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Tool Restoration #1: The New Series Intro

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Blog entry by Tomcat1066 posted 01-28-2008 11:15 PM 1293 reads 0 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Tool Restoration series Part 2: Norvell Shapleigh Panel Saw restoration »

Well, now, most of my work lately has been tool restoration and rehab. As such, it’s not really woodworking, but not not woodworking either, since these are woodworking tools. Some of you have seen my Disston and my back saw. I’m pretty proud of both of those. But here’s a tool you guys haven’t had a chance to see yet.

This is a DE7. Sounds odd, but it’s just a #7 jointer plane put out by Shapleigh’s Hardware. I picked this up for $19.99 on ebay. I wanted a jointer plane pretty bad, and stumbled along on this one. I suspect that the only reason it was still there was because no one who saw it knew what DE7 was. I didn’t either, but Google is my friend. So, without further ado, here’s the plane!

DE7 Before

It’s not that bad really, from the pic. Unfortunately, there was streaks of white paint on the sole and rust was everywhere. To top things off, someone had painted over much of the plane at some point in the past. The only things spared the paint was the blade, chip breaker, tote, and knob. Even the brass adjustment was painted over, though most of it had chipped off by the time I got it.

I picked out the rest of the paint I could get to on the brass adjustment knob, then broke the plane down. The frog was in pretty good shape, just needing some surface rust knocked off. The inside of the bed wasn’t to bad either. The interior of the bed had been painted black, making it difficult to tell how the japanning was, so I quit messing around and got to work.

Some people use citric acid to clean planes. Others use electrolysis. Both methods seem to work fine. However, I took a page from my saw rehabs and used mineral spirits and sand paper. I hit the blade and chip breaker, which were covered in rust. On the chip breaker, I found an etching that read “L. Bailey’s Patent Dec. 24, 1867”. On the blade was the words “Stanley Rule & Level Co.” I had suspected this was built by Stanley based on the lateral adjuster’s design, and this just reinforced that belief. After those were clean, I got to work on the sole and sides. The paint came off surprisingly easy, and the rust was mostly surface rust. However, it’s obvious from the pitting that this wasn’t always the case. Then I sanded the nasty black paint off the cap iron. It wasn’t original from what I could tell, so it needed to go. The layer of rust under the paint indicated someone just painted it to keep it from rusting worse. Looks pretty darn good now!

She’s not the prettiest girl at the ball, those are probably Veritas or Lie Nielsens, but she’ll definitely turn a head or two!

DE7 After

So…what do you think?

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!



16 comments so far

View Kevin's profile

Kevin

293 posts in 3420 days


#1 posted 01-29-2008 12:46 AM

I think it looks pretty good. I have gained a fair number of old planes and haven’t had the time to work on them yet.

I was thinking of using this method for the planes that have little “value”, but will be great to use in the shop.
I have a couple that may have some “value” to them and those will be treated a little softer.

Looks good. It is nice to see new life breathed into an old work horse.

-- Kevin, Wichita, Kansas

View Tomcat1066's profile

Tomcat1066

942 posts in 3257 days


#2 posted 01-29-2008 12:55 AM

Kevin,

Thanks for the compliment on my new baby :)

As for this affecting the value, I’m not so sure it will overall. The whole piece was hand sanded and was pretty lightly done.

However, I wouldn’t try this with a plane with significant rust. It would work, but it would take a while and eat up a lot of time and elbow grease. At that point, I’d go with either the citric acid or the electrolysis. If you use acid though, you’ll probably want to come back and use sand paper to clean it up a bit. Acid leaves a darker gray tint to the metal that just doesn’t look good. I’m not sure about electrolysis though ;)

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4012 posts in 3525 days


#3 posted 01-29-2008 03:55 AM

Trying electrolysis currently (get it?- current…okay, never mind). Just turns the rust into loose black iron, which allows you to scrub it off more easily. It’s cheap after buying the washing soda (about 6 bucks) and the rebar pins (two at 74 cents) and copper wire (coupla bucks). You will have to replace the rebar pins over time. They corrode and rust up with use. Not so enthralled with this.

I’m going to try Evapo-rust next.

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

View GaryK's profile

GaryK

10262 posts in 3450 days


#4 posted 01-29-2008 04:00 AM

Now that looks nice!

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Tomcat1066's profile

Tomcat1066

942 posts in 3257 days


#5 posted 01-29-2008 04:03 AM

Douglas,

Let me know how the Evapo-rust works for you please! I’m open for new ideas! Sure can’t hurt.

And for the record, I thought that “currently” was a little funny…very little funny :D

Gary,

Thanks! She turned out better than I thought she would, truth be told.

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

View jcees's profile

jcees

1015 posts in 3260 days


#6 posted 01-29-2008 04:08 AM

I’m not a fan of the bright work looks of a new plane. I prefer the natural patina that comes with a tool that was used by a workman and bears the mark of his hands and toil. That patina is paramount on collector’s tools and besides, I like it! I understand that this one was neglected and sometimes you can’t do any good but to restore it the best way you know how. You’ve got yourself a good user that when tuned up will provide you with many years worth of thin curly shavings.

When you have to use sandpaper just try and use long continuous strokes in order to approximate the factory grind. On these old planes that warrant the extremity of using abrasives, I clean the metal of all oils and contaminants and apply some Plum Brown metal finish by Birchwood-Casey. You can pick it up in a gunshop or through a catalog such as Brownell’s. Follow the directions and what you’ll end up with is a nice looking dark and almost natural patina that will wear-in nicely over the ensuing years. A light coat of WD40 or any fine lubricant and you’ll stave off any rust in the future. Sweet!

Also, in the future, and BEFORE you attack a vintage iron plane with sandpaper, sneak up on it first with 0000 steel wool instead. And if you want to replace or refurbish the japanning, I have a source for the real thing. Let me know, but with a caveat, you’ll want to do the deed when the missus is out of town because she will raise holy heck with the smell you put in her oven and by extension the whole damn house. If she’s away, then you’ll have time to Easy-Off the oven and air the house out before she returns. But it sure is pretty.

always,
J.C.

-- When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. -- John Muir

View Tomcat1066's profile

Tomcat1066

942 posts in 3257 days


#7 posted 01-29-2008 04:12 AM

Thanks J.C. I’ll probably take you up on that with regards to the japanning. For the record though, a previous owner did the painting. I’m just making due with it. I did, however, remove the paint on the lever cap. Just looked horrible there.

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

View clieb91's profile

clieb91

3492 posts in 3396 days


#8 posted 01-29-2008 04:25 AM

Tomcat, looks like a another great restoration.

-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- PortablePastimes.com (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View Tomcat1066's profile

Tomcat1066

942 posts in 3257 days


#9 posted 01-29-2008 04:30 AM

Thanks Chris. It’ll be a little while probably until I can get to the next one. It should be a challenge ;)

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

View Eric's profile

Eric

875 posts in 3245 days


#10 posted 01-29-2008 05:35 AM

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4445 posts in 3424 days


#11 posted 01-29-2008 06:06 AM

Looks like a good’un. Get’er clean, get’er flat and get ‘er to work!

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Dorje's profile

Dorje

1763 posts in 3458 days


#12 posted 01-29-2008 08:22 AM

Looks like the cat on the Friskies bag wants to get its hands on that plane and take it for a spin…

How does the sole look – will it need some lapping?

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

View rikkor's profile

rikkor

11295 posts in 3336 days


#13 posted 01-29-2008 12:04 PM

Good looking restoration. Thanks for the step-by-step.

View Tomcat1066's profile

Tomcat1066

942 posts in 3257 days


#14 posted 01-29-2008 12:19 PM

Thanks folks! As of right now, the sole is already flat, so no needs to do anything there. I just need to sharpen her and see what she can do!

Which will be promptly followed by me trying to find out how to tune her better :)

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

View mot's profile

mot

4911 posts in 3498 days


#15 posted 01-29-2008 04:39 PM

Ooof, I’m amazed at you guys that restore these things. My neighbor has a truckload of rust. Some planes that are from Stanley that are stamped Made in Canada. A bunch of #5’s and #7’s. He asked for help in restoring them. I just ran away screaming. He reads this site, so I hope he’s come across the electrolysis method.

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

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