In my corner of Green Valley Az., I am the woodworker, the guy who always has the garage door up and is in there making something. I guess this is why one of my neighbors from down the street came into the shop today to interrupt my play by presenting me with this lovely old plane.
It is a Sandusky Tool Co. #18. The logo is still discernible in the front of the body and the iron is original (I assume) as it has the same logo. It is a little the worse for wear but seems to have an excellent blade with a good solid and well fitted chip breaker.
There is a heavy taper in the blade providing a nice meaty cutting end and the edge was completely without nicks. A couple of passes on a 600 grit diamond block followed by about five minutes on my abrasive films 40 micron to .3 micron and she was “glowing like the metal on the edge of a knife” and she cut some fine fluffy shavings.
The bottom is pretty good for flat but the mouth is about a quarter inch so I’m thinking of inserting a bit of mesquite or osage orange prior to re-flattening the sole.
The tote was broken but when I straightened the retaining bolt it lined up quite well so I think a dab of good old HHG will make it almost new.
Now for the story. When my neighbor told me the story of how he came to have this plane I just had to smile because all of these old tools have stories but how often do we get to hear them?
Back in the forties his father and uncle were mechanics and owned a garage. One day an old carpenter, down on his luck happened by needing car repairs but, short on cash, asked if the brothers would accept a couple of his tools as trade. They had no real use for the tools but agreed. Since that time this plane has been in his family. It has occasionally been used but my neighbor believes that last time it was sharpened or tuned was probably by the old carpenter.
My neighbor has noticed me many times, working in my shop and we have spoken several times. The other day he decided that this old plane deserved to be in the hands of someone who would respect and use it and so today he showed up unannounced and presented me with it. We spoke for an hour or so while I sharpened it, repaired the bolt and reset the chip breaker before taking a few shavings. I think he almost cried. When I sincerely thanked him for this gift he surprised me by thanking me for giving it a real home after all these years.
I think I almost cried.
The plane was accompanied by this marking gauge. Very bad condition but with a wooden threaded key and a lovely patina. The sides of the block are stamped J.W. KIRK. He thinks it came from the same transaction over 60 years ago.
I know the operating era of the manufacturers but would love to know if there is any way to date these tools more accurately.
I hope this brings a smile to you as it did to me. Thanks for looking in.
-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees. http://thecanadianschooloffrenchmarquetry.com/