Hand Planes #7: No5 Restoration

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Blog entry by dsb1829 posted 11-24-2008 06:32 PM 1763 reads 1 time favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 6: Working on planes Part 7 of Hand Planes series Part 8: Little woodie »

I have been recieving some questions on plane restorations, so I figure I will put together a start to finish on one of the planes I just did.

In the beginning we have a sub $10 e-bay win. Never going to win any beauty contests and not of a very well regarded vintage. So it is a perfect candidate for a facelift.

Initially I just cleaned it up and put it to work. This gave me a chance to test drive prior to investing much time or money. I would recommend testing a plane prior to a full restore if it is in a state that allows it.

Okay, now tear it down and strip it to bare metal. I used a combination of Aircraft paint removers. After a couple of application and rinse cycles you get to something that will likely look like this.

Next up is rust removal. There are several ways of going about this. Brute force method is to just take a wire wheel to it. Electrolysis is better option, but it is messy and requires hot wires in an open tub of water. Electrolysis is probably the most economical method if you plan on doing a lot of planes. Then there are the chemical chealators. Naval Jelly is just nasty stuff, but it will convert rust.

My preferred method is Evapo-Rust. Non-toxic, no offensive oddor, no worries of a chemical burn. It removes rust and creates a protective barrier against flash rusting.

After a couple of soak and rinse cycles you end up with a part that looks like this.

Some rust staining will remain, but the bulk of it will scrub off with a soft wire brush. So scrub it. After you are satisfied with the surface do a dip in the evapo-rust and let the part air dry. This will leave a protective film that lasts up to 2 weeks. I let the parts air dry overnight before proceeding.

Up next masking and painting. I stuff paper towel wads into the screw holes and mask the sides. I oil the frog pads so enamel won’t bond. Pretty simple. For paint I was recommended Duplicolor Engine Enamel. After using it a couple of times I agree that it is the way to go for a finish that mimics the original japanning, but is much easier to apply and readily available at places like Autozone. You will need to apply 4-6 coats in short sessions. Give about 10 minutes between coats. Here is what you will be looking like.

Allow 20-30 minutes after the last coat, but not enough time for the enamel to fully cure. Then remove all masking and plugs from the screw holes. Take care not to touch the wet enamel as it will leave marks in the finish. Allow the finish to cure overnight. You should now have something like this.

Now it is time to remove the enamel from the areas that it doesn’t belong. To remove it from the front, back, and top of the cheeks I just use some 120g sand paper. This is mainly just to restore the plane to an original aesthetic. You could leave the enamel on those areas if it doesn’t bother you.

Next prep the frog to sole interface. A light sanding to remove any enamel overspray may be all that is required. On the other hand some light machining may be in order. Several of my planes have had rocking at the interface. Use a file or machinist scraper to remove metal from the sole or the frog high points until the rocking is removed. Oil everything and reassemble.

I installed a Hock iron and chip breaker. I am really a fan of these. The added mass does make a significant difference in cut quality. I also like the clean interface that the machined chip breaker provides compared to the stock sheet metal version. I still have the stock iron and breaker, maybe I will camber them and use that set for roughing.

I used aftermarket replacement tote and knob on this plane. Since the originals were Beech painted black they weren’t worth restoring. I think I will put up a seperate blog to discuss refinishing of handles and cleaning/polishing of brass hardware.

The end result

-- Doug, woodworking in Alabama

9 comments so far

View Chris Cunanan's profile

Chris Cunanan

339 posts in 3508 days

#1 posted 11-24-2008 07:15 PM

i need to do this exact thing for the exact plane, thanks for sharing..looks great!

View Robb's profile


660 posts in 3961 days

#2 posted 11-24-2008 07:18 PM

That looks great! I admire your craftsmanship in restoration. Thanks for sharing.

-- Robb

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 3756 days

#3 posted 11-24-2008 07:18 PM

Great blog. Thanks for posting it. I feel a little foolish because I spent hours trying to clean up a cracked knob on one of my planes that was just as you described (dark stained beach). The crack isn’t enough to go all the way through, so it’s still usable, but it isn’t a clean enought break to be easily repairable. I’m thinking of trying to make my own replacement. We’ll see how that goes. Thanks again for the blog. Looking forward to a handle restoration blog!

View dsb1829's profile


367 posts in 3655 days

#4 posted 11-24-2008 11:51 PM

glad you all enjoyed the read.

-- Doug, woodworking in Alabama

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3849 days

#5 posted 11-25-2008 12:32 AM

This is a nice restoration job. I have one of these that I have restored to a functional state but this post gives me the inspiration to take it to the next level. I will definately have to put this on my to do list. Your plane simply looks wonderful!!

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

View dsb1829's profile


367 posts in 3655 days

#6 posted 11-25-2008 12:35 AM

Nothing wrong with functional state. Mine would likely still be there if I hadn’t been spurred into action by my 2 rust bucket no6 and some extra evapo-rust sitting in the tub.

-- Doug, woodworking in Alabama

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3700 days

#7 posted 11-25-2008 04:41 AM

Nice work!

View Dwain's profile


537 posts in 3887 days

#8 posted 11-25-2008 06:23 AM

Did you do any work to the sole or sides? Just curious. You have a fantastic resto there. Congratulations. I aspire to that quality of work…

-- When you earnestly believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling your efforts, there is no end to what you CAN'T do

View dsb1829's profile


367 posts in 3655 days

#9 posted 11-25-2008 04:52 PM

Hey Dwain, I lapped the bottom of the plane with 120g during the test drive period. I used the belt sander belt laid out on the cast iron TS top method (I just picked up a big granite surface plate, so I will be using that going forward). The sides are square, so no need to do any tweaking there. I realized as I was writing this up that a full restoration blog in one shot is not really going to happen. I could dedicate an entire entry to adjusting the frog-sole interface. So I think I will just cover topics as I document them.

I do have to caveat these blog entries. These are my methods, discovered online, developed through trial and error, and are subject to change/modification without notice. There are many ways of getting each step completed. This is just one method. Documentation is far from being a professional tutorial. It is more for the sake of giving others a taste to inspire them to get out and learn to do this themselves.

Thanks again for the comments. They are constructive and appreciated.

-- Doug, woodworking in Alabama

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