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"