My Hand Tool Journey #7: Making It Pretty

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Blog entry by Kent Shepherd posted 04-01-2010 04:27 PM 4968 reads 2 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 6: Santa Is Early This Year! Part 7 of My Hand Tool Journey series Part 8: It Works! »

When I received my “new” plane from David, aka patron, I couldn’t wait to get started on the tune up. Of course the first step was to take it apart. That proved to be a chore. The blade was very rusted, as you would expect from any old plane. That, coupled with the old finish, made everything rather stuck. I was being very cautious since I sure didn’t want to damage any part, especially the wedge. After much “gentle” tapping, it finally broke loose.

I then began to clean up the body. I chose Formby’s Refinisher since I wanted to keep it as close to original as possible. This product basically disolves the finish and blends it back into the wood, rather than actually stripping it off. Or at least that’s my take—-the company might explain that better. Anyway, here’s the process. Wipe it on with steelwool and rub it until the old black yucky stuff begans to “go away” or disappear, or rejuvenate, or whatever the heck it does! This way, I don’t destroy the patina that makes antiques look so cool.

A little elbow grease and voila, just like new, or maybe like a hundred years old that sort of looks new.

This is one coat of Watco Danish Oil Finish. I’ll probably put at least one more coat

Next time, I’ll show the work on the iron—-Thanks for looking!


18 comments so far

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5851 posts in 3188 days

#1 posted 04-01-2010 04:43 PM

Greetings Kent: Hey, stellar job on the old plane. You’ve given it a “new lease on life”. It’s amazing what a little elbow grease and a good finish will do for a tool. What kind of wood is it made of? It looks like walnut to me, but can’t be sure by the pixs. It looks to have a greenish tint to it. Could just be the pitina in the wood. I know you’re proud of it…... I would be. My favorite four letter word…..... FREE….... keep on keeping on…

-- " At my age, happy hour is a crap and a nap".....

View patron's profile


13603 posts in 3335 days

#2 posted 04-01-2010 04:54 PM

WOW Kent .

that was fast !

i didn’t realize that it was laminated ,
it really is much more do-able that way ,
for someone wanting to make one .

i also wondered how the ’ tote ’ was attached ,
looks like one piece cut all the length of the plane ,
with the ’ tote ’ and the ’ wedge ’ cut-out as one .

i see it got into the right hands ,
thanks for bringing it back to life .

hope you enjoy it for years to come .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View mikethetermite's profile


596 posts in 3260 days

#3 posted 04-01-2010 04:55 PM

The old plane turned out well. Would Formby’s Refinisher work on an old desk?

Thanks for sharing

-- Mike The Termite ~~~~~ Working safely may get old, but so do those who practice it.

View JohnnyW's profile


83 posts in 3024 days

#4 posted 04-01-2010 05:29 PM

We don’t see many restorations of wooden planes, so thank you for sharing. You’ve done a really sympathetic job.

-- John

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3109 days

#5 posted 04-01-2010 06:39 PM

Daang it´s looking good
and so fast you started on it
but I can´t see it´s laminated
as Patron said can you tell us
how it´s build please
and I can´t wait to see more
from your restoring of this
wonderful plane
thank´s for sharing it with
all us newbees in to planes


View lilredweldingrod's profile


2496 posts in 3100 days

#6 posted 04-01-2010 06:49 PM

Hey Kent,
Noticing the lamination, I am amazed that there was glue that would hold this many years. I guess we can learn from the ancients. Can’t wait to see your new “furniture”. It will be as beautiful as the other masterpieces that have been caressed by your hands.

View canadianchips's profile


2600 posts in 2991 days

#7 posted 04-01-2010 07:44 PM

I have a passion for old planes.(SHE SAYS Obsession). I am exremeley proud of you to bring that plane back to life.

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

View degoose's profile


7231 posts in 3348 days

#8 posted 04-01-2010 10:05 PM

Nice to see such a well detailed post on this process.

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View Karson's profile


35120 posts in 4394 days

#9 posted 04-01-2010 11:44 PM

Great big change to the looks of the plane. Nice job. Haw does the sole look?

I can see the laminations and it looks like the handle was cut from the center section.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3666 days

#10 posted 04-01-2010 11:45 PM

Kent, that hand plane came out nice.

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3280 days

#11 posted 04-02-2010 03:35 PM

David, I went back and looked closer. The body is not actually laminated, but the handle is cut into the body.
I know the whole thing looks laminated from one of the pictures—Especially right behind the iron. When you see the rest of the body you can tell it is not. I’ll get some close-ups and post later.

Mike—Yes you can use Formby’s on something like that. It was developed for furniture anyway. I saw an infomercial almost 40 years ago on the product. When I got the plane, I rememberd it and thought it would be perfect for this project. Ah, the power of advertising! After all these years, this is the first time I’ve used it.


View patron's profile


13603 posts in 3335 days

#12 posted 04-02-2010 03:54 PM

kent , from garyd in your last post , Kent I know how you feel. I recieved this same plane from my wife’s uncle when they came to stay with us from Ohio
it makes me wonder if this was one of those ’ sears roebuck ’ tools from the industrial era .
before they started putting iron works to wooden shoes ?
what do you think ?

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3280 days

#13 posted 04-02-2010 04:07 PM

Could be David. And I thought you sent me an exceptionally rare one of a kind plane from ancient Palestine!
(Yeah I know, they didn’t have planes like this then)

Now I’m devastated to think that many others may share my good fortune.

But I am very blessed to have such a great gift from a special friend no matter how many are identical.


View patron's profile


13603 posts in 3335 days

#14 posted 04-02-2010 04:18 PM

hey ,
maybe it’s the edsel of planes ,
you guys could have get together’s in Hawaii !

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3328 days

#15 posted 04-10-2010 08:00 PM

Quite a transition Kent. That stuff really works well.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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