Old Planes - Restore?

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Blog entry by reggiek posted 08-25-2009 08:27 PM 2933 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I was given these three very old planes and was wondering whether they are worthy of restoration? They are a bit rusty…some of the wooden handles need reglueing and finishing….and the blades need sharpening or replacing….There is no brand or markings on any of them other then “Made in USA” on the smaller one. Any ideas? and this one and the last one

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

10 comments so far

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3609 days

#1 posted 08-25-2009 08:32 PM

I was given a wondeful tip on restoring planes.The metal portions as you know can be made beautiful using this method use an old waterstone or oil stone to refurbish the sole and sides the stone makes a wonderful job of bringing the metal up like new.Hold the plane in a vise while doing this and they will soon come back to life.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3672 days

#2 posted 08-25-2009 08:52 PM

I would definitely give them the benefit of the doubt and try to restore them- there’s not much work involved, and the benefits are well worth it for usable planes.

I just restored this one which also included replacing the tote. just dealing with the metal would only be a couple of hours at most for all 3 planes.

good luck

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 3294 days

#3 posted 08-25-2009 09:02 PM

Thanks Purp…that was a nice project and that plane you restored lookks great…I believe one of these has a crack on the tote…I was going to try to glue it up before I made a new one….or else I have some very nice scraps of hardwoods to try out (I was saving them for handles of some kind anyway).....

Alistair’s suggestion sounds like a try too….I have some old stones that were in the same collection of stuff that these planes came from….they are much to goosed to use on my turning tools…this may be a nice job for them.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View DaleM's profile


958 posts in 3408 days

#4 posted 08-25-2009 09:05 PM

Other than than the first one, which is obviously missing a couple parts, it looks like they would be useable with a flattening and sharpening, and of course a cleaning to whatever level you are satisfied with. I guess with a no-name plane, it’s at least worth giving it your best shot to find out if you’ve got a prince or just a frog (or three frogs in this case, plus the rest of the plane).

-- Dale Manning, Carthage, NY

View rustfever's profile


752 posts in 3334 days

#5 posted 08-25-2009 09:59 PM

If you wish to dispose of them, send them to me. I’ll see the are put to ‘rest’ properly.

-- Rustfever, Central California

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 3752 days

#6 posted 08-25-2009 10:50 PM

Dale s right. The first one looks to be missing a lever cap and a depth adjusting knob. Maybe you could scrounge parts from elsewhere, but unless you know the brand, you might have trouble getting performance. Of course I’m talking as someone who has read lots about this but am only getting so-so results myself.

It would be helpful to see the bottom of the third plane. sometimes the transitionals can be trickky to resore because to get a good flat surface, you end up opening the mouth more than you would realistically want to.

If it were me though, I’d say why not try. Restoring 1 costs the same as doing 3 (aside from buying missing parts) so go for it! Keep us posted.

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 3294 days

#7 posted 08-25-2009 11:04 PM

Here is a copy of the bottom of the plane

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 3752 days

#8 posted 08-25-2009 11:15 PM

that doesn’t look so bad at all. Some have huge nicks or gouges in the edges of the mouth. I doubt you’d really have to do anything at all on this one. looks like you are a go for at least 2 of them.

View a1Jim's profile


117115 posts in 3601 days

#9 posted 08-25-2009 11:59 PM

I’m sure you’ll have pretty looking in no time just like Sharon did.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Chardt's profile


169 posts in 3625 days

#10 posted 08-26-2009 07:52 PM

One of the first things I do when restoring old planes is to soak the metal parts in mineral spirits overnight to loosen any rust/crud..then I use a brass bristle attachement on my drill press to clean the rust off it. Works like a charm.

I’m currently restoring 2 old Jack planes, and have just made a curly maple handle for an old wood bodied jointing plane.

-- When my wife ask's what I have to show for my wood working hobby, I just show her the splinters.

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