At my favorite local junktique store, I saw a badly rusted Stanley #5 jack plane. It looked complete and free of major chips or cracks except for the broken tote, and it had the hard rubber adjustment knob, which probably makes it a Type 17. I was tempted, but I didn’t really need another jack plane. “Need”, however, is such an indefinite concept. A few weeks later, I decided to check whether the plane was still in the store. It was, and I bought it for $10. Here are two pictures of it in as-bought condition.
Part of what attracted me to this plane was curiosity. What was under that layer of rust? Cracks? Horrible pitting? A good plane?
I scraped most of the rust off with a mill file ground on the end to be a scraper. This is how I have done other planes, and although it is not an elegant technique and does not result in a bright shiny plane, it does work. Turns out, under the layer of rust was a usable plane. I flattened the sole with abrasive belt material taped to my table saw top. The sole is flat even though it is stained and very lightly pitted. The wings are not flat, but I can live with that.
I didn’t notice until most the rust was removed that there were some dried paint spots. Why do “rescue” planes always have paint splatterings? I replaced the broken tote with a plastic tote left over from another plane. I sanded the tote to remove the slight molding flash and to dull the bright plasticy finish. The blade has a number (143) stamped on it that might indicate that the plane came from a school or some such. There is some pitting on the back of the blade that I dealt with by honing a slight back bevel.
The plane works well, and it would work better with a replacement iron, but c’mon, it’s a $10 plane. As for the “need” thing, I have observed that often you don’t need a tool until you need it, and when you need it, it’s nice to have it. Here are pictures of the cleaned up plane.
-- JohnnyB - - Sometimes determination can substitute for skill.