Restored vintage Rockwell 653 Versa Plane

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Forum topic by BreeStephany posted 05-24-2014 03:03 AM 3770 views 1 time favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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50 posts in 1652 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.

7 replies so far

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

3023 posts in 1718 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 1015 days

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

Great job!

View waho6o9's profile


7179 posts in 2043 days

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

Excellent rehab Bree!

View Ted's profile


2785 posts in 1677 days

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

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

-- The first cordless tool was a stick. The first power tool was a rock.

View bigblockyeti's profile


3668 posts in 1187 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.

View toolhed's profile


1 post in 666 days

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


View Artz's profile


17 posts in 986 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.

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