Restored vintage Rockwell 653 Versa Plane

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Forum topic by BreeStephany posted 05-24-2014 03:03 AM 5465 views 1 time favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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62 posts in 2150 days

05-24-2014 03:03 AM

I picked up a Rockwell 653 Versa Plane 10A 3” hand planer with a carbide spiral cutter head a few months and finally got all of the parts in for me to restore it yesterday.

I replaced all of the bearings, belt, cord, brush caps, replaced all of the screws with stainless, cleaned the housing and then buffed the entire planer to a quick somewhat mirror finish and took 250 grit sandpaper to the cutterhead to remove a little bit of rust.

I stripped the handle and dust chute, put on 2 coats of primer, 3 coats of flat black, 3 coats of high gloss black and 2 coats of clear coat.



new bearings & retention ring

new cord installed and cleaned field installed. The field and armature looked basically brand new when I removed them and still had all of the painted factory markings on them like they were brand new.


I polished the entire house with a buffing wheel on my grinder, drill and dremel and a little bit of white rouge compound. I have never really buffed anything on a buffing wheel prior to now, so I was pretty happy with the results.

Sharpening jig for the cutterhead

Sharpening bar and grinding wheel. The planer came with the sharpening jig, instructions for the sharpening jig and the planer.

Edge guide. I still need to polish the aluminum and strip the bluing on the still and redo the bluing on the guide plate.

-- Just a girl with way too many tools.

12 replies so far

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

3527 posts in 2216 days

#1 posted 05-24-2014 03:12 AM

Looks like it just came out of the box from the local hardware store! Great rehab! Waiting for the action shot/s.

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View AnonymousRequest's profile


861 posts in 1513 days

#2 posted 05-24-2014 03:32 AM

Great job!

View waho6o9's profile (online now)


8164 posts in 2541 days

#3 posted 05-24-2014 03:38 AM

Excellent rehab Bree!

View Ted's profile


2838 posts in 2175 days

#4 posted 05-24-2014 06:12 AM

The Versa-Plane is a true a gem of a tool. Great restore!

-- You can collect dust or you can make dust. I choose to make it.

View bigblockyeti's profile


5092 posts in 1685 days

#5 posted 05-24-2014 01:34 PM

I’ve got a line on a Rockwell 126 that I might be able to get for $30. Hope to make it look as nice as your versa-plane does.

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1 post in 1164 days

#6 posted 02-12-2015 03:55 PM


View Artz's profile


18 posts in 1484 days

#7 posted 07-16-2015 08:56 PM

Looks great. The 653 is a beast. Many surfboard shapers used one over the years. It was considered a good choice for adjusting depth on the Fly like the skill 100. Most preferred the Skil as it was lighter and the adjustment was easier to manipulate. The Biggest Problem I have with the 653 is the cutting heads are getting hard to find.

View davidschroen's profile


1 post in 484 days

#8 posted 12-23-2016 12:02 AM

Nice job Bree. I have the exact same plane. Where did you find parts for it?

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3194 posts in 1953 days

#9 posted 12-23-2016 12:18 AM

Really great job on the restoration.

View dhazelton's profile


2755 posts in 2261 days

#10 posted 12-23-2016 12:22 AM

Looked good to start, looked great done! Too bad someone engraved it. Make some curly cues with her!

View bandit571's profile


19721 posts in 2647 days

#11 posted 12-23-2016 12:27 AM

A construction company I worked for back in the 1990s had one, even had the metal case. I used it a few times. Hanging 40 wood doors on site, and a few needed a bit of trimming off at the bottom… go over carpet.

Yours looks a LOT better than the one they had….

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View BreeStephany's profile


62 posts in 2150 days

#12 posted 12-23-2016 03:21 AM

Nice job Bree. I have the exact same plane. Where did you find parts for it?
- davidschroen

I ordered all of the parts off of The planer is the same as the Porter Cable 653 Type 1 power planer. The parts diagram for the planer can be found here

-- Just a girl with way too many tools.

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