Brass side rabbet planes restore
New life to old tools.
Once in a while we stumble upon a tool that calls us.
Yes that call us, even it’s not our name written on it.
Most of the time I don’t buy a tool I already have, at least never one that are the same model, but once in a while we see something we have and don’t need, we know we will use on rare occasions, but that have this special message that calls your name, this special feel to it, this hidden message of having been used and even made with hands that cared, yes I will even sometimes say I can see it was made or / and used with love.
This blog is about one or actually two of these.
The picture on E-bay, where I saw them while looking at something else.
The text was: Vintage Brass side rebate planes for L & R hand use (Pair).
I made a bid and got them for 13 GBP or 20 USD, this I think was a fair deal.
The front can be screwed of so they can be used for stopped rabbets.
They are with no doubt homemade, have something that looks like grinder tracks by the mouth and the irons are of doubtful condition, so even they might work as is, I bought them with the plan to bring new life to them.
First step was to make new irons.
The old once were not the same, on did not fit too well and the other were short.
So a little grinding with a shaft tool to begin with.
A block plane iron is cut to size.
The good thing about these small grinders is they don’t make the iron over heat if you go slowly, so you will not lose the hardening.
Then the last bit is sanded of for a perfect fit.
Like this I got two irons out of one, and even have some left over for another project.
Then I used the old blades as guide for shaping the new blades skewed cutting edge.
Just freehand shaping and lots of dipping in cold water, to avoid the edge getting too hot.
Then final shaping on the wet grinder.
Now some metal work was again required, since I made new irons none of the iron holders was fitting.
So I needed to solder a little extra brass under them, using silver solder.
Here you see one, while it’s still red hot.
And here sitting on the iron, before I adjusted the height and polished it.
Now there are two fully functional planes.
The only wood here, are the wood around them and this project is posted as made of wood!
Shame on you Mads!
(On this photo you can see the front can be screwed of them so they can be used for stopped rabbets also).
Ahhhh looking at the old types, I can see something is missing…
Wooden knobs of course.
I choose to look at my sweet 62 for inspiration, while playing on the lathe.
So some hardwood, this is actually a piece from a local harbor pier, someone had left a pile of offcuts.
Yes, something like this…
Giving it some darkness, think it will be good with the old brass.
Soaking a while in Danish oil.
Testing how it looks, before drilling holes in the planes.
Want them a little higher, so I will have to reshape the base of the knobs a wee bit.
Ohhh yes, while I was out shopping glue, I saw this on an antique shop, the price tag was 5 USD, so I had to bring it home with me…
Yes I do have several braces, so this one was just one of those tools calling my name. ;-)
Threading the knobs.
Then drilling holes in the planes for them.
Used a punch to mark the exact spot, so the drill will stay where it’s supposed to.
Threading the holes with a tap.
Here we are.
Finally I can say it’s a project made of wood…
But the story have one more non wood part.
This time we start with a sheet of brass on my table saw, with an aluminum cutting blade, works fine and I go slowly.
Depth stops are the goal here.
Marking up for the long holes, each are different due to the handmade planes.
Again using a punch to make exact marking for the drilling.
With a file opening up the hole.
Tuning in to fit the wonderful knurled brass screws I bought in Paris some years back.
Cutting them to length.
Testing sizes and fit with a washer.
Shaping a wee bit.
Testing in place.
Now time again for silver solder, I kind of like this.
Use a brass rod to strengthen the corner joint.
The three parts now soldered together.
Workshop looking like a silversmiths place.
Cutting, shaping and sanding.
Getting back the glow and removing the solder from surfaces.
Now shaped and clean.
Polished on the wheel, before and after.
Now just one thing remains.
I was never happy for the shaping of the plane bodies, one had a curve on top and the other nothing…
I want curves on both, this to make a better grip and to give it that sexy curve.
So my Supersander got to work some brass.
Freehand and with the eye and heart as guide.
So before I put the planes back together, the blades need a final sharpening on the Waterstones, since I am not happy with the whet grinder finish.
Grid 8000, this gives that wonderful mirror finish.
So the final test!
And yes they pass the test.
So here they are.
Back to life, still with their original life intact I think, but now with better grip due to the shape and knobs.
New depth stops a reality.
In my eyes a lovely pair, that can hopefully make shaves for many generations to come.
It sure were a good time I had bringing them back to glory.
Hope this blog can inspire others to bring back life to old tools.
-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.