This was a fun plane to restore and tune for several reasons. First of all when I got this plane I took it apart to clean and right away I could see that the iron and chip breaker were both much thicker and heavier then the traditional bench plane iron/breaker. It was as if someone had replaced the original iron and breaker with a new Hock Iron and breaker. This is the first and only antique plane that I have purchased that had a blade and breaker of this sort. Another fun but difficult task of this restoration was to build a new tote. The original tote was with the blade but it was broken in several spots and even though I tried I was not able to fix it. So I decided to make a new tote.
The knob and original tote were both made with Rosewood but to make the new tote I used a scrap piece of Redwood. My choice to use the Redwood was because I had a scrap of it on hand that was the right size and thickness. Its also soft so MUCH easier to shape by hand. I had many failed attempts at making totes in the past so I was not looking forward to doing this but it ended up turning out. I just traced a tote from one of my stanley planes and then lined the holes up as best as I could with the broken tote. I cut it out and shaped it all by hand.
Back to the blade… I did some checking online and found a few other cases of discussion in regards to the thicker Keen Kutter blades but I found no official information from the company’s stand point as to why they decided to make their blades and chip breakers so much thicker when all the other companies had the standard blades and breakers. Today companies like Hock and Pinnacle make and produce thick after market blades and breakers at a premium price. I find it very interesting that Keen Kutter was doing this long before these companies and I wonder why the thicker blades didn’t take off back then.
Here are some photos of the Keen Kutter iron compared with some of my other blades…
I cant say the thicker blade and breaker is any better. I only find it interesting that the concept of a thicker iron was around long before Hock and Pinnacle and other companies produced them.
I don’t have any before pictures of the plane but here are the after pics. Its a fine working plane.
-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"