Stanley #7 Restoration #4: Putting it all Together

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Blog entry by dfdye posted 03-12-2010 09:21 PM 1475 reads 1 time favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Grunt work Part 4 of Stanley #7 Restoration series Part 5: Grumble Grumble »

That’s right! The plane is put together for the first time since I got it. For reference, here is the picture I got from Wayne when he first offered the plane (my plane is the one in the foreground):

Here is what it looked like when it got to me:

And here is the plane now:

I skipped a few picture taking opportunities (namely the refinishing of the handle and filing/truing of the frog parts), but there are a few extra pictures in the photobucket folder if anyone is interested.

So far, this looks pretty good! I did not re-japan the plane, instead opting for several coats of semi-gloss Rustoleum for time, energy, and money saving reasons. It is not as nice of a finish as it would have been if I had gone for real asphalt japanning, but it works! Seemingly to make up for it, the handles look spectacular. The pictures here really don’t do them justice! They glow with that grain depth of oil finished dark woods that makes every woodworker drool! Of course when I went to put them on the plane, the Tung oil on the handles seemed to be just slightly tack, so there is some dulling that I think will burnish out when the Tung oil completely dries. Yea, I know, I got impatient and got what I deserved. If I have to, I can easily pull the handles, rub them back down with some steel wool, and actually let the Tung oil cure next time.

I am wondering out loud, though, if Danish oil might not have been a better option to give a burnished matte finish by rubbing with really fine grit sand paper. Just a thought. . . .

Before I put it in, I tried to grind out some of the nicks from the blade, and did a half decent job of putting a hollow ground on the blade, despite the fact that I am TERRIBLE with a bench grinder. After that I slapped the blade in a honing jig and proceeded to grind a uniform 35 degree bevel with sandpaper. After I got a sufficiently nice primary bevel, I started lapping the back, and noticed that there was deep pitting on the back of the blade. What I had thought were gouges in the blade were actually pits in the back of the blade! No amount of grinding or honing is going to get this edge uniformly sharp. This kills me since I thought it would be really neat to have a good old blade with the old sweetheart logo, but it was not to be. I guess I am a glutton for punishment since I finished polishing the 35 degree bevel and put ~40 degree microbevel on it through 0.5 micron abrasive paper. I know I won’t actually use this blade for anything serious, but at least I can say it is as sharp as I can get it.

Moving to the chipbreaker, I was able to file down the really bad spots, but honestly, this thing is in need of replacement too. I was able to find replacement parts pretty easily, so I dropped in an order for a stock replacement chipbreaker and an A2-Cryo Hock blade that I’ll pick up through my local Woodcraft in a week or so (I would rather buy locally than order from the web store since those guys are always really helpful, and I want to send them business even if it means I have to wait a day or two longer to get my stuff.)

I had to resist temptation to buy a Hock chipbreaker, but after looking at them for too long, I think I will possibly to probably make my own custom chipbreaker based on that design. So why did I get a stock chipbreaker? Well, it was really cheap (~$6), so I figured it would be worth having around.

Now is the full disclosure time: All is not done! I have not touched the sole of the plane, which is (IMHO) the most critical part of getting this plane right. Here is a picture of how it sits now:

I am going to forgo trying to completely regrind the sole, and instead get the initial crud off with sand paper and try and “flatten” it the old fashioned way with a hand file. Yea, I know how insane this will be, but why not?? The sole is already pretty flat, I am sold on trying to preserve some of the history of the object, and it may even turn out to take less time overall than setting up and performing all of the grinding/milling operations I would want to ensure the sole was flat.

Assuming that a file gets things flat, then it will be the last step of the restoration! All I will be waiting on after this is my new blade and chipbreaker, but those are technically “upgrades.” I cheated a little when I got the plane together and tried a couple of shavings with the terrible sole. Predictably, it felt like I was dragging an anchor over the wood. I couldn’t get anything resembling a good cut, and there was no way it would be even CLOSE to usable in this condition. I did, however, get my first shavings, and though they were HORRIBLE, they brought a huge smile to my face!

Hopefully tomorrow I’ll be able to post some good shavings that will bring an even bigger smile to my face!

-- David from Indiana --

2 comments so far

View WayneC's profile


13754 posts in 4093 days

#1 posted 03-12-2010 09:57 PM

It is looking pretty good. I knew the handles would come out nice. I’ve used schallac to finish my handles.

I’m surprise at the pitting on the back of the blade. Do you have any photos, I’m interested to see what you came up against?

Also, I am surprised you chose as high a bevel angle as you did. A specific technique your using?

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

View dfdye's profile


372 posts in 3033 days

#2 posted 03-13-2010 12:16 AM

The handles are in very good condition, considering! There are a couple of chips out of the top of the handle and there are the obligatory scratches from use, but all-in-all, they are fantastic! There was some stubborn white paint spots that were annoying to get off, but once all was done, boy does this wood glow. It is deep and rich, and has that jewel-like depth that makes me wonder why I ever use anything but oil finishes. I am sure the shellac would be great too, but I would expect problems with wearing or chipping since it is in such a high use environment. What has your experience been?

As for the blade, I’ll take some photos when I get a chance, but the pitting is definitely there. It looks like nicks along the blade edge when the edge is sharp. Fortunately I’ll just be putting the blade on a shelf in case I ever pass this plane on to someone else. I think the blade will still make a decent cut, but I can’t polish out the back of the blade like I want. Even with a back bevel, the pitting still shows up, so it is definitely deep enough to matter.

The logic for the bevel angle was based on a great argument I heard regarding the cutting angle of any bevel down plane. They ALL cut at 45 degrees, regardless of the bevel! (well, assuming that the frog angle is 45 degrees) Think about it: the angle of the cut is dependent on the angle that the steel hits the wood. With a bevel down plane, the frog angle (plus any back bevel) determines the angle at which the steel hits the wood. The bevel of the blade only serves to keep the steel slightly above the surface of the wood. If I put a 20 degree bevel on my plane, it would still be cutting at 45 degrees, but the edge would wear a LOT quicker. I didn’t come across this concept until you got me looking more into the specifics of hand planes, but it makes a ton of sense. So, if I have a cutting bevel at 40 degrees, that leaves 5 degrees clearance between the edge of the blade and the wood—plenty of clearance to ensure a good, smooth cut, while keeping the most steel behind the cutting edge that I can. I am sure you could push it and get a few more degrees out of the bevel, but 5 degrees clearance seems plenty to me. (Remember, 40 degrees is the angle of the microbevel—the primary is at 35)

I use sandpapers down to 0.5 micron after a hollow grind on a 36 grit wheel, but in case anybody really wants the details, here goes. (Actually, this is an excuse to write this up for a friend who “kills” blades on his grinding wheel, and thus refuses to use hand tools since “I don’t know how to sharpen stuff well, and I don’t want to spend all that money on complicated water stones.”)

I “start off” polishing the back, though in truth I keep re-polishing the back throughout this process. This consists of sanding progressively down from 120grit to 600 grit sand paper. I try and get the blade shiny at least through the round hole in the base of the blade so that I won’t have to recondition the back again. Then I do my best free handed on a 36 grit grinding wheel to make a hollow grind at the angle I want to sharpen. I try to hold back from actually forming an edge at this point so as not to burn the blade (which I managed not to do this time! WooHoo! I am really bad with a grinding wheel). I never manage to hit this quite right free handed, so at some point I am really going to have to buy/build a jig. After that, I put the plane iron in a honing guide (you know those cheap $10 grey ones? they work GREAT!) set to a pre-determined length (I cut reference marks into my workbench with a utility knife for ease of setup) and hand grind the bevel using sand paper starting with 120 grit. Here is when I try and make sure the edge is really square to the body of the blade and that I get enough of a 35 degree grind on the blade to make sure things hold up well. Again, I move up through 600 grit sand paper (and at this point start paying attention to the back again to make sure I polish off the back wire as I am polishing the bevel), and then switch to 3M micro abrasives for 40 and 15 micron polishing (I sometimes to 5 micron just for fun, but it isn’t necessary).

I then reposition the honing guide angle for the micro bevel, and draw the blade backwards over the 15 micron film for about 3-4 strokes. If I go forward to start, on occasion I have gouged the paper—the blade is already pretty sharp at this point—do the back strokes help keep that from happening. After those first back strokes, I switch to a “normal” back and forth sharpening motion and establish the width of the micro bevel. Then, I flip the blade and honing guide upside down with just the blade on the 15 micron film, and the top edge of the honing guide supporting the blade about a degree above the glass surface and establish the back bevel (not sure if this makes sense, but I will post pictures if anybody is really super interested). I do this for 5 and 0.5 micron films, and I am done with a “scary-sharp” blade.

I have had GREAT results with this system, and I can blow through honing a chisel in a couple of minutes, including setup time, if I just have to hit the micro-bevel (I don’t do a back bevel on chisels, BTW). Grinding out bad gouges from an edge is tough with just the sand paper, and I would love a Worksharp for that if nothing else. But, I do have a grinding wheel, and if I ever make a jig to keep my angle consistent on the wheel, that should be all I really need with the sand paper.

I know that was too much information, but like I said, I was writing it up for a friend anyway! :)

-- David from Indiana --

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