Saving Old Tools One At A Time #2: Stanley #4 Rehab, Done For Now.

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Blog entry by JustJoe posted 06-23-2013 10:44 PM 2078 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Stanley #4 Rehab, the Journey Begins Part 2 of Saving Old Tools One At A Time series no next part

The Type 17 Stanley #4 rehab is, for now, complete. For those with short memories, this is how it looked when we started this journey:

The more I worked on this plane, the more two little sayings kept coming into my head:
1. Like putting lipstick on a pig. – Every time I shined some part up the rest of it just looked uglier and uglier.
2. Beauty is skin-deep but ugly goes to the bone. – I found pits inside pits. If I kept grinding away until every bit of ugly was off this plane, it would be smaller than a #101 block plane by the time I finished. So knowing it would never win any beauty contests. But I had resolved to save this veteran so I drove on, deciding to go for “clean, fully functional.”

After the metal was done with its electric bath it got a couple coats of japanning and all the little bolts got wire-brushed. The back of the blade was flattened and then I sharpened it up but couldn’t get it to cut butter because the frog was warped AND twisted. It was like it was leaning back and looking over its right shoulder, fat in the middle and the upper right was dipped way back. Here’s a shot of it ready for surgery on the surface grinder.

Note the pits that cover the entire surface – the entire plane was like that, now it’s down to just the lateral, top of the frog, and a few pits on the sole. I ground the frog “flat enough.” It’s still a bit low on the upper right (see the pits remaining) but the bottom 95% of the surface is flat for the iron to sit tight against and I didn’t want to keep grinding away metal for another hour.

I’ve got a decent flap-wheel type system on order. Until it arrives I’ll have to settle for this clean but very scuffed up lever cap. At least the pits are gone.

And of course the obligatory final shot of the plane taking shavings from a piece of cherry.

Next up in the saga we will take a short break from the norml planes to clean up a hand-forged adze and a very-abused scraper plane. Thanks for reading.


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4 comments so far

View Don W's profile

Don W

18754 posts in 2594 days

#1 posted 06-23-2013 10:57 PM

nice job joe.

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

View Buckethead's profile


3194 posts in 1895 days

#2 posted 06-23-2013 11:03 PM

It looks like a work of art to me!

I did a little playing around today. A couple times I realized a hand plane would make what I was attempting far easier. (Specifically, I was trimming down a tenon with a chisel)

I’m not sure if you do this to resell them, but I would certainly be interested in some functional hand planes.

I have been trying to get up to speed on which plane performs a given task, but I do better by diving in. Maybe a few to start off?

So, if the kitchen is open, I’m hungry. :-)

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

View JustJoe's profile


1554 posts in 2065 days

#3 posted 06-23-2013 11:17 PM

Don – Thanks. I’ve seen your work and I’ve got years to go before I can even approach your level. I do hope to start on my own infill-conversion later this year.

Buckethead – Thanks but a lot of it is in the camera (I’ve taught it to lie for me.) The lateral still shows a lot of pitting and the lever cap needs smoothed out. As far as reselling, no not these. I have a small online store but nothing I play with here on LJ ends up there. They’re two hobbies I keep separate. Sounds like you could have used a shoulder plane today for your tenons. If you’re starting, start small. The most versatile planes I use are my low-angle block planes. They clean up end grain and smooth edges and take just the smallest bit off just where you need to. Look for a used but complete Stanley 60-1/2 (or 65-1/2 if you’ve got fat hands.)

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View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 2996 days

#4 posted 06-24-2013 12:10 AM

Ugly duckling, beautiful swan.
What a transformation.

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