My wife and I stopped by our local thrift store which is run by a group of pensioned volunteers to donate some easy chairs that we were replacing. While there I noticed an old rusty Stanley type hand plane on display.
It turned out to be a Kunz which is lower priced German brand, which was a bit of a disappointment, but still it seemed pretty solid and the tote and knob were all in one piece. Looking at it closer, I found a crack on one side as you can see in the 2nd photo below, so I decided not to buy it.
This is the first used Stanley type plane I have found available for sale in the last 20 years so I went back and bought it thinking the crack might not be such a huge problem. I’ve been wanting to get a handplane for my son who lives in Sweden. He’s not a woodworker, but I did set up a nice shop for him there with a mini-lathe, my old 12” bandsaw, my old scrollsaw, a miter saw and a bunch of other woodworking tools I no longer needed. My motives weren’t entirely altruistic as I use the shop when we visit, usually to do some DIY around the house.
I couldn’t resist showing you what our thrift shop looks like. They have done a wonderful job displaying the merchandise (mostly furniture and accessories) and they keep it spotlessly clean too.
They don’t normally have any hand tools for sale.
I got to work and did the following steps:
- flattened the sole. It wasn’t too far off and I got the toe and the heel and the area at the front of the mouth at the same level. There was a lot of rust. I left some of areas with pitting because my goal was to get a working plane not a beautiful one. I also filed a little chamfer around all the edges.
- The sides were polished first using my dremel with sanding disks and then I flattened on the sanding board.
- Next up was the frogs mating surfaces with the body and the blade assembly. The top and bottom of the frog was first filed level and then flat sanded. The mating surface in the plane body was just filed flat. This work was pretty easy.
- The chip breaker and blade were de-rusted and flat sanded. The nose on the chip breaker was flat sanded on the bottom lip to eliminate any space between it and the blade. The blade was sharpened and honed and polished on the back. The back could still use a little more work as it was pretty badly pitted, but it will do for now.
- There was a lot more little details to de-rust. I use my Dremel wire brush for some of that work.
- I filled the crack with super glue. I think that will keep it stable. My first thought was to silver solder it, but I was worried about warpage from the heat and I haven’t done that kind of work for many years and I figure there was a good possibility that I would mess it up.
So that was the main work. I spent quite a few hours on it over the course of a few days. I still have to do some kind of finish on the tote and knob, probably shellac. I’ve now decided that in the future I will keep to woodworking and let the more metal worker inclined folks do the hand plane restorations! I’m guessing a more organized approach would probably make the job easier.
After finishing the rehab work (I won’t call it a restoration because it really isn’t) and getting the plane reassembled it was time to try it out and also to experiment a little with different frog and blade settings. After a fair bit of planing and adjustments I finally found the sweet spots.
The 3rd photo below shows a shaving from some pine. I couldn’t get it thinner than about 2/1000”, but I did get a full width shaving and I think thickness problem will improve with better polishing on the back of the blade.
The 4th photo below is a piece of oak that I squared up. It came out quite good.
I had intended to show you the results with some photos from my shop, but it’s such a mess I changed my mind.
The purpose of this blog is meant to show that anyone who is willing to use a little time and effort can get these old plane wrecks back to doing nice work and you don’t have to make it look like new, unless you are willing to do the extra work that is required. Thanks for reading.
-- Mike, an American living in Norway.