LumberJocks

Why I love old planes

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Shopsmithtom posted 1535 days ago 1502 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Besides P-51’s & B-17’s (how can you NOT love these old warbirds/), I’ve mentioned in the past that love old wood planes & can’t really see what all the hype is over new expensive planes which can’t work any better than my old ones (don’t get me wrong…I think they’re beautiful and, no doubt, work really well, I just, well, I just don’t get it…that’s all. And I really don’t understand getting a low(?) priced new plane that many people seem to continue to make excuses for because of the workmanship.

Now, while I have continued to deny being a collector of planes, (I’ll admit to collecting shopsmiths…not a real efficient use of space, I’ll admit) I probably am kind of a plane collector. Not a total nut job with hundreds that I’ll never use, but a group of about 20 of different sizes & uses, most…ok, many…ok, some of which I use, and I do intend to use more.

Ok, back to the point of all this. Why I like old planes. First, I like ‘em because they’re old. But it’s not the age. Lots of old stuff is just old junk. Old wood planes are a part of American history. Some of mine were used to build things in the 1800’s…the 1800’s. They make me feel good just using them & feeling that. For me, a big part of woodworking is the “feeling” part of it. Sure, I like seeing my completed work, but I’ve really come to love the process. It’s like taking a trip by train. It’s not just the destination…it’s also the journey.

Second, I don’t buy rare or pristine planes. I get (collect) ones that I can restore & that I’m likely to use so the prices range from reasonable to downright cheap.

Here’s my most recent purchase, a Stanley #18 block plane. It was $15.50 plus $5 to deliver it.
(before)

I used the electrolysis method for the rust, a bit of wire wheeling & lapped & sharpened it. It took about an hour in total and the end result is:

It just seems to me that, for about $20 and some elbow grease, this beats the heck out the new low priced planes (& new Stanleys) and makes a shaving that even the expensive planes can’t improve on.

I know that I’ll never convince everyone that this is the way to go…not really trying, why would I want more buying competition on ebay, I just wanted to write down a bunch of my thoughts on the subject.

So I did. -SST

-- Accuracy is not in your power tool, it's in you



8 comments so far

View bigike's profile

bigike

4030 posts in 1871 days


#1 posted 1535 days ago

very nice job, and great steal too.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop, http://www.icombadaniels@yahoo.com

View Moron's profile

Moron

4666 posts in 2476 days


#2 posted 1535 days ago

awesome !

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Broglea's profile

Broglea

665 posts in 1673 days


#3 posted 1535 days ago

SST – I’m with you on this one. I restored a #4 Stanley using the same process you described. I used it on a panel I glued up the other day. As I was planing I thought to myself, this is woodworking bliss.

View canadianchips's profile

canadianchips

1831 posts in 1580 days


#4 posted 1535 days ago

I am with you on this. Although I have more than I use. I just purchased a small spar plane. Nothing more fun than tuning these oldies. Judging by the paper thin size of your shavings you got yours tuned nicely ! Some of my old #45 even have a unique smell to them . I love it ! I haven’t tried the electrolisis method yet, It looks like it might be easier than the method I use. i am still looking for help on re-nickel plating my old #45 & 55’s

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

View paratrooper34's profile

paratrooper34

760 posts in 1535 days


#5 posted 1535 days ago

I am with you also, SST. I have several handplanes, not sure exactly how many. However, I do know exactly how many of them are new: 1. I purchased a LN small router plane new and that’s it. Everything else is used, off Ebay, etc – all Record, Ulmia, and Stanley. I used a little elbow grease (and the same electrolysis process) and got them clean and true. These tools are a pleasure to work with and I learned alot about them along the way. I sure like the looks of new tools, but I cannot justify the cost when there are so many good used examples out there and with the savings made, I can further expand the tool selection. Plus, if I had new tools I would be scared to get them dinged up. With used tools, dings add to the patina!

-- Mike

View KnifeL's profile

KnifeL

86 posts in 1535 days


#6 posted 1535 days ago

Electrolysis eh? I’d like to hear more about this… Turned out to be a great block plane, nice!

-- Will in Boulder, CO

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2694 posts in 1869 days


#7 posted 1534 days ago

I totally agree with you on the restoration of old planes. I have several and love using them. There is a tremendous amount of satisfaction in seeing great shavings coming from what most people would have considered a piece of junk. The work is very rewarding.

Nice job on the block plane. You will obviously enjoy it.

-- She thought I hung the moon--now she just thinks I did it wrong

View Dennisgrosen's profile

Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 1698 days


#8 posted 1533 days ago

Electrolysis is very effectiv, takes a little time but that´s okay
if we want a shiny one from start we had bought it …..right

I´m with you all the way about this kstefektiv thing new vs used
as a hobbywoodworker
but I allso realy vish I could affort the schoulderplane from Bridgecity tool works
or one of Wayne Andersons handmade planes
just becourse of there buty they most be a joy to work with them and look at
but as a hobbywoodworker with a lov budget I wont even consider them to
be in my list of those tool I need

Dennis

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

GardenTenders.com :: gardening showcase