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V&B 905 plane refurbishment - advice please.

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Forum topic by Robsan posted 01-03-2016 04:58 PM 698 views 1 time favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Robsan

5 posts in 338 days


01-03-2016 04:58 PM

Topic tags/keywords: vaughan bushnell planes 905 restore restoration

One of my most prized possessions is a ‘905 plane that I inherited from my late father. Not the most prestigious in the plane hall of fame – but it works well and has allowed me to complete a few small woodworking projects. I remember my father showing me how to dismount the blade and properly sharpen it using a honing guide. In time, I hope to be able to pass the plane and skills on to my daughter.

I believe the production date to be in the range 1927 – 1935. There is good information on the V&B website here

The initial clean up shows the current corrosion is not too deep.

As a nod to him leaving the plane to me – I’d like to complete a gentle restoration to bring it back to clean, as original as possible, condition.

Would the forum offer up some knowledge to help me to do this.

Specifically:

1. I am keen to ‘polish’ the brighter parts – but don’t want to wear away the nickel finish. I have used 350 grade wet & dry so far which has lifted much of the corrosion – but I am cautious to go further on the sides of the sole. The cleaning has revealed some curious curved marks which I presume came form the original manufacture where the steel block was cut with a circular blade or grinder? Any thoughts on whether to go harder with the polishing to remove these circular marks – or is this likely to trash the nickel layer?

2. The plane has presumably been repainted blue at some stage – which I quite like. Descriptions found on the web state the original finish was from Japanning – a form of lacquering. One text indicates this was a grey colour. Many web photos show a matt black ?painted? finish. Can anyone enlighten me on what the original colour & finish was & whether this is practical to attempt?

Alternatively I may just go with stripping the original paint off the sole & chip breaker with Nitromors and repainting in a blue enamel. Perhaps with a little gold paint on the lettering – although this may be too ‘jazzy’.

3. The wood parts are in structurally sound condition but could do with cleaning up. I am wary of sanding – is there a low risk way to strip off the old varnish, dry out then re-varnish?

Many thanks in advance for your comments.

Rob


13 replies so far

View Tim's profile

Tim

3113 posts in 1425 days


#1 posted 01-03-2016 11:41 PM

I don’t know what the original japanning color on that is, but here are some tips on doing proper japanning:
http://lumberjocks.com/JayT/blog/32398
I couldn’t get this link to work and I don’t remember how useful it was:
https://home.comcast.net/~rexmill/planes101/japanning/japanning.htm

And how bad is the finish on the knob and tote? Sometimes you can restore a finish rather than stripping and redoing it. Bob Flexner’s books and videos are pretty good if you can get ahold of one. My library has one.

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Robsan

5 posts in 338 days


#2 posted 01-04-2016 07:55 PM

Thanks for the reply. I did some more research on japanning & found a supplier of Brunswick Black here in the UK. This is similar to the asphaltum/turps/linseed of proper Japaning mix https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japan_black – so will give that a go.

>> And how bad is the finish on the knob and tote?

Not too bad – more dirt than wear – I’ll give them some attention with a solvent and some fine wire wool to see if i can improve the look.

Thanks again,

Rob

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chrisstef

15670 posts in 2470 days


#3 posted 01-04-2016 08:01 PM

I know a lot of guys use Duplicolor in a rattle can to mimic the jappaning.

You can try murphys soap on some 0000 steel wool to clean the wood parts.

I’m not terribly familiar with V&B planes but id imagine the sides are bare metal and not nickel plated. Some sanding with a coarser grit and progressively getting finer will get you to a level of shine youre happy with. You can go all the way up to 2000 grit if you choose.

-- rock, chalk, jayhawk

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JayT

4778 posts in 1674 days


#4 posted 01-04-2016 08:10 PM

Original finish on that plane would have been gray, I believe, so depends on how true to original you want to be.

Here’s a pic of my similar vintage 904 that has been restored to user status, but not refinished. The gray is still the original color.

The circular marks and nickel on the side are not original, AFAIK. I’ve never seen a V&B where the body was nickel plated. If the plating on the cap has pits, you are pretty much SOL. You’d have to find a place to replate the cap or just strip the plating and polish the cast iron.

In the end, it’s your plane, so do as you wish. If you just want a good looking user, then a little work here and there and you can have it easily. If you want to take it to a glistening, polished display piece, then have at it. While not very common, the plane you have isn’t an all original, NIB, collector piece, so you aren’t going to hurt any value.

Since it’s a heritage piece from your father, what level of restoration will make you think of him when you use it? I’d go with that.

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

View Don W's profile

Don W

17962 posts in 2031 days


#5 posted 01-05-2016 09:43 PM

Some of the V&B’s were plated on the sides. I have one as well. If you want to save it, I wouldn’t try taking the marks out. If you want to repaint with the same color it is, that would be ok, or use black.

I think you’ll find the duplicolor engine enamel much easier to use and it builds up well. Its almost as tough as the original japaaning. If you use the Dupli-Color DE1635 Ceramic Ford Semi-Gloss Black Engine for black, you will find it pretty hard to tell a difference from original japanning.

http://www.timetestedtools.com/how-to---bench-plane-restoration.html

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

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Don W

17962 posts in 2031 days


#6 posted 01-05-2016 09:52 PM

from the 1923 catolog

The 900 series of planes were the firm’s full finished top of the range line and were recommended for the best carpenter trade. They featured a non-rusting nickel finish on the outside of the body, as well as the blade, cap iron and lever cap.

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

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JayT

4778 posts in 1674 days


#7 posted 01-05-2016 10:14 PM

Good info, Don. I stand corrected.

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

View Robsan's profile

Robsan

5 posts in 338 days


#8 posted 01-05-2016 10:21 PM

Thanks @chrisstef for the reply. The Brunswick Black (Japanning ‘paint’) arrived today so will give that a go.

You can try murphys soap on some 0000 steel wool to clean the wood parts.
- chrisstef

Yup – the wood has come up beautifully with steel wool – but I’m going to go all out and strip & refurbish.

I m not terribly familiar with V&B planes but id imagine the sides are bare metal and not nickel plated. Some sanding with a coarser grit and progressively getting finer will get you to a level of shine youre happy with. You can go all the way up to 2000 grit if you choose.

The V&B website does describe the nickel parts of the plane at
http://www.vaughanandbushnellplanes.com/vaughan-bushnell-no-905-vanadium-jack-plane/
.. and the sides are indeed coming up nicely with wet & dry paper as you say..

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Robsan

5 posts in 338 days


#9 posted 01-05-2016 10:34 PM

@Jay – thanks for the photo and comments – and as you say, what will remind me of him. He could do both
‘practical’ and ‘polished’ – I think I’ll stop polishing now!

Out of interest – more circular marks under the paint on top of the frog.

The cleanup revealed 2 numbers

A ‘54’ under the lever

.. and a ‘76’ on the base of the frog.

@Don – not sure if you noticed the same – the 54 may have been an owner’s mark??

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Robsan

5 posts in 338 days


#10 posted 05-16-2016 01:52 PM

And the finished article… I went as far as possible on the patina – but would have lost the makers mark or perhaps the nickel finish had I gone further.

View JayT's profile

JayT

4778 posts in 1674 days


#11 posted 05-16-2016 01:54 PM

Came out great and should make a fabulous user.

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

View Don W's profile

Don W

17962 posts in 2031 days


#12 posted 05-16-2016 02:29 PM

Well done

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

View BurlyBob's profile

BurlyBob

3676 posts in 1729 days


#13 posted 05-16-2016 03:04 PM

Very nicely done.

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