Restoring Hand Planes.. My methods #3: Re-painting the plane body

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Blog entry by Dan posted 01-10-2011 07:57 PM 18121 reads 6 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Cleaning Brass and making it shine! Part 3 of Restoring Hand Planes.. My methods series Part 4: Sanding and Polishing the body and metal parts »

Its been a little bit since I have added to this series but I have been very busy as of late. This blog will focus on re-painting the plane body and frog.

This is one thing that I usually skip over when restoring planes. Most of the planes I have restored still had pretty decent japanning and showed only minor chipping and wear. That is fine with me, especially if I am going to be using them. However I have restored planes where the japanning was so damaged that I felt they needed a new paint job.

I have seen a number of different methods to doing this and a lot of them are more detailed then mine. I am personally ok with just a simple and cheap paint job that will look good and hold up. I also don’t always strip all of the old japanning off the plane. You MUST scrap or sand off any loose finish but if your just looking for a minor touch up you don’t have to remove all the old finish. I recently finished my #7 Stanley Jointer plane and that plane was in super rough shape. That one I removed all of the old finish. To do that I used my drill press with a wire brush attachment. Paint strippers will work if your removing a lot. After hitting it with the wire brush for a while I went in by hand with some sand paper and sanded everything smooth. I first applied two coats of primer, sanding after each coat then I used some spray paint that I bought at an automotive store. I applied 3 or 4 coats of the final finish.

There are many different spray paints and I am sure many of them will work just fine. The paint I used works great for me but may not be the best choice for someone else. I just went with fast, simple and easy. I don’t like re painting them, its just not a fun thing for me to do so I wanted easy.

Just make sure to take your time in the prep work. Removing all loose japanning from the old finish, sanding everything smooth, wash the surface thats to be painted very well and make sure all loose dirt/rust is off, tape the parts that you don’t want painted and then apply the primer and finish in multiple coats.

The Jointer plane is the plane that I used the spray paint on, the #3 shows how I taped it off. I don’t have a finished pic of the #3 yet but as you can see with the #7 the new paint job looks much better then the before pic.

Thats all for this blog. Not the best blog for info on painting. I will spend a lot more time in the next blog talking about polishing and sanding the rest of the sole and then I will show all my before and after pics.

Thanks for reading

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

5 comments so far

View ratchet's profile


1389 posts in 3211 days

#1 posted 01-10-2011 09:35 PM

Holy smokes thats quite a transformation. Nice work Dan.
Don’t forget to include the obigatory shaving pic when complete.
Thanks for sharing.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10850 posts in 2539 days

#2 posted 01-11-2011 01:18 AM

still nice and informative Dan :-)

thankĀ“s for taking your time to make the picture book and share with us

take care

View smitty22's profile


694 posts in 2371 days

#3 posted 01-11-2011 03:45 AM

Thanks, looking forward to the metal polishing info. Tried my belt sander on one plane but probably not the best choice.

-- Smitty

View Dan's profile


3630 posts in 2304 days

#4 posted 01-11-2011 06:03 AM

Ratchet- I never thought of shaving pics but since you brought it up I will be sure to add some. Thanks

Dale- I have never used a belt sander on them I think thats probably over kill. Sanding and polishing the sides does not require nearly as much as what most may think. I will hopefully have the next blog up within a few days.


-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View Disneytodd's profile


31 posts in 802 days

#5 posted 08-07-2016 01:28 AM

I have used a brush on oil paint because I can get almost the same finish as the original jappaning I have only done my egg beater drill and it’s like new and I plan to reduce all my planes soon.

-- Focus on what you can do not what you can't do!

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