Plane Restoration #7: Clean Up and Comparison

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Blog entry by bit101 posted 04-14-2014 03:14 AM 1163 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 6: Round Two!!! Part 7 of Plane Restoration series Part 8: Number 2 No. 4 is Done! »

Well, I got around to starting the clean up on this new No. 4. Took it all apart and hit it with some mineral spirits, paper towels, a stiff nylon brush, some steel wool in some places and a plastic abrasive pad in others. That got it pretty well ungunked.

Then sprayed just about all the metal parts with WD40 and did some more work with steel wool and some 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper. Things generally cleaned up pretty well. I didn’t touch the sole or do anything on the iron or chip breaker other than take off the surface rust yet.


Looking a lot better than yesterday.


1. There’s a fair bit of pitting on the iron, but it’s all way up, far away from the business end of things, so that should be fine.

2. The japanning is in rough shape in a lot of spots, but I’m not really too worried about that. If it hasn’t rusted out sitting in a pile somewhere all these decades, I think it will be ok for a few more decades with me.

3. The lever cap is in pretty rough shape. It’s plated. I believe they were doing nickel plating back then. And some of the plating has flaked off. Scrubbed it up the best I could, but it’s never going to look new again. But this is purely cosmetic. It can still do its job.


I was surprised at some of the differences between this new plane and my other.

I noticed that when I put this in my hands, my fingers were more cramped around the tote. Comparing it to my other No. 4, it’s actually quite a bit shorter.

Also, the mouth is much narrower.

(Again, I haven’t touched the sole on the new one yet.)

I’m a little concerned because in my initial messing around with it, it seems tough to get the blade anywhere but very near the front of the mouth, even pulling the frog all the way back. But I’m holding off worrying about it until I get the blade all properly ground and honed and the sole flattened. It may not be an issue.

Just before posting this, I started polishing the back of the blade. That’s going well.

Also, the knob and tote on this one were in pretty rough shape. Again, just cosmetically. They are solid and sound, but lots of paint splashes and the finish was not great. I cleaned those up with an abrasive pad and put coat of danish oil on them. Looks 100 times better already. But these are much darker than the nice reddish color on my other No. 4. I know for a while they were staining them black. These aren’t quite black, but very dark.

Hoping to get the iron in shape by tomorrow and see how the wood parts look when that coat of oil dries.

2 comments so far

View WayneC's profile


13775 posts in 4245 days

#1 posted 04-14-2014 05:42 AM

You can rub some oil or paste wax over the japanning to reduce the risk of rust or apply some Shellac. I’m looking forward to seeing some curls.

I’m not sure why you would want the blade back from the front of the mouth. You would want the blade very close to the front of the mouth on a #4.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View bit101's profile


106 posts in 2024 days

#2 posted 04-14-2014 03:23 PM

Sure, in general, I’d want it up close. But sometimes you might want to move it back for a bit more aggressive cut. Also, as I mentioned in the previous post, I was thinking about doing some of the alterations that Paul Sellers does, to turn it into almost a scrub plane – move the chip breaker back, camber the iron and open the mouth. I think he might actually file the mouth to open it more, but I doubt I’d go that far.

Anyway, with the frog all the way back, you have to crank the blade all the way forward to have it extend out the bottom at all. In fact, you can see that the chip breaker is a little chewed up where someone tried to jam it further forward and it hit the cap iron screw. That ends up being the limiting factor. Even then, the blade is pretty close to the edge of the mouth.

So I was afraid that with the frog forward, the blade may not even clear the mouth. But just tried it and it’s fine. It’s super close, but it comes right out and there’s still space there.

Also, this blade currently has about a 20 degree bevel max. And it’s out of square. So I’ll see how everything looks once I get that all fixed up.

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