Question on Restoring / Cleaning a Norris A70 (Wooden) Plane

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Forum topic by andrewsco posted 03-10-2017 10:00 PM 575 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View andrewsco's profile


12 posts in 936 days

03-10-2017 10:00 PM

Hi all,

Quick question regarding restoring / cleaning antique tools and in particular a Norris A70 wooden plane (although much of the principals would apply to other planes / tools).

As this is a wooden plane, I love the old patina on the wood so will only be giving it a light clean with some paste wax and a rag and that will be about it. My main questions are related to the sole and the lever cap. Obviously with this being a wooden plane, for it to be used effectively I may need to flatten the sole. I am assuming that doing this would not reduce it’s value or anything (as this would have been done presumably many times by the craftsman during it’s lifetime)?

My second question is regarding the brass lever cap. I’ve attached a picture to show what I am working with. It isn’t unusable but it could certainly do with a bit of a clean. That said, I am conscious that I don’t want to ‘overclean’. What do people typically do with Norris lever caps? What is the best way to clean brass without it looking totally overcleaned and brand new (which I think looks strange against the old patina of wood)

Any comments welcome!


4 replies so far

View rwe2156's profile


3163 posts in 1678 days

#1 posted 03-15-2017 02:25 PM

I would check the sole for flatness, sharpen the iron and use it as is.

If you clean the brass it will look awful.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View Tim's profile


3812 posts in 2159 days

#2 posted 03-15-2017 04:02 PM

I haven’t had any luck cleaning brass a little and leaving anything partly cleaned that looks good either. Supposedly there is an art to it and it can be done, but it would take skill and practice. The good news is if you clean it up shiny, brass tarnishes relatively quickly, so it wouldn’t stay oddly shiny for long.

View JayT's profile


5957 posts in 2408 days

#3 posted 03-15-2017 04:10 PM

Like Tim, I’ve never had any luck partially cleaning brass. Best bet is either to leave it alone or clean the brass up completely and then apply a brass darkening solution to take off the shiny new look and get it consistent with the look of the plane overall.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5121 posts in 4158 days

#4 posted 03-15-2017 05:06 PM

Soak the brass in vinegar (white). It’ll clean off the grundge, but leave a soft finish on the brass.


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