clean water over the items after cleaning to stop the acid
2.
cover the item with a layer of yughurt , wrap them in some plastic kitchenfilm 2-3 hours
and wash them normaly and you shuold have clean brass

3.
cover the item with Ketchup ½ – 1 hour
and wash them normaly and you shuold have clean brass

one question ?

what do you use to polish that saw with after the evapro-rustremover

take care
Dennis

View Dan's profile

Dan

3542 posts in 1381 days


#11 posted 1201 days ago

Dennis- Thanks for the recipes I will try them. I am interested to see how they work.

I polished the saw with a metal polish that I got in the automotive dept of a store. I cant remember the name right now but it was just one of the many metal/steel polishes that they had on the shelf. I got one in the mid price range. I just rubbed it in and then buffed it by hand with a clean buff pad. I repeated that process a number of times until I had a good shine.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View Dennisgrosen's profile

Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 1616 days


#12 posted 1201 days ago

thank´s Dan I will look in those kind of thores here in Denmark and see whats possiple to get :-O

the recipies I havn´t tryed them myself yet but have heard about them many many times over
the years from housewife´s ….LOL
except for the citrus acid threatment that was from this site , its a great site for galoot´s …lol

http://www.wkfinetools.com/contrib/jThompson/howTo/rust_CitricAcid/rust_CitricAcid1.asp

take care
Dennis

View Dennisgrosen's profile

Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 1616 days


#13 posted 1201 days ago

sorry Dan the link I gave you was for rust on iron and that reciepee is a little different
but the recipie you got first with citric acid works for brass

Dennis

View Beginningwoodworker's profile

Beginningwoodworker

13335 posts in 2174 days


#14 posted 1201 days ago

Nice looking saw.

-- CJIII Future cabinetmaker

View Brett's profile

Brett

615 posts in 1184 days


#15 posted 1112 days ago

Cotton string works well to polish the two grooves around the rim of the brass adjusting nut. Rub some polish in the grooves with a Q-tip, loop the string around the rim, and rotate the nut while keeping the string tight.

-- More tools, fewer machines.

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