Restoring old Craftsman plane

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Blog entry by carlosjorge posted 09-25-2011 09:22 PM 10727 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This was bought on a flee market by 5€ (about 7$), just to see what I could do with it.

This is the final result, it was a fun project and I learned a few things with it. It works nicely, way better then I was expecting. My japaning turned out nice, didn’t expect that to work…


12 comments so far

View Tedstor's profile


1643 posts in 2658 days

#1 posted 09-25-2011 09:42 PM

Nice job.
Vintage Craftsman tools don’t get nearly as much respect as they deserve.

View carlosjorge's profile


14 posts in 2461 days

#2 posted 09-25-2011 09:59 PM

You’re right, I only see Stanley planes being restored. I couldn’t believe when I found it, a Craftsman plane here in Portugal. Its in working condition now and its a joy to use :)


View racerglen's profile


3112 posts in 2806 days

#3 posted 09-26-2011 01:49 AM

I agree with Ted, you’ve done a nice job, and also the old “Craftsman” brand stuff, made by lord knows how many manufacturers, don’t get near..etc etc..

-- Glen, B.C. Canada

View Joe Watson's profile

Joe Watson

316 posts in 3572 days

#4 posted 09-26-2011 02:21 AM

based on what i know of the brands that manufactured hand planes your plane was probably made by sargent or stanley. it has the sargent lateral adjuster but sargent at some point was purchased by stanley. stanley made tons of hand planes for other companies using the lateral of companies they purchased. for instance i have a keen kutter that has a union lateral which is another company that stanley purchased. if you know when the plane was made you can determine who made it for sears. later stanley made craftsman werent all that great but then that was actually about the time that stanley wasnt exactly in great quality either. however early craftsman planes were just fine planes. I just came across a craftsman that isnt one of the better quality planes but was tunable and took some nice shavings.

-- Got Wood?

View DamnYankee's profile


3301 posts in 2587 days

#5 posted 09-26-2011 02:24 AM

Thanks for the inspiration, I am reconditioning a Dunlap (also a Sears brand). I found out it is a Sargant palne made for the Dunlap label.

-- Shameless - Winner of two Stumpy Nubs Awards

View carlosjorge's profile


14 posts in 2461 days

#6 posted 09-26-2011 11:07 AM

When I was restoring it I searched on the web for it and I believe its Stanley made, but that doesn’t matter to me, the plane is dead flat, the blade have been sharpened and the wood handles are in great shape, what else can a guy ask from a old plane?
For what I paid, and what I ended up with, I’m really satisfied. This is my first metal plane (I have several old wooden planes to restore too) and for the looks of it, I won’t need another N#4 for a very long time :)


View Brad's profile


1139 posts in 2765 days

#7 posted 09-26-2011 03:24 PM

Hey Carl, that’s a lovely restore. Did I understand you correctly as having applied a japaning process to the body? Versus, say, spray painting it? If so, that’s simply amazing. It looks original.

But you left out an important part of the story…the ending. As told by your new beauty in pictorial form surrounded by freshly taken shavings. Do share :)

-- "People's lives are their own rewards or punishments."

View carlosjorge's profile


14 posts in 2461 days

#8 posted 09-26-2011 03:43 PM

Thanks Brad. I didn’t use “real” japaning, but the best next thing, an anti corrosive and very thick paint, used to protect metal parts on machinery, and hand tools. It doesn’t come off, like spray would and its really easy to apply. The final result is the same as the original japaning, maybe the product is really “canned japaning” with other name :P


View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15369 posts in 2643 days

#9 posted 09-28-2011 09:57 PM

I have a couple Craftsman planes with those reddish totes, too. How did you get yours looking so good?

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View Dan's profile


3630 posts in 2905 days

#10 posted 09-28-2011 10:32 PM

I have restored two Craftsman planes. One of them is the same one you did. I think they are fine planes, they are the same castings as the earlier stanley planes.

From what I remember the totes and knobs were stained a redish color. I stripped them down to the bare wood and refinished with a natural finish. I didn’t bother to look for a stain to match the original color. I think the redish color looks really good though.

Nice job!

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View carlosjorge's profile


14 posts in 2461 days

#11 posted 09-29-2011 01:10 AM

I tried to keep the original colour, it ended up nice. Both wood pieces were sanded to 600 grit and then applied 1 layer of walnut satin varnish.
The metal was just sanded and polished a bit, and the japaning inside the base.


View Don W's profile

Don W

18754 posts in 2593 days

#12 posted 09-30-2011 03:47 PM

Nice job. I’ve restored a couple early craftsman. I agree they work very well. They are a dime a dozen here in the states.

I’d like to hear more about the paint you used. I use Dupli-Color Engine Enamel DUPDE1635 Ford Semi Gloss Black spray paint and it looks pretty close. Yours also has the “deep” look.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

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