Cleaning white mold off of old wooden bodied planes?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Hand Tools forum

Forum topic by diito posted 01-19-2014 01:04 AM 1154 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View diito's profile


30 posts in 1585 days

01-19-2014 01:04 AM

I got a whole box of old wooden body planes, probably 20 on them with various profiles most marked Sandusky tool company. They were being stored in a cardboard box with peanuts and plastic and some water leaked in without being noticed for a little while and now there is some white mold spots on them. Otherwise there seems to have been no damage and besides being old and obviously well used they appear to be in pretty good shape. The blades look like with some sharpening would be fine too. They were going to throw them away but thankfully asked if I was interested in the whole lot for free instead!

Anyways, I’d like to clean them up and maybe even use a few of them. If not use them they’d look nice in my shop. I’m fairly certain that some of the planes are worth something. A quick Ebay search shows several selling for $200, $350, etc. (Also a bunch at $30-50) So I don’t want to ruin them in any way. So:

1. How should I kill this mold and clean it off without damaging the tools, white vinegar, bleach?
2. How should I clean/recondition these in general? Is it important to keep the patina or can you touch up/refinish?

I have no experience with antique tools or wooden planes. I’m more of a hybrid woodworker who buys his hand tools new from LV, LN, or some other quality manufacturer.

3 replies so far

View Tim's profile


3802 posts in 1954 days

#1 posted 01-19-2014 01:30 AM

For the more valuable ones the less you clean them up and the more patina you leave the better, if you want to preserve their value. I can’t tell you what would clean the mold off without causing damage but vinegar is pretty mild you could test that in a small spot. I take it brushing the mold off isn’t enough?

We were just discussing cleaning methods in the hand plane of your dreams thread, I think murphy’s oil soap is pretty mild and one way to go. Paste wax is another option. The solvent in it can remove some of the gunk and the wax can act as a preservative. Boiled linseed oil is the traditional treatment for wooden planes.

View Don W's profile

Don W

18706 posts in 2560 days

#2 posted 01-19-2014 02:16 AM

BLO thinned with mineral spirits was another option.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Loren's profile


10371 posts in 3641 days

#3 posted 01-19-2014 02:20 AM

You can put them under heat lamps. Here in my climate I have
a lot of sun. Bleach diluted with water will work too. You might
be concerned with raising grain and that’s legit, so if you
want to use water do some tests on similar woods and
see what works.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics