Need advice restoring a Stanley 45 to make it prettier.

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Forum topic by RichardDePetris posted 08-20-2015 08:08 PM 667 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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44 posts in 1109 days

08-20-2015 08:08 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question plane refurbishing

This woodworking thing is taking a strange and frightening turn. I am now collecting hand planes. I have that terrifying thought of being like those orchid collectors who drained their life savings and remortgaged their homes to feed their habit. At first, I convinced myself to buy just a few cheapies necessary to get the job done, but now I find myself purchasing the sought after exotic ones. My most recent fix is a Stanley 45.

It has 1/4” blade and it operates well. It’s a bit rusty in several areas and the tote is cracked and loose. I’ve restored a cheapo Craftsman plane and even carved a tote for it and it wasn’t particularly difficult. I want to repair the tote by carving one out of wood. I have some short boards of pear, walnut, wenge and Sapelle woods. I also have some holly branches drying out, which might come in handy for inlay.

I have two questions. First, how do you remove the tote. I have been unable to find anyone who has documented how to remove it. Second, As you can see, the plane has lots of rust along with some loss of the nickel finish. How do I go about removing the rust and restoring the nickel? Removing the rust may also remove the nickel, which I don’t mind provided there is a way to put it back on.

Thanks for all the help.

BTW, my wife saw the 45 and I was expecting to spend a night at the dog house instead she said “Wow! It’s so pretty. Look at those gorgeous little flowers.” She didn’t even ask me what it costs. Now I know why Stanley put those flowery patterns on an otherwise manly product. Perhaps, the marketing department had them remove it on later models because it reminds their customers of….orchids! Gasp!

6 replies so far

View UpstateNYdude's profile


673 posts in 1407 days

#1 posted 08-20-2015 08:47 PM

I would PM this guy, probably the best restorer of planes on here and I’m positive he can answer any question you may have.

-- Nick, "Choking to death on bacon is like getting murdered by your lover." - JG

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


13576 posts in 2042 days

#2 posted 08-20-2015 09:08 PM

DonW has pulled the scales from a #45 and replaced them. I don’t think he’d recommend it as something to undertake, but I’m sure he’ll jump in to correct me if I”m wrong about that.

EDIT: But I see you want to, sorry, missed that part. There are nibs of metal, two on each side, recessed in the wood scales of the #45. And those nibs are solidly fixed to the core of the plane handle (usually where there’s a crack or two). Don may have taken pics, I don’t recall.

Al (Bertha) took all the nickel off his #45 and it looked pretty good, actually. Having something re-nickeled is prohibitively expensive and a ‘not-do-it-yourself- proposition. That is input I’ve seen written here on LJs by some that have pursued it.

What to do if you want it prettied up? I’d suggest a product Bob Summmerfield uses to clean up saw totes (very effectively), one that I’ve started using for gunky stuff in the shop: Oven Cleaner.

Spray on, scrub, wipe off. Then treat with a rustproofer of your choice (I wipe down tools with WD40). It’ll pull out what luster is left of the nickel coat (notoriously thin on most stanley tools of yore).

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

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Don W

17882 posts in 1991 days

#3 posted 08-20-2015 10:26 PM

Yea, Stanley never considered someday someone may want to take the handle off. It’s fgot two pins,one on each side, inside the wood. It’s not coming off in one piece.

Personally, I’d repair the rosewood in place, but if you want it off your probably going to have to cut it off. If you come up with a better way, please let use know.

I’d also just wire brush it with a medium or soft wheel (probably both) and oil it up.

Either way, post your progress and let us know how the 2nd mortgage goes.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View Don W's profile

Don W

17882 posts in 1991 days

#4 posted 08-20-2015 10:32 PM

And if you haven’t seen it yet, most of use with a plane problem hang out here

And if your really looking for no sympathy you can join my forum here

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View johnstoneb's profile


2106 posts in 1597 days

#5 posted 08-20-2015 10:39 PM

That’s a nice looking 45 for the first one. Oven cleaner will work well for getting rid of the rust.
Don It’s only a problem if you can’t quit. I can quit anytime I want too. I don’t want too.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View bearkatwood's profile


1175 posts in 436 days

#6 posted 08-21-2015 12:08 PM

So you got yourself a 45… There is no turning back now, your done. It’s hopeless, just embrace it. Your PLANE crazy. Hope it turns out well.

-- Brian Noel

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