Restoring Hand Planes.. My methods #9: Stanley Bailey # 7 complete restore w pics!

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Blog entry by Dan posted 03-14-2011 08:11 PM 12825 reads 7 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 8: Complete restore of my Stanley #5 Jack Plane w finished pics Part 9 of Restoring Hand Planes.. My methods series Part 10: Stanley #103 Block/Pocket Plane restored and upgraded! w pics »

Ahhhh the No. 7 my toughest and most challenging restoration yet. I won this big hunk of rusted metal off Ebay for 38.00. Thats a rather good deal when you look at what most No. 7 planes sell for on Ebay.

This plane was in worse shape then any of other bench planes I had restored. It was covered in rust, had countless dings and scratches all over the sides and bottom and the front knob was an obvious home made replacement. On the bright side most all of the original japanning was rusted right off of the body so it didn’t take me long to strip the old finish. The first thing I did as I do with all my restorations is scrub clean the entire plane wipe it dry then soak it over night in EvapoRust. As much rust as this plane had I was surprised to find that the EvapoRust took all of the rust off. I really cant express enough how great that product works. Once out of the EvapoRust I scrubbed it down again with an abrasive pad and washed it clean.

The next step I take is to lap and or clean the sides of the plane. I like to do this before I repaint the plane so that the new paint job doesn’t get all that junk on it. This was a bit of a challenge due to the size of this plane. The piece of plate glass that I have for lapping was not quite large enough so I had to do the best I could with what I had. My goal here was not really to get the sides flat but rather to remove as many of the dings and scratches as I could. I lapped it as flat as I could or wanted to and then finished sanding the sides by hand. This part took a long time and there were a few times I was ready to call it good but I tend to be a perfectionist and I wanted to get it as perfect as I could. I never did get it perfect as you can still see some dings on the sides but its a TON better then it was when I started. I wish I had a better before picture showing the damaged sides.

Once the sides were finished I stripped the rest of the paint using a wire brush on my drill press. I then masked the plane and re-painted it using the spray paint and primer shown in the photo. I think I applied 5 or 6 coats of the finish paint. As that was drying I restored, cleaned and tuned the rest of the metal plane parts using the methods I have described in my earlier blogs.

The back handle was broken off at the top but I can live with that. The front knob on the other hand HAD to go. Although it would have worked just fine as a user handle I wanted the plane to match my others. I ended up snagging a rosewood knob off another one of my restoration plane projects. Its always nice to have other planes on hand for parts.

Once that was all finished I put her back together and started lapping the sole. Once again, this part took a long time as the bottom also had a lot of dings and deep scratches. After lapping the sole for a couple hours with various grits of paper I realized a problem. There were two small deep gouges/scratches directly in front of the mouth opening. This is the part of the plane that many plane users say is crucial to be dead flat. After close inspection I realized that these gouges were to deep to be removed by lapping the sole. I lapped the sole as flat as I could and called it good. Once the plane was done I spent a great deal of time flattening the blade and squaring it. I put a new 25 degree bevel on it with a 29 degree secondary and 31 degree third bevel as well as the ruler trick on the back.

The last photos show the plane shavings that I took off a piece of Walnut. I was able to produce very fine, full width shavings and guess what? The area in front of the mouth was not “dead flat”. With that said I now ask is it really all that crucial to have that part of the sole dead flat?

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

13 comments so far

View Bertha's profile


12989 posts in 2115 days

#1 posted 03-14-2011 08:16 PM

Awesome! That original knob was hilarious.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View ratchet's profile


1389 posts in 3208 days

#2 posted 03-14-2011 08:58 PM

Sweet restoration! Very nice job. Awesome shavings coming out the mouth of that puppy.

View Dwain's profile


371 posts in 3281 days

#3 posted 03-14-2011 10:30 PM


Great work on that restoration. You will have a fleet of planes in no time. AS to your question on flatness, I don’t think it is as crucial on anything but your smoother plane. I would suggest that the 3,4,4 1/2 and 5 or 5 1/2 (whatever you use for smoothing) should be as flat as possible. Of course, if you are using a plane for shooting, it should be as flat as possible also.

From what I have heard, only the toe, heel and the space behind the iron need to be flat. I thought the area in front of the iron needed to be flat, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

I REALLY like the new and improved front knob. What size plane did that come off of? I personally prefer the low knob myself, but there is not arguing that the rosewood is beautiful.

You may want to try to recreate a tote for one of your planes. Lee Valley has plans just for this purpose. I printed a few out and have in mind to make a couple of totes and knobs out of a block of Bubinga I have. Tradition, HA!

So when do you start with the 8?

Again, you are doing great work!


-- When you earnestly believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling your efforts, there is no end to what you CAN'T do

View canadianchips's profile


2310 posts in 2419 days

#4 posted 03-14-2011 10:49 PM

Good Find . Very nice restoration. The cleaned and finish look is MUCH nicer than the neglected tool it was.
Everyone is obsessed with the bottoms being perfectly flat, YOUR shavings maybe tell us that isn’t necessary.
(Looks aren’t everything)

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View swirt's profile


2107 posts in 2394 days

#5 posted 03-14-2011 10:56 PM

Came out real nice Dan. I have a #7 of similar vintage and I have to say yours looks a lot better with that new paint job. Something I’ll have to consider doing once the outside temperatures let me go out and spraypaint.

-- Galootish log blog,

View Bertha's profile


12989 posts in 2115 days

#6 posted 03-14-2011 11:06 PM

I’ve never been insanely meticulous about the flatness of my rehab planes. I’ll of course avoid a plane with visible twist but after knocking down any high points, they peform reasonably well. I’m usually more worried about a little nub that’ll drag down my project. Making totes can be tedious but it can be a lot of fun too. I dreaded the process until I got a set of microplanes & some appropriate rasps for my Foredom. You can really knock them out pretty quickly & fit them perfectly to your hand. You can make a very close reproduction if that’s more your style. I like Wenge for smaller planes & rosewood for larger ones. Bubinga’s a really cool choice!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4445 posts in 3384 days

#7 posted 03-15-2011 06:30 AM

The gouges on the bottom of the sole won’t have any effect as long as you lapped the whole length of the sole. Witness the corrigated soles on many planes.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View BigTiny's profile


1676 posts in 2310 days

#8 posted 03-15-2011 02:25 PM

Of course you must know how much I envy you with that lovely job rehabbing that great piece of woodworking tool.

-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View Dan's profile


3630 posts in 2302 days

#9 posted 03-15-2011 04:01 PM

Dwain – I also like the low knob over the high one. I am almost positive that the original knob for this plane was a low knob as its an earlier model. I am almost sure this plane is a type 10. I have a couple planes that are stamped Wards Master and they are identical to the Stanley Bailey planes. They have the same brass nuts, adjustment wheel and the rosewood handles. I got these planes off ebay for a few dollars. I have used many of the parts off those planes so I am thinking thats where I got the front knob. If I ever run into an extra low knob I will change it.

I actually have the pattern/plans to make the tote. I want to say it was in one of the shopnotes or woodsmith magazines. I was going to make one before, I went so far as to cut the pattern out and make several copies of it on the copy machine. I just have yet to actually do it. I think I will make some soon though. I have seen some guys use a really nice figured light wood for their handles and totes and I thought the contrast was really cool. I have seen someone use curly maple and someone use spalted maple. It really jumped out and looked interesting.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View Roger's profile


19714 posts in 2226 days

#10 posted 03-15-2011 09:22 PM

really really nice restore

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View Dave's profile


11394 posts in 2262 days

#11 posted 03-17-2011 07:54 AM

I love what you are doing. Keep it up.
When I see a tool put back to the point of being a user. I think of the person that used there hard earned money to purchase it. I think of the projects they produced. I think of them passing it down to there children. I think of the quality of workmanship it took to produce the tool. We are missing that a lot now in these days. When something breaks we generally toss it away and go buy another.
Keep refurbishing and pass the knowledge on to that wee one I see you holding.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View dirtbagchaser's profile


31 posts in 2089 days

#12 posted 06-25-2011 08:47 AM

I perform a similar restoration on my “flea market finds”. A good cleaning, touch up with wire wheel and brushes, some sandin and flattening to bring it true. I go a few steps further, I always take care of my handle by replacing it with a spare, gluing on a new piece and matching the wood with various stains or fabricating a new one. Some tight grain cherry or beech can make a nice tote handle. The last thing that I do, which I leave as a recommendation to you is to polish and buff all the brass. For a few bucks you can buy a buffing spindle and some buffing rouge for your drill press. I sand all the brass screws, adjustment knob and some other visible parts with 200-400 grit paper then touch up up on the buffing wheel to bring a very shiny finish. Give it a try and I think you will really enjoy the results after you step back and look at it.

View Dan's profile


3630 posts in 2302 days

#13 posted 06-26-2011 07:43 AM

dirtbagchaser- I do spend quite a bit of time on the brass. I have another blog on here a while back where I go into detail about how I clean the brass. I do pretty much what you recommended. I rarely use a power buffer on the brass though and if I do I use my dremmel tool with the buffing and wire brush attachments.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

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