Hand Planes #3: Surprisingly easy to flatten and clean up...

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Blog entry by ryno101 posted 08-21-2008 03:07 AM 2042 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: First Round Cleaning Part 3 of Hand Planes series Part 4: New Yard Sale Score... »

Figuring that the best place to start would be with the bodies of the planes, I cut a 3/4” melamine coated shelf into a workable size, clamped it to my “workbench” (countertop, really) and laid a sheet of drywall sanding screen on top to tackle flattening and cleaning up the soles and sides of these two planes. I probably put a total of 30-45 minutes on this.

Much better looking under there than I had expected…

Small Plane Before:

and After:

Large Plane Before:

and After:

What a transformation!

I’m enjoying the instant gratification that comes with this type of project, and I’ve always enjoyed taking things like this and bringing them back to life.

I also fed my new addiction and got a Solar smoothing plane for $6 on ebay… it came today.

Once I’ve got these guys up and working, I’m going to dedicate some time into really learning how to properly tune, sharpen, and (fundamentally, really) how to actually use hand planes. I’ve never in my life put plane to wood… I’m getting myself into it the right way, by taking apart the tools, learning how they go together, making them my own before a single shaving makes its way through the throat.

More later…

-- Ryno

12 comments so far

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 3765 days

#1 posted 08-21-2008 03:32 AM

cool! this makes me want to get some old hand planes even more!

View brianinpa's profile


1812 posts in 3720 days

#2 posted 08-21-2008 03:38 AM

Nice restoration.

-- Brian, Lebanon PA, If you aren’t having fun doing it, find something else to do.

View Mershon's profile


13 posts in 3701 days

#3 posted 08-21-2008 04:17 AM

Those look Fantastic. I usually use silicon carbide paper but it seems like the drywall sandpaper might last longer. I have one piece of advise about old hand tools planes exspecially. Don’t forget to use them. What I mean by that is it is so fun to shop and hunt for that special No. whatever and then get it tuned up to be better than your buddies $300 Lie Nielson that you forget to point of the tool is woodworking. That your love is for Wood not Tools

-- Soli Deo Gloria

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3646 days

#4 posted 08-21-2008 04:24 AM

Planes are truly (when tuned, and honed) a delight to use they make you in touch with the wood, and are one of the less messy tools out there (nice shavings that cover the work area and floor as opposed to dust floating all around you)

Enjoy the process.

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

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 3764 days

#5 posted 08-21-2008 04:31 AM

Thanks for the blog. You are inspiring me to pull out some of those old tools my mother-in-law and aunt gave me that were their husbands.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View Eric's profile


875 posts in 3781 days

#6 posted 08-21-2008 04:34 AM

View ryno101's profile


388 posts in 3662 days

#7 posted 08-21-2008 04:35 AM


The nice thing about the drywall screens is that they don’t clog… the rust and grit just fall through the screen.

I’m totally in agreement with you about your second point. I have exactly 4 hand planes… these two, a block plane my mom picked up at a yard sale for a buck two weeks ago, and a smoothing plane that just came in the mail today.

You’re right… my intent is exactly to use them. I don’t have a jointer, or a planer, and it’s so much more cost-effective (and, quite honestly, so much more gratifying) to pick up a $5 tool, give it some lovin’ and achieve the same results. That being said, I do need to learn HOW to use them…

I also do have to admit that I’m a bit of a tool guy… I can’t resist…

-- Ryno

View Quixote's profile


206 posts in 3635 days

#8 posted 08-21-2008 05:21 AM

Since you mentioned E-bay…You’ll be interested in this.

I’m seeing Stanley #6 size planes going for a lot less money than their #7 or #8 counterparts.

I get a lot of use out of my #6, my #7 rarely leaves it’s perch at my bench and I don’t have a #8. I’m just comfortable with it I guess. In retrospect, I would have foregone my purchase of a #7 ( thought I needed one, you know the ‘I have to have one of each’ syndrome…) and purchased a fine saw or sometihing. It’s funny how much stuff you think you have to have, untill you have it and realize that you’re reaching for the same couple of tools, and others just gather dust…

The 4 1/2 and 5 1/2 models are fetching some tall dollars as well, but for the cost, the #6 has the same width cutter and a lot more mass for stability.

I like your drywall screen method. It resonates with my current “git er done” mood…

It won’t ‘tune or flatten’ your sole like lapping with a wet/dry paper on granite of a glass surface, but it does a great job cleaning the sole for use.

Thank you for sharing your progress. Think of us as your cheering section.


-- I don't make sawdust...I produce vast quantities of "Micro Mulch."

View Keith Cruickshank's profile

Keith Cruickshank

41 posts in 3642 days

#9 posted 08-21-2008 06:35 AM

nice job. Another plane reborn!

-- Keith Cruickshank, - on-demand woodworking videos

View Zuki's profile


1404 posts in 4074 days

#10 posted 08-21-2008 01:36 PM

Ok . . . now you have done it. I have the plane bug again.

-- BLOG -

View Chardt's profile


169 posts in 3599 days

#11 posted 08-21-2008 05:47 PM

Yep, almost all of my hand planes have been eBay finds for under $10.

I usually start by taking them apart and soaking the blade, chip breaker, lever cap, screws, etc in Mineral spirits over night. Then scrubbing it with an abrasive pad, or fine steel wool. That works pretty well for stripping off any rust.

In severe cases I use Naval Jelly rust stripper. It’s a pink glop that just eats rust beautifully.

I just got a fine wire wheel for my bench grinder as well. I think I’ve spent more time restoring planes in the last 3 months than on any project. :-) But it’s just as rewarding.

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

View Mershon's profile


13 posts in 3701 days

#12 posted 08-21-2008 07:06 PM

I have Numbers 3,4,5 That were all inherited in very rough shape but all three date before the war. The Try plane I use is a 24in all wood plane from Ohio tool that works fantastic and is quite old (ebay). I don’t have a joiter or planer and find that I mostly don’t need them. Though planers can be usefull for deminsioning.

-- Soli Deo Gloria

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