So, I managed to grab a Stanley #604 hand plane, a bit and brace, a chest hand drill, and a mini-anvil from my grand father’s shed. He passed away several years ago from Alzheimer’s so it is a special gift to have a couple of his tools.
The Stanley was covered in rust, but not as bad as I thought. I wish I had taken a before picture, but if you look at the other tools, you may have an idea of the condition the hand plane was in. I was able to remove the rust quite easily with a method that would probably bring tears to most experienced wood workers. I will freely admit that I probably went the wrong route, but due to time constraints, I chose a quick way. I used a bottle (actually, I ended up using 3) of a toilet bowl cleaner called “The Works” – for less than $2 a bottle.
To say the stuff is volatile is an understatement. It took the rust completely off in less than an hour and it would probably eat the skin off your body if you let it. It took 2 boxes of baking soda to neutralize it to a point that my better, smarter and prettier half would even let me bring it in the house and dump the waste down the toilet.
I ended up coating all the pieces with wax paste before taking the pictures and packing it up for the move. I’m more than a little concerned about the handle. As you can see in the picture, it has had some damage and the threads at the heel feel like they are cross-threaded. I’m worried that an excessive amount of force may pull the handle off, ruining the threads in the process. Of course I still had to give it a test. After 20+ years of not being used the blade was still sharp enough to shave a rough cut fence board.
The bit brace and drill will have to wait until we have moved, settled in, and I have had time to do more research. I hope to find out how to remove the wooden handles from both items so I can remove the rust without damaging the handles. It looks as if much of the rust is simply surface rust as both hand tools move freely – the ratchet on the bit and brace works too.
If anyone knows how these wooden handles come off, I would love to hear from you.