Tools Anonymous #9: $15 Falcon Pope plane has landed

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Blog entry by Sandra posted 03-23-2013 04:24 PM 3598 reads 1 time favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 8: My three Stanleys Part 9 of Tools Anonymous series no next part

For $15.00 last week, I bought a Falcon Pope #5 after getting some good advice from LJs

I chose the Falcon Pope partly because I didn’t have a #5, but also that it seemed sturdy, had all the parts, and it said made in Australia. So why not.

Once I took it apart however, I stopped feelin’ the love.

Nevertheless, I pitched into a CLR bath and let it sit for a day. When I took it out, the lever cap was peeling, the color looked terrible. I was tempted to chuck the thing. I let it sit another day and then decided that I would just get it up to working order, but that I wouldn’t spend a ton of time on it. Of course once I got started, I enjoyed it and decided that maybe I should strip the brown paint off the tote and handle, then might as well paint the base.

Once I had the tote and handle sanded down, I used some dark walnut stain I had on hand and then a coat of wipe-on poly.

The iron had a curved edge to it, so I sharpened it by hand on my diamond stones. It seemed okay, but then I had either a lightbulb moment or a bad idea. I had a 220 disk on my ROS so I decided to finish off the iron with that.
Lo and behold, I got it very sharp.

This morning, I put it back together and didn’t have high expectations. I’m still learning about planes, but this one seems to be a lesser quality one at least when it comes to appearances.

It was very easy to adjust the depth of the iron, and here were my first results on a piece of birch:

Questions that arose in the process:

When I was sanding the paint off the tote, the sawdust once I got underneath was a reddish rust colour. I’m not sure what kind of wood that would be, but it wasn’t very dense or heavy.

Lead paint – If this is an older plane, should I have been concerned that the paint I sanded off might contain lead?

All in all, I now have a very serviceable, albeit slightly ugly #5.
That’s it for planes for now. Back to my workbench build so I have a sturdy surface for using the planes.

Make sawdust, my friends.

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

14 comments so far

View camps764's profile


867 posts in 2356 days

#1 posted 03-23-2013 04:33 PM

great post…just wait until you catch the sharpening sickness :)

-- Steve

View DocSavage45's profile


8549 posts in 2839 days

#2 posted 03-23-2013 04:38 PM


Lots of great blogs on sharpening and tool reconditioning on LJ’s

I like the feel of a book. This is one I have.


-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View DIYaholic's profile


19620 posts in 2671 days

#3 posted 03-23-2013 04:45 PM

The addiction is starting to take hold!!!

The just gotta have because….
I’ll only clear the dirt, but while it’s apart, I may as well…..
I wonder if there is a better one out there….

Yeah, you’ll be getting, cleaning & restoring more planes!!! You have a bench to put to use!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View Brandon's profile


4152 posts in 2948 days

#4 posted 03-23-2013 05:31 PM

That plane reminds me of the Millers Falls planes because of the lever cap. Good job on cleaning it up and putting it to use.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View JL7's profile


8661 posts in 2961 days

#5 posted 03-23-2013 05:53 PM

Nice job Sandra…..It’s always good to see that old iron come back to life. Looks like a keeper…...enjoy the ride, what’s next?

-- Jeff .... Minnesota, USA

View waho6o9's profile


8189 posts in 2573 days

#6 posted 03-23-2013 06:00 PM

I suspect once you get that blade wicked sharp it will work

very well. Good job Sandra!

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 2853 days

#7 posted 03-23-2013 06:12 PM

Sandra I also like a challenge and I think for $15 you that and a great
user. Worst thing is you get a better blade.

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2071 days

#8 posted 03-23-2013 06:49 PM

Thanks all.

Doc – I have that exact book, I believe on your recommendation too. It is very helpful. I’m a book also and have Popular Woodworking’s Hand Tool Essentials also.

Jeff – as to what next – has to be my workbench. It’s a chore trying to even test the planes because I don’t have a surface solid enough. Although if I happen upon a nice little block plane somewhere…

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View JoeinGa's profile


7736 posts in 2003 days

#9 posted 03-23-2013 07:00 PM

Like I said in your other post…

”And so it begins…”


-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Richard's profile


1916 posts in 2687 days

#10 posted 03-23-2013 07:28 PM

All in all, I now have a very serviceable, albeit slightly ugly #5.
Is this not what counts , it’s not what the tool looks like but rather what the finished product looks like that you made with the tool.
I think you made a very good buy for $15 .

View NormG's profile


6111 posts in 3000 days

#11 posted 03-24-2013 01:30 AM

Congrats on the great find, if you want you can repaint

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View ausworkshop's profile


7 posts in 1873 days

#12 posted 04-06-2013 02:46 AM

Awesome! I just found this site after doing my monthly search for anything I can find on Falcons. I’ve been here before but usually spend my time on the so I decided to join just so I could comment. I’m so glad you decided to purchase the Falcon, you’ve got a bargain price, I have a number 4, my grandfather’s originally, just finished doing it up. I also have a number 5 I think I paid about $50 for on ebay and I have a number 7 on its way from New Zealand. These are so under rated in my opinion, they might look a bit cheap but many of them are heavier than the Stanley equivalent and have quality castings using Stanley old patterns. There wasn’t much metal around after the war, Stanley started going stingy with their castings and Australia started making their own due to the demand and housing boom (Stanley ended up buying all these companies back but they were great while they lasted)

I’m addicted to them now and I am so sad that I just missed out on a F51/2 at my local flee market, he said he had just sold it for $60. Shhh, don’t tell too many people how good they are or the price will go up even more.

Here’s a few pics of mine after restoring the handles, broken tote, new Rob Cosmon Blade (from Jim Davey Australia)

By the way, it doesn’t look like yours has the original blade, the original will have Falcon stamped in the top, the original blades are pretty good I just upgraded mine to see if I could get it even better but to tell you the truth the old one was fine. Once you get a better sharpening system than a random orbit you will get even better results. the handles are normally shellac with a rosewood stain. I scraped and sanded all that thick muck off and re stained with a Jarrah stain. I’ve heard some of the original Falcons had Jarrah handles but I think mine were probably just Victorian Ash (our local hardwood here in Aus)

Not sure if this link will work but here is my facebook page with some photos. More will be on here soon as I restore the F7. The F5 is already restored but I don’t have any pics yet. I use mine almost everyday and have slowly moved my work back to hand tools a lot more because of how good these planes are.

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2071 days

#13 posted 04-09-2013 01:50 AM

Amazing restorations! It’s good to know about the blade not being original and I’ll check out the facebook pictures.
I’ll also keep my eyes open for more…


-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View Burrago's profile


1 post in 205 days

#14 posted 10-30-2017 02:08 AM

Sandra, Are you still collecting Pope/Falcon planes? I have been collecting/restoring them for about 16 years now. I’m in Australia.

-- Burrago

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