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Restoration of an old hand plane


Bizman62

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On the local flea market I found this Stanley #4, which proved to be a model 13 from 1925-28 so it's almost a hundred years old! Not so sure about the handles, though, as the nut of the back handle isn't flush with the top, the wood is pale and there's stripes carved on the knob. Not bad for a tenner, though.

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So I gave took it apart and slammed some phosphoric acid gel all over it. Used an old tooth brush on the foaming gel and when no brown was visible I flushed the parts and spread some baking soda all over to neutralize the acid.

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I then used some abrasives to make them relatively shiny again, no pictures. Also I tried to clean the handles but that dark crud didn't come loose with mineral spirits so I used elbow grease and a piece of 400 grit abrasive felt instead. The knob was easier, I just ran a bolt through it, secured with a nut and attached it to my drill which I held on my lap. Only sanded them clean leaving most of the original finish. I then mixed some dyes with alcohol to give them a more authentic shade. To my surprise the clearcoat melted! Oh well... But the result looks good enough after some oil-poly-turps mix:

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As it's a nightmare to work with a dull tool I then gave them the full monty with my stones, finalized with a strop. Sharp enough to shave my forearm...

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FInally it was time to put it all together.

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As you can see it's not a perfect restoration, I just wanted to make it work. It's a tool, not a showpiece!

 

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Oh, they've done those in Australia as well? Didn't know/remember that!

During the summer I've restored three English ones as well and found out that dating them isn't easy unlike the US ones for which there's numerous charts and even a "click to choose" detail search tool. Well, the UK made #4 is easy to tell to be quite new since it has plastic handles... A good work horse, though.

And yes, seeing the rust go away and finding out there's no major pits in the sole or sides, and finally getting the blade scary sharp from something like an abused flat screwdriver truly is highly satisfying!

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1 hour ago, Bizman62 said:

Oh, they've done those in Australia as well? Didn't know/remember that!

They started in the early 60s - the factory was actually all the way down here, about 20 mins drive from where I live. It ceased production about 20 years ago.

I think Stanley also had factories in Canada too?

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Nice shelf!

What's the story behind the coloured one(s)? Someone just thought that an old plane missing the knob and painted red would make for a nice eye catching decorative item in a black-and-white home?

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4 hours ago, Bizman62 said:

Nice shelf!

What's the story behind the coloured one(s)? 

Red one was a garage sale find. It came with a Dremel scroll saw. $30 for both. I actually have the knob somewhere. Someone was stupid with a can of red spray paint 🤷🏻‍♂️😆

The Dremel scroll saw ran horribly because there was no blade, so got him to come down on price. At home with a blade, ran fine, plus discovered extra blades in a not so obvious storage location on the saw itself 😆

two blue shelves, curbside trash find 🥳 they are steel.

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  • 3 weeks later...
11 hours ago, ADFinlayson said:

I've got a couple here that are in a sorry state too. Lots of time involved in bringing one of those back to life!

That one was the rustiest of the four I've brought to life this summer. It's also the only one I've used phosphoric acid on to remove rust. Looking back the entire process didn't take too long. The acid treatment took about a couple of hours one evening, including dismantling and rough cleaning. Sanding from dark to bright metal with abrasive felt and sandpaper maybe another couple of hours - the bottom and sides of the body haven't been leveled, just cleaned. Sharpening from rounded and pitted to razor sharp also took an hour as the blade required reshaping. Cleaning the handles took quite some time as well, the crud was too soft to sand and too hard to wash. Obviously getting the handles finished took the longest but in short intervals. Using some 2k poly instead of BLO would have done the trick in one go.

Cleaning my hands after every metal honing session took almost as long as the actual work!

Anyhow, the time needed depends much on the required tasks and what tools you have.

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4 hours ago, henrim said:

I'd assume especially after working with the sole and the clamp. Cast iron is lovely material but creates awful mess. 

I'd say all parts are guilty. The whetstones I bought earlier this summer make quite a lot of slurry with the metal dust of the blade and it penetrates skin quite effectively.

The stones look similar to those that one youtuber was strongly against. Then again, that guy is a huge fan of certain diamond slabs so his opinion may be somewhat biased. After restoring four plane blades from round to razor the set still looks like they haven't worn at all, only got dirtier.

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  • 9 months later...

An older thread, but a lovely restoration, also handplane afficionado myself, albeit of the blue ones (Record/Woden). With respect to waterstones vs. diamondplates, the latter definitely are not as hard wearing as people say they are. I have done a few restorations where I needed to do a lot of work on the plane iron, and that wore out the extra coarse diamondplate quite quickly. First one only lasted half a year or so.

For maintenance of your own planes it is probably fine, and it is somewhat less of a faff and less messy than waterstones, so I continue to use them. But for coarse work, your preserve waterstones and diamondplates, and just stick coarse sandpaper to something flat. 

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On 6/17/2024 at 9:56 AM, LFlab said:

But for coarse work, your preserve waterstones and diamondplates, and just stick coarse sandpaper to something flat.

Having made the investment, I much prefer Tormek for coarse work. And while I don’t like to admit it, I seem to use it for maintenance too. 

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Ah, yes, I always thought they were quite expensive (and it is still a significant amount of money), but the DMT 8" diamond plates are 80 euros each, and I have four so, yeah, that is nearly a T4 (especially if you also count the Veritas honing guide).

Think it is also easier to maintain skew chisels and things like woodturning gouges (let alone kitchen knives, axes etc etc) on a Tormek, so maybe a lot more versatile? Very nice, can imagine that you use it for everything, quick and easy!

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