The old time woodshop journals #7: Hidden handplane fortunes (Not going broke for shavings)

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Blog entry by jjw5858 posted 06-15-2012 09:49 PM 2475 reads 1 time favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 6: Tool tote handtool picks & restorations have begun! Part 7 of The old time woodshop journals series Part 8: The Millers Falls, Stanley, and the 2 dollar saw »

This particular blog goes out to the beginner woodoworking enthusiast as well as the experienced handplane guru who just enjoys looking at planes.
I would fall in between the two catagories and more on the beginner end myself by far….lol. But this is something I mostly hope beginning wood workers that want to start building their own handtool kit will see and read.

One handplane need not cost $200 dollars and up folks….lol. Lie Nielson makes top shelf tools no denying it….but I recieve their catalogs and I laugh. I would be afraid to pick up one of their beautiful planes in fear of scratching it…lol.

Now this is no knock on the Lie Nielson company at all….they make wonderful and great tools, but it is a chance to show some real beginners that you don’t need to get totally disgusted and have to save up for a year to own a nice jack plane, a few saws, etc and work wood on a self built bench!

This very expensive element without a doubt steers many possible intruiged handtool students away from picking it up at all….why?....too expensive! The part to me that is not funny…this means many people especially the younger generations will avoid learning this craft and will turn to something else.

This is where the auctions, flea markets…and even ebay…and there wonderful…....shipping costs……...will still get you in the game fast with a few tools and without signing over a loan for only one tool by some of these much higher priced tool makers.

Here is a slideshow of a recent Jackplane from a weekend auction that I brought back to life. With some supplies and some understanding of using a wire wheel….you can get so many ugly ducklings sitting in rust to chime again with real charm!

Take a look!

Pic 1-4: This sat with 2 others…..and $15 was for the asking…..I looked it over and felt this had promise…...I could have haggled for $12….but…..I just felt it would be worth the whole $15 so I hauled it home in my pickup truck!

Pic 5-7: I began to strip it down and get the WD-40 flowing…..I was going to do this resto just for me….I realize there are far more intense cleaning methods for collectors out there….but this is what the whole blog is about, someone that just wants to clean it, enjoy it and use it. I knew I had some real decent work ahead of me….lol

Pic 8-12: Much like the last cleanup I carefully used my wirewheel to wisk away the embedded rust and age. The totes were hand sanded, filed then oiled. Safety note…WEAR GOGGLES/GLASSES

Pic 13-15: This method using the wirewheel, sanding etc. requires a lot of hard work, but you can really accomplish a desirable finish. This cleanup/sharpening job took me about 4 hours or less give or take breaks here and there and just enjoying it all.

Pic 16: Got the blade in very simple condition….but not very sharp….so onto the diamond stones and then the strop with green compound. Seriously friends…I would use nothing else than the diamonds…....10-15 mins and I am back to my bench with a tasking edge. Again…..I realize Diamond stones are costly….and a good combo stone with oil will do a beginner just fine. You can also get an old belt and make a strop! Learn this way first and work up to some Diamonds….you will not regret them! I need to go back and add my 8 degree camber to this later….I

Pic 17: Shaves the arm hair right on off…..this deal is ready for some shavings!

Pic 18: Ahoy handplane pirates!!!!!...we got ourselves some fine sweeping shaves!!

So get out there woodwork adventurers and look for a rusty handplane! Out in the land of rust and junkyard relics lies many hidden handplane fortunes priced for far less than you may ever have thought you would pay…and a little work and sweat and you too can have a wonderful user to enjoy your next project on!

Have fun and pass it on to someone new to the craft.

Thanks for your time and talented inspiration, I saved one in the till for ya!



-- "Always continue to learn, laugh and share!" JJW

9 comments so far

View Brit's profile


7528 posts in 3021 days

#1 posted 06-15-2012 10:18 PM

Nice resto Joe.

I’ve found that the thing I value most about taking the time to restore tools (not just planes) to working condition is that I end up with an intimate knowledge of how they work and how to maintain them. I particularly love tools made in the 19th century when their design was more about function/beauty and less about ease and cost of manufacture.

-- - Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3196 days

#2 posted 06-15-2012 10:47 PM

Thanks for posting and giving tips!

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View Don W's profile

Don W

18992 posts in 2746 days

#3 posted 06-15-2012 11:23 PM

great restore Joe. I love seeing these go back into service. I love putting them there too. I’m wondering if it will ever get old for me.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Roger's profile


20949 posts in 2982 days

#4 posted 06-16-2012 12:07 AM

Very nice restore. Probably better than new

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View dpow's profile


503 posts in 3022 days

#5 posted 06-16-2012 03:26 AM

You hit the nail on the head, Joe. Too many woodworkers feel they need alot of money to buy the best handtool or power tool available. They jump into woodworking with all the right tools then find it involves learning and building their skills also – discouragement often follows. I think the skills we learn are the best part of doing what we do – followed by a nice collection of tools as a close second. I hope to own at least one expensive hand plane in my life – maybe a Lie Nielson or one of the many other fine modern day hand planes being built today. Until that day comes, I enjoy my ever growing collection of Stanley/Bailey planes. Many folks forget that these are the same planes the old craftsmen used to make the furniture and cabinet masterpieces that we modern day woodworkers(Lumberjockers) make great efforts to copy. Just my thoughts. I’m off to bed – going to the flea market at 7am. The early bird gets the handtools.

-- Doug

View jaykaypur's profile


4017 posts in 2586 days

#6 posted 06-16-2012 11:08 AM

I am amazed every time you do one of these “restore” blogs. You really bring these tools back to life. You did a great job on this one too.

-- Use it up, Wear it out --------------- Make it do, Or do without!

View jjw5858's profile


1135 posts in 2780 days

#7 posted 06-16-2012 12:36 PM

Thanks friends for taking the time and looking, as I cleaned more and more I saw that the wear underneath the rust was not that bad at all…..this is a very nice jackplane. Take care and have fun!


-- "Always continue to learn, laugh and share!" JJW

View Mauricio's profile


7144 posts in 3330 days

#8 posted 06-18-2012 07:01 PM

Sweet Joe, Vintage is the way to go. Like Andy said you gain in intimate understanding of the tool.

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View DaddyZ's profile


2475 posts in 3219 days

#9 posted 06-18-2012 07:15 PM

Very Nice – Nice Point to your story Also !!!!!!!!

-- Pat - Worker of Wood, Collector of Tools, Father of one

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