|Forum topic by sgmdwk||posted 145 days ago||750 views||0 times favorited||17 replies|
145 days ago
You can teach an old dog new tricks.
A few months back I bought a pair of Stanley planes on Ebay. One was an old low-angle block plane that quickly became one of my absolute favorite tools. After spending some time putting on a good edge I could peel off translucent shavings with incredible ease.
The other plane was a disappointment from the get-go. I thought I was buying an old, U.S made No. 4. What I got was a newer, made-in-England model with the plastic tote. I didn’t spend much, and I have a 1980s No.6 that I like a lot, so I thought it would be useful even without the cool factor. I sharpened the No. 4 up and tried it out. To my dismay, It chattered, it grabbed, it chipped. I could not get it to cut anything like a nice even shaving. I adjusted the frog and that helped a little, but was still a real dog compared to my other planes. I set it on a shelf and there it sat.
Today, I was sitting around looking for something to do I and I recalled a video I saw a while back about restoring old planes. I had a light-turning-on, head-slapping moment and went to work. I disassembled the No. 4 and looked at the frog and the mouth of the plane. Both were rough, uneven, still covered with extra japanning – a far cry from what I saw on my other planes. I went to work with a file for a few minutes and cleaned things up. I took some care trying to get the angle the same on the bed just behind the mouth and the top of the frog and getting the two arms of the frog on the same plane (don’t know if my terms are correct). My thinking was that this would better support the iron. Satisfied with my efforts, I did a quick strop on the iron, reassembled everything and slapped a piece of pine in the vise. Incredible! My worthless No. 4 was peeling off beautiful, even shavings, just like my No. 6.
Maybe I get excited too easily, but little triumphs like this just tickle me no end. And I am happy to say that this old dog has learned something new about caring for the hand tools I am trying to use more effectively.
-- Dave K.