I’ve been searching for a #7 for a while now. I finally stumbled onto one in and antique shop that was within my acceptable price range. My wife and I was riding the bike through southern Vermont and stopped at this small shop. I wound up walking away with a nice #3 and a #7. How great is it to combine two pleasurable pass-times in one afternoon.
The nice thing about woodworking as a hobby, is you can work as inspiration strikes. Yesterday I was working on the drawers for my new (well not so new anymore) workbench, I had them glued up and set off to the side, when I just walked over to the plane rack (here’s the plane rack. Note the #7 doesn’t look so good.)
and grabbed the #7 to take a look. Inspiration struck and I was off to restore. This plane was actually in pretty good shape. The sole was flat, the blade had a nice hollow bevel, and the rust was very superficial. The jappaning was missing a bit more than I anticipated, so I decided to give it a coat of black after the good cleaning was complete.
The plane is actually worn more the any other plane I’ve bought. Not worn from abuse, but from use. I could tell it was used by a craftsman who liked his tools and maintained them well. As i said, the blade had a nice 25 degree hollow grind, which I left. The blade was 90 degrees but it has been sharpened many times. Only a fraction of its original glory remains. The handles took minimal sanding. The only spot that took the normal attention was the frog. It may have been flat, but the original machine marks were still very prevalent. I don’t try to get this shiny and spotless, but I usually do take out the larger tool marks.
As I was working with this plane, I could envision an elderly gentleman gliding it across the workpiece. He touted a half smile, unwilling to allow the stiff joints of his aging limbs to prevent him from achieving his daily pleasures. His persistence and caring of this piece of equipment will allow me the same pleasures, with the same occasional stiffness and determination.
If only this plane could talk, it would have stories of pain and glory:
Stories of caring then neglect:
And a hope of a return to its former glory:
I’ve decided not to write through a step by step of this plane, but draw attention to the differences from my previous experiences you can read in this series. Each plane I restore, I learn a little. Not so much about the technical ways of how to perform each step, but of ways to make these planes my personal possessions.
Fir instance as I was sanding the knob and tote for this plane, I was thinking of the finish. When refinishing my rifle stocks, I always use an oil finish, either tung or linseed oil. I decided to try the boiled linseed oil on these. As soon as the oil hit the rosewood, it made the grain pop. I decided at that point, all of my planes will get linseed oil instead of shellac. The other nice thing about the linseed oil is an occasional quick thin coat brings back the luster and after time, gives a nice, built up used look.
Other than that, the rest pretty much was straight forward. I polished the sides, cap, iron, screw, adjusters, and all the misc parts to a reasonable luster, waxed the sole and let it dry over night before putting it back together.
I then tested it out to make sure the blade was sharp, adjusted the throat (I alway have it open to much, I habit I am trying to break) and hung it back up. The next picture of the plane rack will show a completed #7.
I hope reading this series gives some inspiration, whether it be restoring tools, building boxes or climbing mountains. Not that I want another hearty sole competing against me on my next restore able purchase, but its a small price to pay to know the enjoyment and satisfaction that comes with a project completed and another memory made. I hope someday someone envisions me, gliding this plane across a workpiece, touting a half smile, unwilling to allow the stiff joints of my aging limbs to prevent me from achieving my daily pleasures. My persistence and caring of this piece of equipment will allow him the same pleasures, with the same occasional stiffness and determination!
Today, my life is good. Hope yours is as well.
-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.net