Just like the title says, I did a lot of grunt work tonight. First things first, I cleaned the paint off of the surfaces I should have taped off in the first place. I noticed some of the spots that should have been flat had a little bit of a burr on the edge from getting dinged through the years, so I pulled out a small file and flattened a few surfaces. A wire brush attachment on my Dremel cleaned out of the crevasses pretty nicely, but I did have to resort to dental picks for a few spots. Overall, the paint from yesterday looks fine, but it definitely lacks that deep plasticy rubberized sheen of the japanning. Also, all of the pits from the casting show through, which makes me want to experiment with some other method of painting, but I reminded myself that this is primarily a USER plane, and not a pure restoration project. I may still try some of the heavier spray on products like the engine enamel, but I will test those out on other objects before I try them on the plane (and that will wait until everything else is ready to go.
Besides cleaning up the unwanted paint from the frog and main body, I was able to clean up the sides of the plane and get all of the remaining crud and paint over spray off. Both sides are now a nice dull grey, and look very good. After rethinking of the best way to go about flattening the sides and sole of the plane, I decided against grinding and am going to clean up problem spots with hand filing if I can get away with it. I took a good, close look at the flatness of the sides once I got them clean, and there are only a few high spots around the edges of the casting. Well, that certainly makes filing those down a pretty easy proposition! The flatness of the sole of the plane looks pretty good once you get past the scaling, so I am going to pick up a sharp, new file tomorrow and try to do this the old fashioned way. In the long run, I think it will actually save time vs. regrinding.
Besides that, all of the brass parts got the crud sanded off of them too. Whatever this crud is—I think it is REALLY old oil that has formed some sort of plastic like coating—the only thing that seems to cut it is sandpaper. The good part is that all of the round brass parts got mounted to the cordless drill (one at a time, obviously) and got cleaned up with sandpaper and Scotchbrite pretty quickly.
The wooden handles are cleaning up very nicely, and I’ll probably post pictures tomorrow of how they turned out. I stripped the varnish they had, sanded them down to get all of the residual crud off, and am refinishing them with Tung oil. I went to buff out the first coat, and had the terrible realization that I was out of 0000 steel wool! Ouch. I used some 400 grit sand paper instead, but it just wasn’t the same. Second coat of oil is on now, and hopefully tomorrow night I’ll be able to buff it out (I love paper grocery bags as the final finishing abrasive for oil coats.)
Finally, I put a 2 3/8” A2-Cryo Hock blade on order today. I decided that, while using the original old blade would be neat, I really want this to work well. I am extremely impressed with the IBC A2-Cryo blade I got for my #4, and wanted a comparison with the Hock. I seriously doubt I’ll be able to tell a difference (besides the fact that they are different sizes) but I figured it would be worth getting the Hock just for the sake of making the comparison. The old chip breaker is pretty shot too, so I went ahead and ordered a stock replacement for right now. I would like to get a little time in the machine shop to build a custom one (and practice for building one to put in my future infill project) but that will have to wait. Besides, the replacement chip breaker was all of $6, so even if I do build a custom one, I am barely out any money if it just sits on the shelf for ever. Just having the spare around will be worth the price.
Speaking of prices, it looks like the total price of this plane restoration project (body, replacement blade, chip breaker, paint, general shop supplies, etc, but excluding shipping), will be right around the $90 mark. The #7 Groz is $82, but it would need a new blade, and a ton of work also. The #6 Woodriver is on sale for $112 now, but it isn’t really what I was looking for. Regardless of the cost, I am having a great time restoring the plane and already can tell it will turn out to be a wonderfully useful too that is a pleasure to use, but I still am left wondering if the most cost and time efficient route wouldn’t have been to go with the Woodriver. Just thinking. . . .
Of course this is way more fun, and as I said before, the great story I am getting from working on this plane is completely worth the time and energy invested!
I can’t wait until I actually start cutting wood!
-- David from Indiana --