Rehabbing an old plane

Here’s the steps I took rehabbing an old plane.

This was one I picked up to upgrade the tools in my possession. I was pretty tired of the Stanley “Handyman” plane that I had bought before, presuming it was a quality product. Turns out, it could not get a fine enough shaving but was OK for rough work, so it will be retired to doing general knock-about work.

So, I did a bit of research on old planes and found that the quality went south after the 2nd world war and figured the one that would suit my purposes would be a type 11 or 12, according to the rexmill.com site.

I picked up a type 12 No. 4 plane on the auction site that needed some TLC. I had fixed up a couple of tools by this time, so I was OK with buying one that needed fixing up.

I didn’t take a “before” picture, but I did remember to take this photo of the plane dissembled.

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I cleaned the grunge off the brass wheel and the threaded knurls that hold the handles on. After that I sanded them and gave them a coat of Brasso to shine them up.

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Next I went to the handle. The top horn had been broken off. To remedy this, I cut the handle square and then planed it flat. Then I cut up a piece of Brazilian Cherry to scab onto it. This I also planed flat on one face.

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I mated the two flat faces with a bead of glue and stuck the lot in the vice for the night.

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While that was setting up I went to work on the body of the plane. Usually when fixing up a rusty tool I’ll dump it in a vat of Evaporust or just sand the rust off. This time I tried something else: sandblasting. Collector nerds be damned; I sandblasted off rust and loose paint and gave the plane body a couple of coats of brushed-on Rustoleum gloss black paint.

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When the glue set up on the handle, I took it out of the vise. I gave it a few goes at trying to pull it apart, but it held up OK. I drew the rough shape on the handle.

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So, on to shaping. I used a back saw to cut the rough shape out.

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Then, chiseled out the shape.

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Gave it a going over with a rasp.

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Then filed and sanded it smooth. I gave the front knob a sanding too.

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I gave the handle a bit of a dark stain. Not dark enough to match, evidently, but I like the way it looks. I gave the handle and knob a couple of coats of shellac.

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Next up, I drilled out the handle for the rod that attaches the handle to the body. Any drill bit I had was too short, so I used an auger bit. It mangled up the top a bit, but I fixed it up by sanding it out.

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Here’s a shot of the main parts put back together.

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I put the blade and lever cap into the plane, and retracted the blade. I then set went to flatten the sole. First step was mark lines on the base with a Sharpie and set up a sheet of 80 grit sandpaper on a sheet of glass for sanding.

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I ran the plane along the paper until the lines started to wear away.

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I stopped when the lines disappeared, which indicated that the base was flat.

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Here’s the couple of shots of the plane all finished up. I didn’t go to town shining it too much, just enough to get it working. It is now the go-to for finishing.

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