Hand Planes #6: Working on planes

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Blog entry by dsb1829 posted 11-20-2008 07:05 PM 1506 reads 1 time favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: Plane restorations Part 6 of Hand Planes series Part 7: No5 Restoration »

Been fussing over some hand planes in the garage. Okay, so what’s new there?

Yep, that’s right Evapo-rust
This stuff is cool. Dissolves/converts rust in a non-toxic and non-corrosive chemical reaction. It is rare to come in contact with a cleaning solvent that actually works yet is not something that you have to worry about getting on your skin. Here is an example…



About 5 minutes with a wire brush and the dark oxide comes right off leaving a surface about as good as new. Other than a little babysitting this process is a very minimal effort for the returns. Cost is about $20/gal and it is reusable.

Here is another example of what can be done.



There is some sort of an etching reaction as part of the process. Note the gray hue to the raw metal. This etch by itself will prevent rusting up to 2 weeks. Of course if you want shiny metal you do have to buff through it.

The No.6 pictured above was a fun project. I will most likely release it back into the wild though. I was looking for this size plane and picked up this rough one on ebay. Then out of the blue my dad shows up with another one. So here I am with 2 of the sme plane except one does have some family relevance. I think I can flip this one now that it is restored for enough to cover the evapo-rust, stripper, and paint. Time is out the window though since I don’t get payed to tool around in the garage.

-- Doug, woodworking in Alabama

8 comments so far

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 3725 days

#1 posted 11-20-2008 08:20 PM

Thats a beaut. I spent significant time messing with electrolysis and then a quick spray with t-9 rust remover (phosphoric acid). This looks much easier and safer (not electircal cords dunked in buckets of water, no acid). Do you dunk the plane in the evaporust, or do you just bruch it on and then scrub? Do you know why the graying occurs? Does the gray rub off on the wood when planing? Sorry for all the questions. I’ve just foudn plane restorations to be more challenging than I originally thought.

Thanks for the post!

View dsb1829's profile


367 posts in 3625 days

#2 posted 11-20-2008 08:31 PM

Yep, this may not be the fastest but it makes up for that in the fact that it is safe to work with. It is also kind of a 2in1 since it strips and does an etch similar to phosphoric.

You need to either submerge the parts or brush on a heavy coat and bag to prevent evaporation of water from the solution. I just found a tray at Lowes big enough to fit a #6.

Best results were to clean and disassemble the planes, strip the japanning, then dunk for about 1-2 hours, pull it and give it a quick scrub and wipe down, then dunk overnight. You don’t have to remove the japanning, but I found that most of the planes I have done this to had rust under what appeared to be good japanning. It would be a shame to have the situation where a good looking restore starts to deteriorate from unseen rust. Of course if the plane was over 75% japanning I would leave it intact.

The gray is an oxide I imagine. It will not just wipe off. It can be broken through with scotchbrite or sandpaper pretty easy though. I left it on for protection, personally I wasn’t going for the shiny new tool look. It doesn’t leave marks on the wood.

I agree, restoration is a challenge but I like bringing these great tools back to life.

-- Doug, woodworking in Alabama

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3819 days

#3 posted 11-20-2008 09:08 PM

Doug, This is a really nice restoration job. I love seeing neglected tools like this transformed into, for all practical purposes, a brand new looking piece.

Well done.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Tomcat1066's profile


942 posts in 3793 days

#4 posted 11-20-2008 09:15 PM

Very nice! I’ve done a couple of planes myself, but haven’t gotten any of them tuned up correctly so far as I can tell. Personally, I kind of like the gray oxidation. Makes it look like an older tool…which it is of course ;)

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

View SteveKorz's profile


2134 posts in 3711 days

#5 posted 11-20-2008 09:31 PM

That’s pretty cool… it intrigues me… I’ve got some planes that are on my list to restore, I may have to give this a shot. Thanks for the info.

-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 3725 days

#6 posted 11-20-2008 10:28 PM

Thanks for the answer. I think I might just give this a try. I assume you used some spray paint to replace the japaning? It really does look great. I keep checking ebay, but I think I’ve got to stop buying for a while. Woodworking can be an awfully expensive hobby.

View dsb1829's profile


367 posts in 3625 days

#7 posted 11-20-2008 10:46 PM

Here is the process as it has evolved
1. disassemble and scrub everything down with a cleaner, simple green works well for me.
2. Strip the original finish or what’s left of it in my cases
3. Dunk the now bare castings into evapo-rust, this will completely derust the plane and is a very minimal investment of time and effort. A few hours or overnight, your call.
4. Air dry. Overnight is probably best. This is okay after evapo-rust since it is protected against flash rusting.
5. Spray on 5-6 coats of Duplicolor semi-gloss engine enamel
This enamel after about 5 coats take on a very close to original look.

Here is one that has been sprayed. I masked the sides and plugged the screw holes, placed it on a foam pad that I had laying around, oiled the frog contact areas so paint would not stick, and sprayed repeat coats every 10 minutes until I got the desired thickness.

-- Doug, woodworking in Alabama

View Will Mego's profile

Will Mego

307 posts in 3709 days

#8 posted 11-21-2008 02:03 AM

I too can vouch for evaporust, I restored a completely solid block of rust that contained a stanley block plane within, and you’ve never know it had a speck of rust on it. On a flat bastard file I picked up at an estate sale of an old friend and neighbor I painted it on with a tiny brush and just let the stuff seep into the grooves and later just wiped it off (you wet the surface before applying, and rinse after, both times with water) and it looks a million times better. It’s good stuff.

-- "That which has in itself the greatest use, possesses the greatest beauty." -

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