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Hand Tool Finds #1: An Old Plane with a Story

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Blog entry by shipwright posted 156 days ago 1216 reads 0 times favorited 30 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Hand Tool Finds series Part 2: My First Estate Sale »

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

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees. http://prmdesigns.com/



30 comments so far

View Don W's profile

Don W

14834 posts in 1194 days


#1 posted 156 days ago

View Dave's profile

Dave

11149 posts in 1466 days


#2 posted 156 days ago

Lovely story and I am sure the plane is happier being back in service.
Thank you for sharing.
My Sandusky refurb. It has a little history I dug up.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are." http://chiselandforge.com

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

14721 posts in 2302 days


#3 posted 156 days ago

Kool! One of life’s present surprises ;-)

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

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

9762 posts in 1244 days


#4 posted 156 days ago

Love the story, and the plane is lucky to have you!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

View grizzman's profile (online now)

grizzman

6917 posts in 1929 days


#5 posted 156 days ago

oh you bet this brought a smile, and warmth to my heart, it was a transaction that brought happiness to both sides, and now its in the hands of a real woodworker who will love it and use it for what it was made for, a wonderful story to read just before i go to bed, thanks Paul, this was terrific…

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View OhValleyWoodandWool's profile

OhValleyWoodandWool

969 posts in 1746 days


#6 posted 156 days ago

Great find. Great story. Almost brought a tear to my eye too

-- "All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then Success is sure." Mark Twain

View MrFid's profile

MrFid

517 posts in 530 days


#7 posted 156 days ago

Very nice story, and very nice plane! I enjoy hearing those stories as well when I can. I have one of my grandfather’s saws, which is rarely used but still treasured. Hope you’re well. When do you head back up north?

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View Karson's profile

Karson

34870 posts in 3026 days


#8 posted 156 days ago

Great story to continue on it’s life. You’ve now added to the planes story.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View greg48's profile

greg48

276 posts in 1383 days


#9 posted 156 days ago

Thanks for the story Paul. I always work with the shop (garage) door open mainly for the light, but you never know what may come wandering in. A lot of folks drive by and wave; I often wonder who they are; maybe I should hang a visitors welcome sign from the open door,

-- Greg, No. Cal.

View tyvekboy's profile

tyvekboy

532 posts in 1639 days


#10 posted 156 days ago

Thanks for the story Paul.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA

View sras's profile

sras

3813 posts in 1755 days


#11 posted 156 days ago

Great gift, but the story tops it off!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View lanwater's profile

lanwater

3076 posts in 1560 days


#12 posted 156 days ago

It’s very hard to part with tools but he must have thought highly of you.

Great story.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

7675 posts in 2678 days


#13 posted 156 days ago

Very nice, Paul!

What a wonderful story to go with it… and I’m sure your neighbor appreciated watching you sharpen the blade, adjusting it, and getting some nice shavings… He knew the plane was is Super Good Hands which really touched him nicely.

That is a very cool plane… and I’m sure you will make it purr like a kitten… next thing you know, you will be “hooked” on Old Wooden Planes and join the Hand Plane Enthusiasts here on LJ.

Thanks for sharing the experience…

Wonderful!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

View sandhill's profile

sandhill

2117 posts in 2550 days


#14 posted 156 days ago

Very sweet story no one deserves it more, treat it well.

-- Bob Egbert AKA Sandhill http://www.sandhillwoodworks.com/

View TheBrokeYoke's profile

TheBrokeYoke

10 posts in 162 days


#15 posted 156 days ago

This is a beautiful story. Thanks…

-- Greg, from the Broke Yoke workshop

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