Plane Rehab

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Project by CharlieM1958 posted 02-14-2011 04:26 AM 3246 views 6 times favorited 45 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’m afraid I’ve been bitten by the plane bug.

After debating shelling out $200+ for a #4 Veritas, I came across this pair of old Stanleys (#4 and #5) on eBay. The second photo shows their original condition. Based on the seller’s 100% rating and his promise that all the major parts were in good shape, I decided to go the rehab route rather than buy brand new. I’m extremely happy with my decision. After spending a good part of the weekend cleaning these up and honing the irons on my new Worksharp3000, they were turning out newspaper-thin shavings with ease. As an added bonus, the process of taking them apart and putting them back together again took a lot of the mystery out of planes for me. Now I finally understand what all the screws, levers, and various adjustments actually do!

I was able to date the #4 as a Type15, built in 1931-32, and the #5 as a Type 19, manufactured between 1948 and 1961. I find it pretty amazing how well made these things are. Considering they are 50-80 years old, and all it took was a few hours of work to make them look like new… well, I think that says it all.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

45 comments so far

View bigike's profile


4050 posts in 3254 days

#1 posted 02-14-2011 04:35 AM

great work, i have like two I can send ya if you still have the bug? LOL ;)

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

View David175's profile


101 posts in 2655 days

#2 posted 02-14-2011 04:35 AM

they look brand new, good job and have many happy shavings

-- Dave..Pensacola Fl.........In GOD we trust

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4184 days

#3 posted 02-14-2011 04:39 AM

Ike: No problem. You don’t want them back, right? :-)

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View SawDustJack's profile


28 posts in 2627 days

#4 posted 02-14-2011 04:44 AM

schweet , I have a pair of Baileys , #5 and #22 and a Millers Falls 14 in rehab myself , looks great

View Eric_S's profile


1565 posts in 3161 days

#5 posted 02-14-2011 04:49 AM

Congrats Charlie. I LOVE my old, used stanleys as well. What did you use to clean them? My old stanley’s soles are polished but the tops could use a little work and currently look like the original pics of yours but a tiny bit cleaner.

-- - Eric Noblesville, IN

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3788 days

#6 posted 02-14-2011 04:51 AM

Charlie, talk about a night and day difference! You did a nice job on the rehab. And it is made even more impressive with the “before” picture. These planes look better now than they did when they were new.

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

View steliart's profile


2595 posts in 2654 days

#7 posted 02-14-2011 05:01 AM

very good rehap

-- Stelios L.A. Stavrinides: - I am not so rich to buy cheap tools, but... necessity is the mother of inventions

View Woodwrecker's profile


4137 posts in 3541 days

#8 posted 02-14-2011 05:01 AM

Man O Man Charlie, those came out smokin!
They look brand new.
I got an old #4 and rehabed it, but I have to admit yours looks a lot nicer.
Good going !

-- Eric, central Florida / Utor praemia operibus duris

View PflugervilleSteve's profile


99 posts in 3008 days

#9 posted 02-14-2011 05:06 AM

Nice job. I’m VERY impressed with the look. I’ve done some plane refurbs and you’ve done a fantastic job. In fact you’ve raised the bar for me.

For rust removal I’ve tried electrolysis, old school elbow grease, a dremel, a polishing wheel on my grinder (using emery), brass and steel wire wheels and brushes, and various grits of sandpaper on a granite surface plate. I’d like to see if I can get some of my efforts to turn out as well as yours, so…

Did you repaint the Japanning (black part)? If so what did you use? (I tried black engine paint on one – worked ok…)

What was your general method on wood refurb? Stripper? New finish?

Rust removal method?

Polishing/surfacing method?


View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4184 days

#10 posted 02-14-2011 05:07 AM


Eric, mostly just Simple Green on the japanned parts, emery cloth and steel wool on the bare metal. The knobs and totes were lightly sanded, then buffed on my three-wheel lathe buffing system.

The japanning on the #4 was in a little worse shape, so I used an industrial-grade spray paint.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18247 posts in 3642 days

#11 posted 02-14-2011 05:10 AM

Welcome to the club :-)) I just sharpened mine as necessary. Maybe someday I’ll get them like new. Good job Charlie.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4184 days

#12 posted 02-14-2011 05:13 AM

Steve, I did the #4 first and used a wire wheel a lot, but I found the finish uneven and had to do a lot of polishing. So on the #5, I just went with progressive grits of emery. It took a little elbow grease, but overall it was easier than I expected.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View SST's profile


790 posts in 4161 days

#13 posted 02-14-2011 05:16 AM

Way to go! I’m convinced that you don’t have to spend up for new stuff when there are an abundance of these great Stanley’s out there. All the planes in my shop are re done old Stanleys & work great.

-- Accuracy is not in your power tool, it's in you

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3140 days

#14 posted 02-14-2011 05:52 AM

Very nice job, Charlie !

I’m glad I bought the tools, new, that I did buy, new. They got me up and running with a functional shop, quickly … which was valuable to me.

But now … I’m sold on the notion, the reward, and the value of bringing old iron back to life.

Kudos to you for doing such a nice job of that :-)

-- -- Neil

View Karson's profile


35111 posts in 4366 days

#15 posted 02-14-2011 07:14 AM

Nice clean up jpb Charlie. They look like new.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

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