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Popular Mechanics Hand Plane????

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Forum topic by Kevin Wells posted 10-20-2013 04:15 PM 1141 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Kevin Wells

28 posts in 523 days


10-20-2013 04:15 PM

A Family Member gave me this plane the other day. The blade is razor sharp though no signs of being re-sharpened. He says he has had it for at least 60 years but doesn’t remember how he got it.

As you can see, it says “Popular Mechanics” and “Made in USA”. I’v done several I net searches for “Popular Mechanics wood plane” (and hand plane) and I’v come up empty. Does anyone know anything about this? Was it a promo or did Popular Mechanics have a line of woodworking tools?
Other than minimal wear and some staining on the iron it appears to be in great condition.

Here it is broken down:

So, what are your thoughts?

-- Kevin, Chuckin' Wood, http://chuckinwood.com


16 replies so far

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JustJoe

1554 posts in 723 days


#1 posted 10-20-2013 04:41 PM

That block plane is the satan-child that results when a once-proud brand like Popular Mechanics goes downhill, gets drunk, goes slumming in cheap bars and wakes up with a hangover, a new tattoo, and a contract with Walmart to sell their name on cheap DIY tools. There are more such quasi-tools out there with the PM name – chisels, speed squares, screwdrivers and who-knows what else.

I believe Walmart has now moved on to selling tools that say “Stanley.” Meanwhile Popular Mechanics remains curled up in the shower furiously scrubbing itself with a brillo pad and crying “why me Lord, why me????”

But in the spirit of LJ and tool-accumulation support, let me be the first to congratulate you on your free plane!
:)

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Greg In Maryland

398 posts in 1683 days


#2 posted 10-20-2013 04:51 PM

Probably Joe has it right. And unfortunately I am guessing that he has some personal experience with drunken slumming. His description is much too vivid and accurate to simply be made up. He has been there in the shower trying to scrub the stench of cosmoline off his hands after buying a cheap Groz plane. Except it does not come off.

Greg

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JustJoe

1554 posts in 723 days


#3 posted 10-20-2013 05:01 PM

Greg, in my younger wilder days I was so reckless I’d take home the ones that just came in a white cardboard box with the word “Plane” on it. Or things like this all dolled up with red paint and chrome plating (even on the sole):

I’m lucky I didn’t catch some exotic form of tetanus for which there is no cure.
Of course if you can get the sole mostly-flat, and the lever cap tight enough to hold the cutter firmly, then most of them can be made semi-useful by upgrading to a real cutter. That’s the weakest link in most of the cheapos – they come with an iron that is 10% steel and 90% mystery by-product and they top out at about 1/32” thick.

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Kevin Wells

28 posts in 523 days


#4 posted 10-20-2013 05:04 PM

LOL, so basically your saying, “it sucks?” :)

Now I’m curious about the story that drives such a vivid description.

Since my other “free planes” include Bedrocks and Sargents I’ll stick this one out of site, or take the blade out and let the kid plane the floors…

Thanks,

Kevin

-- Kevin, Chuckin' Wood, http://chuckinwood.com

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poopiekat

3671 posts in 2419 days


#5 posted 10-20-2013 05:16 PM

That’s more of an 80’s-era logo than a 60 yr old logo. Possibly from about the time PM went from the 6” X 9” magazine size to the more common 8” X 11” magazine format. USA? Wonder who manufactured these?

-- 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!!

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JustJoe

1554 posts in 723 days


#6 posted 10-20-2013 05:38 PM

poopiekat – Yes, t was the mid 80’s, early 90’s when wallyworld sold PM stuff.

It looks like they did stop sometime around the period they started selling Stanley stuff. Here’s a thread in another forum that discusses the issue of warranty. And like I said originally, PM just sold their name. Like Craftsman, Lakeside, Keen Kutter and all the other house-brands, someone else did the actual making.
http://www.yesterdaystractors.com/cgi-bin/viewit.cgi?bd=toolt&th=112748

Kevin, I’m not saying it’s totally trash. You won’t know until you try it. You may have to scrape a little paint off some places to get the iron to sit correctly, and I wouldn’t recommend trying to grind the iron – use sandpaper or a stone so you don’t melt it. You may be able to get it good enough to relieve edges. I’ve got a block plane set lightly just for that purpose. You may even be able, with a lot of work, get it sharp enough to plane end-grain. That is my main use of a block plane. But with the iron it came with you won’t be planing end-grain very long before you need to resharpen it. And if you hit any type of wild-grain or semi-hard spot then you will curl the edge of the iron over.

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Greg In Maryland

398 posts in 1683 days


#7 posted 10-20-2013 06:27 PM

Well Joe, clearly you mispent your youth. Fortunately, you didn’t catch something that cannot be cured.

Though perhaps my youth wasn’t as colorful as yours, I did a shameful thing that regret to this day—I purchased a Groz plane set like this. Oh how I hated myself for quite a while after this horrendous decision. Cosmolene, oh cosmolene, how I hate thee. Did I mention that Groz lathers their planes with cosmolene to the point that it is considerd hazardous to all carbon based life? Fortunately, I was able to overcome this evil I had done and turn myself towards my north star: Lee Valley, Stanley and Lie-Nielsen. I will never be cured, but I am recovered.

I hope and pray that my sad story will prevend another lost soul from treading in my footsteps.

Greg

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poopiekat

3671 posts in 2419 days


#8 posted 10-20-2013 06:33 PM

Ah, Greg!! It is indeed the greasy afterbirth on new imported planes that got me started on my secondhand plane collecting mindset!

-- 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!!

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racerglen

2324 posts in 1465 days


#9 posted 10-20-2013 06:37 PM

Cosmoline..hisss..BRAKE CLEAN..bye bye…

-- Glen, Vernon B.C. Canada

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DKV

3183 posts in 1189 days


#10 posted 10-20-2013 06:39 PM

Kevin, Kevin, Kevin you started a plane thread and ended up with a comedic threat. I do have to say it was pretty funny. :-)

-- Have fun and laugh alot. Life can end at any moment. You old guys out there know what I mean...

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poopiekat

3671 posts in 2419 days


#11 posted 10-20-2013 06:51 PM

Careful, Glen! Some brake cleaner aerosols remove paint. In my opinion, for example, ”Brakleen” brand is a better paint remover than it is a brake cleaner.

-- 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 Greg In Maryland's profile

Greg In Maryland

398 posts in 1683 days


#12 posted 10-20-2013 09:02 PM

Glen that is a great idea, except one small issue. Wood. You see the cosmolene slathered all over Groz planes absolutely permeates though wood. Short of replacing the handles, no amount of anything will rid the smell if it. So clean the body all you want but every time you use the plane, your hands smell like cosmolene. If you don’t believe me, for only $45 shipping you to can learn the hard way :)

I don’t think I had those damned planes two weeks before I got rid of them. I donated them to Habitat for Humanity ReStore so some other poor unsuspecting fool could experience the same humbling shame that I did. Oh, and get the tax writeoff.

Greg

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racerglen

2324 posts in 1465 days


#13 posted 10-20-2013 11:00 PM

Greg, maybe that’s what’s on some of my old totes n’ knobs..soaked right through
to the bolt hole and stinkey..but the odor’s like diesel, had to leave a couple out in the sun, then seal em with a poly finish and still get a whif now n’ then.. oooh, look at your Grotz set…..even in the pictures you can see the stuff DRIPPING.
Must be the sea air comming from India..;-)

Poopie, ran into that paint stripper effect before, stuff I’m using now is CRC Brakeleen, only on metal, unpainted, BUT !!! it has an amazing efect on wasps..KILLS ‘EM DEAD..(budy at a local auto wreckers tipped me to that, he buys it a dozen cans at a time just for that at the peak of the season, cheaper than commercial wasp sprays and quicker and no residue either )
I think the one I’d had best luck with for goo removal without hurting japanning or paint was the “Gunk” brand..”environmentaly” aproved, a green can..

-- Glen, Vernon B.C. Canada

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poopiekat

3671 posts in 2419 days


#14 posted 10-21-2013 12:22 AM

Glen: That’s funny about the wasp killer effect! Yep, I like ‘Gunk’ products too, but they don’t have a beautiful green flame when shot into the woodstove like Brakleen does….(in my misspent youth).
I like a glass cup with approx. 2 oz. of 1,1,1 Trichloroethane in it. put a hunk of cheese, meat or other food on the rim of the glass, and watch the flies drop in mid-air, like in a cartoon! Scary stuff!

-- 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 Greg In Maryland's profile

Greg In Maryland

398 posts in 1683 days


#15 posted 10-21-2013 01:35 AM

Hey Glen, did you notice how the ebay seller states in his description: “They retain the protective cosmolene coating from the factory.” Ha ha, of course it does. They put so much stuff on it at the factory it is impossible to remove.

Greg

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