It all began when I was building my workbench (blogged here). I was using my first (dedicated woodworking tool purchased) #5 BORG buck-bros Jack plane and it broke. It was working quite well after I learned to tune it, but the materials it is made of are just too weak and flimsy and the yoke that controls the blade travel just broke and became useless:
I was bummed, but hey it was a good learning experience, and I have been keeping an eye open for a replacement #5 ever since. not really very actively, but still an open eye. While I would like a LV plane I just don’t woodwork enough to justify it and was hoping to keep expenses to a minimum and then I spotted a #5 on this CL listing:
I offered 30, he said 40, I said OK. I figured there were enough things in there I can restore and use. I have an old brace, but really wanted one with a ratchet mechanism:
some calipers (might be beyond restore but I’ll give it a try):
A couple more calipers and a right hand skew block plane (ironically this completes my righthand-lefthand skews) that went through an initial rust removal but will require a second bath and cleaning:
a doweling machine, and some files and hook and broken block plane body:
And of course the Jack of all trades with his little #4 brother:
I took it apart and put all the screws. frog, blade, plates and smaller parts in a evaporust bath only to find out it is probably expired and has long gone lost it’s potent power (it did clean it some, but even 2 long baths still left a lot to be desired). I ordered a 1 gallon bottle that should arrive today and I will retreat all the smaller parts again.
As for the body, since it was not only rusty but also dirty beyond recognition I decided to go with scraping:
surprisingly a woodworking scraper did a fantastic job getting rid of most everything on there:
I followed up with a little filing to knock off some high spots. apparently the plane was mishandled and had some bumps on the back. I also touched up all the edges to smooth them up and followed with a rough diamond stone to smooth down the sole:
you can notice some low valley on the back of the sole, but I am not going to pay much attention to it as long as the crucial points of the sole are in alignment (toe, before and after mouth, and heel)
Then some cleaning with green scorth pad to remove rust remnants, and polishing it a bit more with the diamond stone and repeating on the sides as well:
now looks much better (still requires some touch ups, but am happy with it for now):
I will still give it lapping on a flat granite slab with sand paper just to bring everything in alignment later on, but need to take a break from this for a bit at the moment.
Next to the broken #5 it is replacing:
The major differences between the 2 are:
1. weight. the stanley is by far heavier which help when using it (less vibration, less jittering, less force to operate it)
2. mouth opening is much smaller on the stanley which produces better control on the shavings less rough work, easier operation
3. handle feels better and overall feels more ‘there’
I think this also signifies the difference between older stanleys and newer LVs for example – it’s not about will they cut better – most likely they won’t (in most cases) but the operation, the dials, the overall feel and longevity of the tools are just much more user friendly on the newer designs. If I could I’d go LV for every plane I have, but for now I’ll use whatever I can afford.
Ah…. the #5 is finally back home in place between the 6 and 4:
like I mentioned, I still have some touch ups to give this one but for starters this plane is up and running if needed. I also need to redo the skew block plane and am not sure if I want to keep the other #4 and repurpose it for anything or just sell it as is. I am also currently restoring the brace, but more on that in another post.
Lesson learnt – sometimes scraping and filing is easier and faster than high tech electrolysis/liquids. it’s kinda upliffting seeing the glittering clean metal surface under the layers of rust/dirt in front of your eyes with each stroke much like planing wood with a smoother.
Thanks for reading,
-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.