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Hand Planes #5: Plane restorations

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Blog entry by dsb1829 posted 10-28-2008 06:28 PM 1023 reads 1 time favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: My newest sweety Part 5 of Hand Planes series Part 6: Working on planes »

Over the last several months I have taken time that could have been spent woodworking to adopt and care for some old planes. Most were inexpensive, rusty, and unkept. With a little time and attention these antiques are ready to serve another generation of user. I think that is pretty cool. In this era of disposable tools these relics of a time gone by are heartwarming. These tools have character. All are 50-100 years old and a testament to the “they don’t make em like they used to” sentiment.

Here is a photo slideshow of a few of them:

-- Doug, woodworking in Alabama



7 comments so far

View HokieMojo's profile

HokieMojo

2103 posts in 3194 days


#1 posted 10-28-2008 07:50 PM

It looks like we’ve spent our summers doing similar things. I was/am working on restoring stanley number 3,4,5, and 7. I have to say, yours looks to have come out better than mine. I did the electrolysis thing, which does a good job getting them clean, but I had trouble getting the planes dry before they’d start rusting again. Then I added boshield rust remover (basically phsphoric acid) to the process and applied that as soon as it came out of the electrolisis bath. It definitely grays the iron quite a bit, but it should help prevent future rust.

The drawback is that the grayish metal makes black streaks and eliminates and possibility of a mirror finish on the planes, so I guess I’ll need to run it over some scrap a few times to at least remove the black streaks. The jointer (7) has been sharpened and seems to work pretty well in the limited applications I’ve put it through. I’m working on sharpening the rest of the blades, but I’m not so good at this yet.

The photo where you look to have tested a plane on some cherry (maybe a #5?) looks awesome. Youve got a mirror finish and clean consistent shavings. I don’t think mine is quite there, but I think it has more to do with my struggles sharpening. Thanks for the great pics. You are right, it is a real satisfaction to give these tools a second life. I’m ussually sick of hearing people say they don’t build things like they used to, but this may be one of the cases when this is true! Great work!

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HokieMojo

2103 posts in 3194 days


#2 posted 10-28-2008 07:56 PM

2 more things. It looks like you have the same honing guide as me, so there goes my excuse to blame my sharpening skills on my tools. lol. I am trying scary sharp method for now, but to be honest, I think it is still just a lack of practice.

Also, what did you do to clean up the handles? they look great.

View dsb1829's profile

dsb1829

367 posts in 3093 days


#3 posted 10-28-2008 08:44 PM

Yep, from the looks of e-bay sales we aren’t the only ones on this quest. I hear you on rust, summer in the South has been an interesting experience for me. I came from CA, so this cast iron rusting within minutes is new to me. I was using wd-40 and paste wax or parafin until recently when I picked up some t-9. Gotta say the t-9 stops rust much better. I do the spray on and wipe dry. After an overnight cure I go back over the top with wax to make the surface slick. I haven’t noticed any tracks, maybe the post t-9 waxing prevents that.

I have been pretty selective in my planes. I try to get ones with a nice patina and avoid ones with active rust running wild. Generally I do a combination of scotchbrite, steel wool, and wire brushing on most parts. Then I follow with sole flattening and truing the sides if I plan to use the plane on side. Personally I think the quest for a mirror finish is a bit silly for anything but a finish smoother. The cast iron is a bit soft and will take on scratches from the wood (or minerals embeded in it). I go to flat on the important areas, if it is not too far off I may go until everything is flat. Generally I don’t spend that much time lapping. There is minimal improvement in performance for the extra effort.

Biggest improvement in my sharpening was the addition of a granite slab and introduction of stone flattening often. It may erode the stones quicker, but keeping them flattened throughout a sharpening session gives much more consistent results. So far that cheap honing guide has worked on most of my blades. Only my shoulder plane iron doesn’t work.

Handles are sanded with 320g, then refinished. Can you find the 2 tote cracks on the no4? The no7 I used poly on. The 3 I just buffed up. The no4 I used shellac. So far I think the poly is the brightest finish, but is a bit more work to apply. The shellac is more genuine and can be used even over the japaning.

-- Doug, woodworking in Alabama

View wadestock's profile

wadestock

24 posts in 3088 days


#4 posted 10-29-2008 02:46 AM

Thanks for the post. I have a 181 rabbit , a 75 bullnose and a 60 1/2 plane in the mail from ebay. They look pretty rusty but I’m going to try the electrolysis method. I managed to get my #4 sharp enough to get me excited about using planes.

View blackcherry's profile

blackcherry

3313 posts in 3289 days


#5 posted 10-29-2008 05:11 AM

It seem that I was not the only one who caught the old plane virus this past summer. Over this past summer I’ve collect roughly 20 planes and had a great time in bring these beauty back to life. The joy of using a well tune plane is the most fun I have in woodworking in such a long time. I have to credit Lie Neilsen associate demostrator with his keen insight in sharpening….once he straight me out on his method of repeatability of setting the hone guide the rest is shear magic. Some of my favoite user friendly plane are the WWll extra heavy cast bodies…these planes do not have the brass ajustment wheel instead they have a stamp hard rubber wheel. I do plan on posting some pic when time permit. Thanks Dsb for the post

View HokieMojo's profile

HokieMojo

2103 posts in 3194 days


#6 posted 10-30-2008 03:27 PM

I didn’t notice the cracks in the handles. I have tried BLO on one of the lighter handles and i did garnet shellac over some dye on another. I think the other two might be rosewood, but they are pretty covered in paint and dirt. I’ll have to give it an awful good cleaning beforeI can figure out what needs to happen.

I really want to try some sharpening stones (all I’ve got is a diamond stone right now), but my birthday wish list is so long already, who knows…

View dsb1829's profile

dsb1829

367 posts in 3093 days


#7 posted 10-30-2008 04:47 PM

Most of my handles are rosewood. The no.5 is one of the lighter painted black types though. I haven’t done any restoration on those handles yet. I am thinking black dye with shellac over it to maintain the original look without paint.

Sharpening is a disease. It can be done a million ways and you may end up wanting to atleast test drive half of the methods. I am not a huge fan of the diamond stuff and only have some smaller paddles of it. In the end I like to set the bevel in the plane iron with sand paper then go to 2-3 water stone grits and call it good.

-- Doug, woodworking in Alabama

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