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Fulton 3708 restoration?

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Forum topic by luthierwnc posted 12-03-2015 02:23 AM 764 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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luthierwnc

115 posts in 1236 days


12-03-2015 02:23 AM

Hi All,

I just bought a Fulton 3708 plane on Ebay. It is a beater and will need extensive restoration but I like that kind of stuff. There is a hairline crack on one cheek that I’ll probably slot and braze. The seller says the lateral adjuster has issues. The Japanning is shot but I’ll decide what to do about that when I see it. It is one of the Millers Falls castings and for $32 I think I can make a user out of it.

I’m writing because it will need a new tote and knob. There is enough of the tote left to trace and make another but the knob looks like a former salt shaker. Fulton wood seems pretty scarce unless I want to buy another plane. Does anybody know:

a) if Stanley #3 or 4 knobs are interchangable,
b) what the dimensions of the knob are and/or
b) what kind of wood they used?

My spotty research suggests stained beech—which is probably the only wood I don’t have in the bin.

I’m not trying to do counterfeit quality work but I wouldn’t mind getting it period-correct. Failing that I have some nice cocobolo with a little Brazil in the figure.

Any other thoughts would be great. Thanks, sh


16 replies so far

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

14536 posts in 2143 days


#1 posted 12-03-2015 02:39 AM

Craftsman?Millers Falls No.3C

If yours is a Millers Falls made plane.

The area around the knob will raise up to the knob. Under the knob will be a series of “spokes” to keep the knob from turning. It is also a “High” Knob in size.

nhplaneparts.com on Ebay may have the handles, ask for his Millers Falls ones.

It will depend on what type of bolt is in the knob? One piece bolt? or the more normal two piece

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

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luthierwnc

115 posts in 1236 days


#2 posted 12-03-2015 03:12 AM

Thanks bandit571,

I’ve attached some of the Ebay pictures from the seller. They fit the pattern of the Millers Falls #7 but I’ll know for sure when the box gets here. I’ll need a blade, breaker and lever cap too. I like the Veritas blades and breakers so not getting that wasn’t a deal breaker. Some creative grinding on a #9 lever cap completes the order.

I think I can whip-out the brass knob nut out of rod stock pretty accurately (and find something else to do with the acorn nut). nhplane parts has knobs and totes for other planes but I think what makes these and the Millers Falls more useable than other #2 copies is the exaggerated arc in the tote so you can get your hand around it. I not too tradition-bound to customize it to fit my hand either. In one of the pictures of the one I bought it looks like an owner purposely cut the tote top parallel to the adjustment lever.

Some of the Millers Falls wood looks like Cuban mahogany. Unobtainium in the modern world but stock in trade in the first half of the last century. I have some Brazilian mahogany with a lot of figure that makes as close a substitute as I’ll ever get. They are just scraps and I’ll have to do some creative gluing for the tote.

When UPS comes I’ll report back. sh

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luthierwnc

115 posts in 1236 days


#3 posted 12-03-2015 03:33 AM

Update: I just ordered a fairly nice Fulton 3709 as the donor for everything but the tote. Sort of a shame to chop it but the knob is right, I can grind the lever cap and maybe even mill the blade down to fit. Good winter project. Cheers, sh

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Tim

3110 posts in 1421 days


#4 posted 12-03-2015 04:22 PM

If you like the idea of welding and fixing them up you’ll have fun. $32 is way too much to pay for a Fulton brand plane with missing parts and broken casting, but I don’t mean to rain on your parade. Just pointing out you can get broken plane or those that need a lot of work in the $5-10 range, especially the ones that aren’t Stanleys. In fact if you want some to work on, I’m sure I have some extras that aren’t even broken that I would sell you reasonably. And if you can weld or braze cast iron well enough so that it’s almost unnoticeable then I have one I’d like to get repaired. I’m also not looking to try to pass off a repair as new but I would like it to look nice. And you mostly don’t need worry about the quality of the Japanning on a plane you’re going to braze since the heat from the torch will burn off the japanning in the area of the repair anyway.

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JayT

4772 posts in 1671 days


#5 posted 12-03-2015 04:44 PM

I’ve got a Millers Falls made Fulton 3708 that was picked up about a year and a half ago and it gets regular use in my shop.

The wood is a light colored hardwood. It could be beech, but I doubt it. I ended up reshaping the tote a bit and staining the wood. Didn’t come out the original reddish purple color, but is attractive and works for me.

As found/purchased

After restoration

If you are needing more info, please feel free to ask.

-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."

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luthierwnc

115 posts in 1236 days


#6 posted 12-03-2015 11:16 PM

Any money I put into the project counts double for entertainment value. If I’d just bought a #2 I probably wouldn’t appreciate it as much.

I think I have a dozen Stanley planes with a couple more in the mail to replace ones I’ve given to guitar making students. There are a couple Records. The rest in the pic (and 4 more out of frame) are ones I’ve made for either guitar or specialty needs. Those are mostly soldered brass with rosewood infills but some are Krenov/Japanese variants. The Fulton is the first US-made wannabe. My favorite is the Junior Jack but the 60 1/2 is close behind. The little brass shoulder plane next to the super glues was an early project 25 years ago and still gets use when needed. You can see the butt of one of two small brass brace planes for carving supports on guitar tops next to the 073. One is a rabbet to get in tight. The other has a normal throat. I cut them out of 1” brass plate.

The 3708 was always going to be a project. The donor 3709 will provide the lever cap, front knob, replacement lever adjustment and the brass nuts. If I can’t get make a creditable tote to match the knob, I’ll just make new ones. The crack looks pretty fixable. I’ve brazed a plane before (a #10) and it came out fine. This looks much easier. Something I haven’t done before is electrolysis. Figure I’ll nuke the body until the Japanning comes off. I’ve got a little can of POR 15 on order at a local paint store to faux-Japan it back to glory.

At first I thought I’d have to grind the heck out of the lever cap but in the picture of the donor, it looks like there is a lot of side-to-side slop between the cheeks. It might not be as much work as I thought. If anyone has good ideas on how to patinate the sides to match the older front, I’d love to hear them.

Cheers, sh

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Tim

3110 posts in 1421 days


#7 posted 12-05-2015 01:58 PM

Ah, I see, you’re quite far down the restoring and even tool making road. Nice work.

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luthierwnc

115 posts in 1236 days


#8 posted 12-05-2015 04:09 PM

For about 30 years—but it comes in fits and starts. I’ve still got a Sweet Sugar anvil. For a while I was making a lot of my own tools. Guitar-making has some weird angles, hard woods and expensive purpose-made tools. Attached is a pic of a rabbet plane used only for top braces. My forge was a barbeque lined with a mix of fire clay and Readimix. A squirrel-cage bathroom fan on a dimmer switch was the blower. The bottom rusted-out after a while but I was about done by them. I’d go to the scrap yard and get Volvo leaf springs (love that Swedish steel) and pound them into blades and cutters. Those are the Krenov-style irons. You can also get O1 bar stock at industrial suppliers very cheap. That’s what I use for my straight-edges. More precise than I’ll ever need for just the cost of the bar.

There has been less restoration. I posted about having to replace a cam on my first plane; a bought-new Record. After that I met a guy at the flea market in Santa Fe who handled nothing but antique tools. Most of what I have or know is from him and they were usually in pretty good shape. None were rusty and I’ve never re-Japanned anything. Now that I live in a more humid environment, I wipe them down occasionally with kerosene which does a great job keeping the rust off and doesn’t seem to bother wood glues. I don’t shoot nitrocellulose lacquer anymore but I am still wary of silicone products since they are Kryptonite to nitro finishes.

The planes are in the mail. It will need new Japanning so the plan is to strip it to bare metal in an electrolysis bath (never done that before). If I can, I’ll Dremel the slot on the inside of the crack and braze it under where the new faux-Japanning will go. So as not to deceive at my estate sale, I’ll drill the pressure-relief hole all the way through so the braze will show on the outside. I’ve never bothered putting any of my users into show condition but if I’m going this far on a rehab, I’ll see how good I can make it.

You’ve seen the other thread on the more experimental low-angle project. That’s kind of a wild hair but I think that would be a great unit for a shooting board with guitar tops and backs. Can’t use a corrugated plane there because the pieces are so thin they actually slip into the grooves. sh

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luthierwnc

115 posts in 1236 days


#9 posted 12-21-2015 06:44 PM

Tim was right. I bought a nice little Stanley No. 2 a week ago. The seller thought it was a type 6 but these things aren’t marked the way the big ones are.

I haven’t given up on the Fulton though. I stripped it to bare metal and relieved and brazed the crack surprisingly well. That was the first expense balk. The recommended silver brazing rods are forty bucks a package. I had half of a fluxed brass rod laying around. Had to nuke it to get flow but except for a careless file mark, it looks fine.

Made the tote and knob out of Sapele and they look good—no finish yet. The originals are beech with stain. No beech in the cut-off bin. Blades and chip breakers are easy to come by although I think a new Lie-Nielsen iron and breaker combination is a better idea.

The problem is the lever-cap. They can’t be had unless you buy the whole plane. I have no idea what happened to the caps over the used irons and breakers but I only found one prior sale last year at a tool specialty auction—for more than the Fulton cost. When winter actually arrives, I’ll probably grind a bigger one down to size. #3’s are everywhere. With an actual #2, I’ll have a pattern to follow.

If I ever finish this project, I’ll post a picture. Until then, thanks to all for your support. sh

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luthierwnc

115 posts in 1236 days


#10 posted 01-07-2016 02:40 AM

I finished the plane today. It was way more work than it was worth but worth it anyway. One of the shots shows the brazed crack. I drilled a relief hole and V-grooved along the crack then used what was left of a generic brazing rod with extra flux to get some grip. That came out pretty well except where you can see I slipped with the file.

Both the blade and lever cap were ground down from a Fulton 3709. The chip breaker started the week as a Skilsaw blade since the depth adjustment lever hole didn’t match with the smaller frog. I used Por 15 to paint the body after stripping. The knob was also from the 3709 and the tote I made from some Sapele I had in the too-small-to-save-but-saved-anyway bin. The tip of the lateral adjustment lever was broken so I heated and bent what was left.

It works. I need to get the mouth of the chip-breaker a little tighter but it takes a nice shaving. This plane is a little longer than a Stanley #2 and also about 1/8” wider. I milled the blade to barely fit so the cut is more like a 2 1/2. Don’t know when I’ll use it but I’m glad I saved it.

Cheers and thanks for looking, sh

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Don W

17955 posts in 2027 days


#11 posted 01-07-2016 10:40 AM

Nice save.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.net

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racerglen

3112 posts in 2240 days


#12 posted 01-07-2016 12:34 PM

Well done !

-- Glen, B.C. Canada

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luthierwnc

115 posts in 1236 days


#13 posted 01-07-2016 01:01 PM

Thanks guys. I just posted another new plane on this forum. There are a couple more in the pipe and then I have to start using them. sh

PS I made a jig to rout the tote. I just milled a stick maybe a foot long by a couple inches wide by the exact thickness of the tote blank. Then I ground the head of a 6 or 7 inch 1/4-20 bolt, so it would fit into the top hole of the tote and slotted it. It comes out the bottom of the tote and into the scrap stick through a hole drilled at the same angle across the 2” dimension. I notched the exit hole so a washer and nut would fit flat. Use a #10 machine screw if you don’t make the tote channel hole that big. Takes five minutes.

That’s about it. No reason to get your fingers anywhere near a router bit trying to cut end-grain in exotic woods (although I think softwoods are worse). sh

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Tim

3110 posts in 1421 days


#14 posted 01-07-2016 05:17 PM

Nice save. That might be the first time I’ve heard of someone making a chipbreaker. And from a saw blade no less. How did you get the consistent bend?

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JayT

4772 posts in 1671 days


#15 posted 01-07-2016 05:52 PM

Very well done. Glad you could bring the tool back to a usable condition.

-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."

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