The Slippery Slope #4: Introducing Sarge.

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Blog entry by Douglas Bordner posted 11-24-2007 04:54 AM 6755 reads 3 times favorited 29 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Scary Sharp - My way. Part 4 of The Slippery Slope series Part 5: Planes of an entirely different sort »

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Finally after using WayneC's citric acid technique, lapping the sole flat, grinding the sides square to the sole, and using David's modified Parkerization technique ; stripping the tote and knob and refinishing them with toned Danish oil and salad bowl finish and sharpening the blade with the scary sharp method it is a pleasure to introduce Sarge. If you missed the middle installments (2 and 3), I discovered that this rust bucket refugee is actually a #409. There isn’t a resource I could find like Patrick Leach's Blood and Gore for Sargent planes. so it is difficult to explain the extra length and width of the casting on this model.

Here is my “new” plane.

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I decided to show this Sargent in direct comparison to a Stanley #4 I bought last year on eBay.

Sole to Sole

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and side by side.

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Unfortunately there is no way to show the glassy surface of the QS oak I shaved with this new incarnation of my Sargent. My wife was a test subject. Her verdict: ”Impressive”. With all the materials at hand, I may have to put the old Stanley into the process. It’s a user to me with no specific collector’s value. I will leave my Granddad’s #5 alone, happy with it’s already sharpened iron, and it’s new fence from Tom Angle.

Thanks for following along.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

29 comments so far

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4095 days

#1 posted 11-24-2007 05:02 AM

That is pretty cool. I really appreciate the sharing.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View David's profile


1969 posts in 4135 days

#2 posted 11-24-2007 05:30 AM

Douglas -

Well, I have been anxiously waiting to see how your rehab worked out . . . beautiful!

Looks like another plane sitting next to Sarge begging for the same treatment!

Thanks for sharing this blog . . . great writing, great photos and an awesome plane.



View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 3993 days

#3 posted 11-24-2007 05:31 AM

You did an amazing job on that plane!!! Wow! And I mean it! How long was the whole process?

You should do the same to the #4…

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 3993 days

#4 posted 11-24-2007 05:33 AM

Also, what method did you use to square the sides to the sole???

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View Karson's profile


35120 posts in 4396 days

#5 posted 11-24-2007 05:34 AM

Great Job Douglas. The plane looks great. Users are better than collectors. because you get no enjoyment out of just collecting planes.

-- 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 gizmodyne's profile


1779 posts in 4086 days

#6 posted 11-24-2007 06:37 AM

Well done!

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4024 posts in 4060 days

#7 posted 11-24-2007 07:33 AM

I lapped both the sides and the sole on the trusty glass plate with the Performax/Jet 80 grit X weight cloth backed strips. It’s important to keep the frog, blade and chipbreaker in place and under tension, but with the blade retracted when lapping. After I Parkerized I had some unevenness in the color so I very lightly touched up with 120 grit disk sanding. This would likely not been the case if had use electrolysis, but I could not find washing soda, and the japanning was pretty intact, so I didn’t want to strip the whole kaboodle to bare metal. And I eased the edge between the sole and sides with a fine mill bastard file, so there would be no sharp edges. My thought was making this plane suitable for shooting board use, as I hope my planing skills will improve with patient persistence and the requisite fixtures.

It took several hours of work with breaks for arm weariness. I probably put in about 500 strokes (total for sides and sole) to alleviate a divot in the casting in front of the throat. There still is a bit of a dish back on the sole in the area between the frog and the tote, but the sole edges and heel are flat overall.

The blade sharpening took another couple of hours, but this is more a function of the abused iron than anything.

The Stanley only took an hour or so for both sole and iron, as they were in pretty good shape to begin with. Next up will be putting a steeper micro-bevel on the Hock iron. And since I still have Citric Acid (Local fermentation supplier) and Kleen-Strip Phosphoric (The BORG -Big Orange Retail Giant) left from Sarge’s transformation I will further rehab the #4.

As a side note, Both the knob and tote were stripped with acetone. The knob fit nicely on an adjustable length pen mandrel, so sanding to bare wood was pretty easy there – a matter of minutes. The tote was sanded to bare wood with a fine 3M flapwheel (the kind with non-woven abrasive backing up sandpaper flaps) on the drill press. Both were finished over the course of a week with plenty of drying time as both the home-brew tinted Danish and the salad bowl finish (Behlen’s) are oil based.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View cajunpen's profile


14575 posts in 4062 days

#8 posted 11-24-2007 09:42 AM

Douglas that is one fine looking plane. I like the way you restored it – now the #4 looks like a step child. I can’t wait to get the new Veritas BUS – it should be on Monday or Tuesday, and I’m off both days – yahoo!

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6855 posts in 3975 days

#9 posted 11-24-2007 01:26 PM

Hi Douglas;

Excellent job!


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Sawdust2's profile


1466 posts in 4083 days

#10 posted 11-24-2007 01:28 PM

The Sarge does look better. Superb job.

I remember Ian Kirby teaching us that we had to flatten the sole plate. “Now why would I need to do that?” so I recognize the effort that went into this restoration.

Having thought of that I change my mind – you did an outstanding job.

-- No piece is cut too short. It was meant for a smaller project.

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 4017 days

#11 posted 11-24-2007 01:55 PM

That’s a lot of work Doug and by the look of the result well worth it.
You will enjoy that restoration every time you use it now


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 3958 days

#12 posted 11-24-2007 06:19 PM

This is the second time I’ve written this. It really looks great, Douglas. Let us know how that Parkerized sole works for you. I’ve noticed that not all #4’s are created equal. I have two and they are not the same length. I think it happened when they came from the casters and were hand ground to shape. I can tell from the shavings that you have got a real good tune on this plane. You might find as I have, that the Hock iron doesn’t improve the cut that much. It may stay sharp a little longer. Excellent work, my friend.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Jeff's profile


1010 posts in 4090 days

#13 posted 11-24-2007 08:12 PM

Very interesting. What is the ‘smoothness’ of the sole like Doug? Does it feel kind of like teflon or is there only a slight difference between the parkerized surface and a mirror finish you get with lapping?

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4024 posts in 4060 days

#14 posted 11-24-2007 08:14 PM

I was waiting for your appraisal, Tom. I was a bit of a sharpie today, and had my wood store folks demo the Worksharp on the Hock iron and took it to a base 30° bevel, so I’ll pop it in and have a dedicated plane for difficult grain. But I did pick up a nice stick of purpleheart and put a down payment on Pam’s Xmas woodburning rig (Detail Master and a 1A handpiece -shh nobody tell now), so I don’t totally feel like a heel.

BTW I’ve noticed Wayne hasn’t commented or posted for 10 days. If anybody is a telephone or visiting buddy of his it would be nice to know if he’s okay.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4024 posts in 4060 days

#15 posted 11-24-2007 08:18 PM

Jeff, it feels pretty slick, but I waxed it up. I never did take it all the way to mirror, just stopped at 80 grit and touched it with the 120 RO disk to even out the hue after Parkerizing. The lever cap looks pretty good with minor steel wool rubout.
Some gun folk on-line have gray and black Parkerizing kits for around 30 bucks. If anyone else decides to try this it would be fun to see the results. The Kleen-Strip Phosphoric ran about 14 dollars with sales tax.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

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