Here’s a 604 Bedrock plane that I picked up. I wanted to see the underlying differences between a regular No. 4 plane and the Bedrock style. Also, I got it for cheap.
First things first, I stripped the plane apart and cleaned it up. Note: I assume that by you reading this you already know what a Bedrock plane is. The best info can be found at supertool.com.
Here you can see the flat bed that the frog sits on.
Flipping parts over, you can see the flat bed of the frog.
The thing I found after doing the cleaning was this crack in the side. It goes half way up the side and also down to the mouth.
This kind of put a dampener on spirits and led to me shelving the plane for a while until I figured out the next move. I wanted to know if the plane was worth saving or if I should sell it for parts or trade it.
The paint/japanning was bubbling up in spots too.
So, I cleaned the lot off with mineral spirits and degreaser etc. The I sharpened the blade and put the plane back together. It seemed to work pretty well.
I tried to sell this plane for parts but got no takers. So, if market forces tell me the plane is worthless, I saw no reason to not hack away at it.
So, I decided to braze the plane. I researched with the typical blend of reading everything I could lay my hands on, watching YouTube videos and then having a go.
I started by filing out the crack with a v-file.
And continued up the side to get to the end of the crack.
On to the brazing. I never did this before. I have soldered though and brazing is kind of halfway between soldering and welding.
I found a small junk plane and used it as a guinea pig by filing out a groove in it. Then I got a brazing rod. I fired up an oxyacetylene torch and melted some brazing rod into the groove and onto the side of the plane.
You can see where one bit went on in a big glob. Another part was filled in better. Not exactly like a welder laying dimes, but not terrible.
I got the 604 plane and stuck it in the easy back oven to preheat it. This was to get the temperature of the whole plane up so that there would be less heat stress induced.
The basic procedure I followed was to heat the area with a small MAPP gas torch. I then heated up the area with the oxyacetylene torch and touched the rod to the area until it flowed and filled the crack. Some of it ran and made a globby mess.
After turning off the oxyacetylene torch, I left the MAPP gas torch heating the area of work. Then I put the plane back into the heated oven for a while and let it cool slowly by dropping the temperature down over time.
When it had cooled, I put the plane in the metal vise.
And filed away the braze. And filed some more until the area was all flat.
The crack by the mouth seemed to be filled well too.
I reflowed the braze one more time to try to fill in a void on the corner. This worked OK. I still had an air pocket that can be seen between the edge of the plane and the mouth. I figured I’d live with this.
Along with a No. 5 and a No.3 I had picked up along the way, I set up the 604 plane for a new coat of paint. I sandblasted the lot, taking care to mask off where the frogs mate to their respective planes.
I gave them each a coat or two of gloss black oil-based paint and shellacked the handles etc.
I put the plane back together. You can see the small part where it was brazed. It is slightly off color but I am fine with that. I’m more interested in it working correctly.
Having done all that, I set up the plane to cut how I like. It works fine. I think my regular No. 4 works better. I prefer its larger adjustment wheel.
Once you set it up it kind of doesn’t need any more tweaking and I don’t see a big difference.
So, this wasn’t a waste of time, but I don’t see the hoopla surrounding the Bedrock name. It was interesting to learn how to braze and resurrecting an old tool is always a worthwhile cause.