Fulton plane help?

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Forum topic by xardoz posted 02-16-2012 03:55 PM 2645 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4 posts in 2287 days

02-16-2012 03:55 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question plane

Hi everyone,

A little bit of background: I’ve been getting into repairing and rebuilding guitars over the last year, and I’m getting ready to do my first complete build. To that end, I started investigating the tools and techniques I’d need and I realized I was going to need at least one plane. I was going to get a new one from a hardware store, but then I found a great thread on plane restoration over at the forums, and eventually my research led me here.

I’ve picked up a Fulton from eBay. It’s complete, but dirty and there’s some rust. The iron is also dead dull. The first two pictures are from the auction. I may have gotten suckered here, but my thinking was “Hey, the decal is still on the tote, so it can’t have seen much use.” Dumb me, that doesn’t mean it was stored properly.

Here’s the sole:

This seems to be surface rust, but there may be some pitting. The iron & chip breaker / curler assembly:

But flip them over and take them apart . . . Again, rust, but it doesn’t seem to be too deep.

There are no markings on this plane, other than the decal on the tote and these under the frog:

close up:

The mouth seems clean and there’s no cracking. It looks like it was used a few times, then put away Overall length is about 9.25”, and the width of the sole is 2.125”

I’m sure it’s not a collectors item, so I’d like to return it to full functionality as a workhorse plane. I’m pretty confident that I can eliminate the rust and keep the surfaces flat and true.

So my questions are:
A) What model is it?
B) Are the parts compatible with any other planes?
C) Any tips on a jig for grinding, sharpening and honing this iron?
D) If the iron isn’t salvageable, what should I look for in a replacement?


7 replies so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4214 days

#1 posted 02-16-2012 04:26 PM

It looks like a pretty common #4 to me. Fulton planes, if I’m not mistaken, were made by Sargent.

I see no reason why that iron cannot be sharpened. 25 degrees is the standard angle, and there are any number of inexpensive jigs on the market to hold the iron at that angle while you progress through progressively finer grits of stones, or sandpaper adhered to a perfectly flat surface.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Brandon's profile


4152 posts in 2947 days

#2 posted 02-16-2012 04:37 PM

I’d keep that plane on the shelf. With the decal, it looks pretty sweet! But I don’t think it’d make the best user because the frog is made out of stamped steel and not cast iron. You’re safe with a vintage Stanley plane (either a Bailey or Bedrock model).

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View Dan's profile


3630 posts in 2876 days

#3 posted 02-16-2012 04:49 PM

The rust does not look bad. I use a product called EvapoRust on all my old tools and its amazing stuff. If you soak a rusted tool in the EvapoRust it will get rid of all of that rust. You can also sand the rust off and or use wire wheel.

As for the plane, I have a couple of Fulton planes and they are decent and can be tuned to work very well. However I believe the one you have is a much cheaper and probably newer Fulton model. I say that because it looks like the frog on your Fulton is pressed steel rather then cast iron. Most of the older planes had cast iron frogs. The Fulton planes that I have both have cast iron frogs so I am not sure when they decided to start making them with pressed steel frogs. The cast iron frogs add more weight and support for the iron. I am sure your plane can be made very usable but I would recommend looking for another one with the iron frog.

I think this plane is a good one to practice on though. The real key is getting the iron sharp. Tons of info out there on sharpening and it will take a while before you get it down.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View Bertha's profile


13525 posts in 2689 days

#4 posted 02-16-2012 04:54 PM

It looks like a nice plane to me. I might have to check out that LesPaul forum because we seem to have a lot of members here:) I think your questions have been addressed but the plane looks complete and I’d keep it that way. One you get her all cleaned up and the iron sharp, I think you’ll be pretty happy with her. You’ll find more information here on the subject than you could imagine. I think most guys here still have their first plane; I know I do:)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View xardoz's profile


4 posts in 2287 days

#5 posted 02-16-2012 05:50 PM

Thanks, gang!

There’s lots of info here, of course, and several videos on YouTube that can get me through the sharpening, I just wasn’t sure if this blade was too far gone. It may be, but I think there’s enough on there for me to learn.

That thread at the Les Paul forum can be found here:

View Dan's profile


3630 posts in 2876 days

#6 posted 02-16-2012 05:58 PM

That blade looks just fine. The first thing I would do is flatten the back of the iron, you only have to flatten the bottom part. Best way to do this on an old iron is with coarse sandpaper on a flat surface like a piece of thick glass or MDF. Maybe start with 80 grit paper, spray glue it to the surface and sand the back of the iron back and forth with pressure focused on the center of the blade. This will quickly remove any rust and minor pitting. Once you have flattened with the coarse grit move up grits and continue till its a nice mirror like polish on the back.

There are other methods and tricks to doing this, mine is just an example. Getting the back flat at the cutting edge is very important though if you want to get the iron as sharp as possible.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View xardoz's profile


4 posts in 2287 days

#7 posted 02-17-2012 01:40 PM

Thanks again, everyone. As good as the Evaporust sounds, I think I’m going to try vinegar. My wife uses it to clean everything, so we always have a gallon or more under the kitchen sink. I’ve got spray adhesive already, and a dead flat cast iron work work surface (salvaged from a scroll saw) for the sandpaper/abrasive work, and I can build a 25* jig for the blade.

I’ll post some pics of the Fulton when she’s done.

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