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Advice on restoring old Birmingham Mfg Co all-metal jointer plane?

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Forum topic by Brett posted 05-30-2011 05:31 AM 2507 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Brett

660 posts in 2150 days


05-30-2011 05:31 AM

I’d like a little advice on whether I should restore a Birmingham Mfg. Co. all-metal jointer plane, made ca. 1885-1890, and if so, how best to go about it.

Here are some pictures of the assembled plane on the floor of an antique mall before I purchased it (these were taken with my cell phone, so they’re not good quality):

There is obviously a piece missing from the side, but the rest of the plane is solid.

Despite their rusty appearance, I was able to disassemble the parts fairly easily (only the screw for the cap iron required a little oomph):

All the parts are shown here:

The text on the plane iron appears to be:

THE BIRMINGHAM

CONN

PLANE MFG. CO.

The plane iron thickness is not uniform:

The integral tote and the threads for the depth-adjustment mechanism:

The throat and the integral frog:

The back of the depth-adjustment “cradle”. It appears that a metal tab has broken off the near side, but it has not. The notch on the far tab is used to adjust the depth blade.

So, enough sight seeing. Shall I try to clean up the plane? The condition is actually better than it looks. I have restored three Stanley Bailey planes, and I feel confident that I won’t mess things up. I will probably eventually sell the plane, in whatever condition (to try to make some money to spend on other tools :) ), but I’d like to get the most for it that I can. Any thoughts?

-- More tools, fewer machines.


8 replies so far

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12642 posts in 3565 days


#1 posted 05-30-2011 05:56 AM

I would clean the rust and sharpen the blade because I would think that because it is a collector plane you try to keep it as original as possible.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

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Brett

660 posts in 2150 days


#2 posted 05-30-2011 06:02 AM

WayneC, how much rust should I remove? Should I try to clean everything down to shiny bright steel? (Probably not.) If I soak everything in Evapo-Rust and rub the parts down with a scrubby pad, is that enough? Thanks for any help you can give.

-- More tools, fewer machines.

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WayneC

12642 posts in 3565 days


#3 posted 05-30-2011 06:13 AM

I would clean away the rust with evapo rust. I would scrub them with soft dish scrubbing pad and then coat the japanned part of the plane with schallac and use paste wax on the the other parts. The main goal is to stabilize the plane so it does not rust any more. I would not over clean the plane.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

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Brett

660 posts in 2150 days


#4 posted 05-30-2011 03:09 PM

Thanks. I didn’t know that any parts of it were shellaced. I’ll need to do a little research on it.

-- More tools, fewer machines.

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WayneC

12642 posts in 3565 days


#5 posted 05-30-2011 05:48 PM

It is a good way to block rust and it is easy to remove. Have you browsed my blogl? There is some info there.

http://lumberjocks.com/WayneC/blog/series/40

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View poopiekat's profile

poopiekat

4226 posts in 3202 days


#6 posted 05-30-2011 07:44 PM

At the risk of being redundant… http://www.brasscityrecords.com/toolworks/museum/birmingham/birmingham.html
Some interesting background info.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View LEBJ's profile

LEBJ

2 posts in 1967 days


#7 posted 07-23-2011 08:32 PM

If you decide to sell let me know, Thanks!

View Brett's profile

Brett

660 posts in 2150 days


#8 posted 07-24-2011 02:42 AM

LEBJ, I’m going to sell it soon. I cleaned it up with citric acid (there wasn’t any patina to worry about, as it was completely covered with dust and rust). I’ll post some pictures in the next week or so.

-- More tools, fewer machines.

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