Let's say I want to put a mirror finish on the sides/sole of my new 608C...

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Forum topic by parttimer posted 01-05-2012 01:46 AM 1367 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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01-05-2012 01:46 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question plane stanley 608 joiner good-lovin

How would one go about doing that? I understand that you really don’t need to put a mirror finish on anything, but this is my plane and that’s what I want for it. I’ve seen some really nice higher end stuff on ebay (#4’s selling for 200+) that are “user restored” and I want to know what those guys do get that finish.

I’m guessing it comes down to lapping on sandpaper with successive grits. What grits do you guys use? How long before you move to the next grit? Any info would be appreciated.

(fyi we’re already rust free over here, just need to finish the job…)

6 replies so far

View paratrooper34's profile


915 posts in 3150 days

#1 posted 01-05-2012 02:24 AM

Parttimer, I never did that to a plane body, but have with some other metal stuff. You are right, progressive grits of sandpaper. To get a plane to shine nicely, I would take the grit up to 4000, and then give it a good workout on a good buffing machine. I did a couple of older lever caps from Stanley planes that same way and they look sharp.

-- Mike

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7052 posts in 2797 days

#2 posted 01-05-2012 02:31 AM

The sides will need to be pit free, and I agree with paratrooper about taking it 4000 grit and then buffing. Good luck, and be sure to post pics.

View jamesmc's profile


1 post in 2533 days

#3 posted 01-05-2012 02:46 AM

There is an excellent video on mirror finishing chisels and presume it would be the same for planes.
You tube: luthier tips de jour sharpening

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2832 posts in 3755 days

#4 posted 01-05-2012 03:48 AM

die grinder, buffing wheels and polishing compound

-- Don, Royersford, PA

View BTKS's profile


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#5 posted 01-05-2012 11:35 PM

I posted a small Stanley 103, it’s slightly mirrored, You can see yourself in the sole and little in the side, the sides are slightly curved. My image didn’t come out in the posted photo. I only used wet / dry sandpaper up to 1000 grit. I buffed with a firm cloth wheel and buffing compound. I think the grit on the compound was emery or one finer. Good luck.

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

View horologist's profile


104 posts in 3938 days

#6 posted 01-06-2012 05:53 AM

I have polished a fair number of smaller steel parts. A mirror finish on your plane is certainly possible but will be a bit of work.

My recommendation would be to use wet/dry paper on a flat surface. Marble tile, plate glass, whatever is handy. I have a number of sheets of plate glass that I use as lapping plates. If you only have a single surface then you must clean it thoroughly between grits or stray particles will cost you hours of lapping.

I get better results with a bit of water on the paper and moving the object in a figure eight pattern. Clean the object and your hands thoroughly between grits. Start with the finest grit that will level or remove any damage and work your way up to finer grits until you are happy with the result. Don’t skip grits or you will spend a lot of extra time removing the scratches from the previous paper.

You can tell when it is time to advance to the next grit by rubbing the object in a straight line back and forth. If the swirled scratches from the figure eight pattern are removed then the scratches from the previous grit have been removed. If you decide to stop short of a mirror finish then you might run the object in a straight line on the finest grit to give a uniform “grain”.

When I give parts a black polish I typically take it up to 2000 or 2500 grit and then finish with green rouge on a clean, soft, cloth wheel. Use a light touch on the wheel and be especially careful when polishing near the edge. Even with care the wheel will round the corners slightly so I don’t use this technique near a cutting edge or important detail.

-- Troy in Melrose, Florida

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