Stanley #31 Transitional Plane Restoration

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Blog entry by GMatheson posted 10-25-2011 06:22 PM 11844 reads 2 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I came across an antique shop that had some old tools while on vacation. After strolling through I picked up a few planes and a saw vise (more to come on them later). Once I got home I decided I should start on the Stanley #31 first.

I did some research to see exactly how old this plane was but couldn’t narrow it down as well as I would have liked to. I found that these planes were made between 1870-1943 and that my particular plane was made before 1915 because the frog was screwed to the body with wood screws but that still leaves a 45 year period. I noticed some of the transitional planes have ‘bailey’ cast in front of the knob and others do not but I don’t know which came first.

Here are a few before pictures.

And once I had it all apart

First I started on the body of the plane. I taped a sheet of 100 grit sandpaper to my tablesaw and sanded it flat and square. Then I gave it a good soaking of tung oil then finished it with a few coats of wax. The rest of the metal parts I took to work with me and sandblasted the rust and paint away. I brought them home and gave them a few coats of black enamel paint, sharpened the blade and polished the brass.

It was starting to look pretty good but was missing something….. the original handle was broken in the middle and missing the tip as well. I figured I did all this work I might as well make a new handle for it too. Looking in my scrap bin I found a nice piece of walnut and traced the original handle on it, drilled the hole and cut it out on the bandsaw. Then I rounded the edges with files and rasps, sanded it smooth, gave it a few coats of shellac and finished up with some wax.

Put everything back together and this is what we end up with.

And the shaving picture

-- Greg in Ontario, Canada

8 comments so far

View DaddyZ's profile


2475 posts in 3037 days

#1 posted 10-25-2011 06:43 PM

Very Nice Restore !!!

-- Pat - Worker of Wood, Collector of Tools, Father of one

View Don W's profile

Don W

18711 posts in 2564 days

#2 posted 10-25-2011 07:08 PM

good for another 100 years or so.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View racerglen's profile


3112 posts in 2777 days

#3 posted 10-25-2011 07:14 PM

Well done !

-- Glen, B.C. Canada

View Brandon's profile


4152 posts in 2948 days

#4 posted 10-25-2011 08:56 PM

Great job on the plane restoration! It should serve you well for years to come!

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View canadianchips's profile


2600 posts in 2994 days

#5 posted 10-25-2011 08:56 PM

Nice restoration, more life to another older tool. I LIKE that !

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

View GMatheson's profile


478 posts in 2966 days

#6 posted 10-25-2011 09:50 PM

I’d love for this plane to last another 100 years. It’s a real pleasure to use.

Next up is a Stanley #4-1/2 (type 13 I believe)

-- Greg in Ontario, Canada

View Bart Steed's profile

Bart Steed

24 posts in 1633 days

#7 posted 05-29-2014 12:44 PM

Well done! I really like how you were able to restore it without losing the “old tool” feel.

I’m actually in the middle of restoring a Stanley No 35 transitional. I stumbled onto your post looking for information on what to finish the body with. I learned quite a bit here, thanks for that.

I too, will be creating a replacement handle for mine. I have a beautiful piece of 5/4 curly maple that I intend to create a new tote and knob from.

-- Bart Steed, Apprentice, Ohio USA

View Buckethead's profile


3194 posts in 1865 days

#8 posted 05-29-2014 12:54 PM

She’s a beauty!

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

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