View Full Version : Some Nice Momentos

Keith Starosta
07-14-2003, 7:39 AM
Hi guys. I wanted to pass along these pictures. These three hand planes belonged to my Grandfather many, many years ago. I've recently inherited them, along with a couple of four foot long wooden clamps. I honestly don't know very much about these planes, other than they look like they've been used quite a bit. I'm going to display them proudly, as my Dad did in his shop.

Dave Anderson NH
07-14-2003, 9:38 AM
You're right, those planes have been used a good bit. Remember though, they can be cleaned up and restored. The very best of all old tools are those with a family history. The first plane is a traditional American/British style coffin smoother and it should clean up nicely though you might want to check how open the mouth is before trying to use it. The second plane is a Germanic/Scandanavian style horned plane and from the picture it's hard to tell whether it's a smoother or a scrub. Finally the last plane is hollow. It's used for making a round convex shape and it is 1/6 of a circle. Stamped on the heel of the plane should be a number. This usually gives the size in 1/16s of an inch though in the larger sizes this rule isn't always followed. Finally, the wedge which holds the iron in place is in the plane upside down. To remove it easily, tap the heel of the plane with a smoothe faced hammer and the wedge should loosen nicely.

Keith Starosta
07-14-2003, 9:45 AM
WOW, Dave! Thanks for that feedback. Like I said, I had no idea specifically what they were or what they were used for. In order to clean them up, can you recommend something that I can use that won't harm them? I don't know if I'll use them, but to make 'em look good on display would be great.

Dave Anderson NH
07-14-2003, 12:58 PM
I would begin by disassembling the planes and taking the wooden parts and giving them a good rub down with 0000 steel wool and mineral spirits. The irons can also be given a bit of a cleaning this way too though it will be less effective in removing any heavy rust. I would take some boiled linseed oil and give all of the exteriors (and only the exteriors) of the planes a nice rub down with a coat cut with some mineral spirits. This will also give them a bit of a light sheen though it might take a couple of coats if the wood has really dried out. If the irons are heavily rusted some sandpaper or wet/dry SiCarbide paper at 220 grit with some mineral spirits will get rid of most of it. The goal here is to get rid of the majority of the rust, and not to turn the irons into shiny bright steel. Old planes typically had a gray/black color to most of the cutter. A coat of paste wax will protect the iron from most further rust. For the interiors of the planes (mouth, escapement, etc) try and remove most of the "gunk" and dust and shavings with an old toothbrush and on the Hollow where the wedge opening is too tight for a toothbrush, clamp the body in the vise and work an old piece of heavy twine or string up and down as a sort of brush. If you are really careful a narrow chisel can also be used to "pare" some of the dirt out. A final cleaning with some mineral spirits and the toothbrush or twine will complete the job. Under no circumstances linseed oil the cheeks or bottom of the area where the wedge goes. This might swell the fibers and cause wedge binding and it also runs the risk of having the oil act as an adhesive and make removing the wedge difficult. Finally, paste wax the exterior of the plane bodies again avoiding any wax in the areas where the wedge beds. A waxed wedge bed will not allow you to tighten the wedge securely.

Mike Schwing
07-23-2003, 3:29 PM
Dave, that was a marveolous, wonderful, and very complete explanation of how to clean up an old wooden plane. I would think many people could use that - it could be expanded and included in our "articles" section?

Dave Anderson NH
07-23-2003, 4:11 PM
I'll try to work up something in a more user friendly format. It will be controversial since not everyone agrees with my approach. I will also try to include some info on other approaches and why other folks' methods are different. Mainly, the controversy is over how much cleaning should be done to an antique or whether it should be done at all. These are primarily historical/ collector vs user arguments and good points are found on both sides of the issue.

Glenn Clabo
07-23-2003, 4:31 PM
I've hinted...now I'm begging. I really want to get some info on planes before I jump in wallet first. I'm looking forward to what you write...

Doug Evans
07-23-2003, 6:15 PM
I use an approach very similar to Daves. There are a few other techniques, which I will include here:

Ever wonder how those guys get those grunged-to-H#ll-and-back ploughs to turn out so crisp, and yet retain all of their patina (metal and wood)?

When you get home and SWMBO asks "How was the hunt?" pull out that grunged up Mathieson 9B, hold it high up in the air with one hand (like you're holdin' a Wild Thom Turkey upside down by its legs and proclaim "Lookie there!"

As the blank stare begins to form... walk over to the closet and pull out an ole Zehr's bag (be careful... only a Zehr's supermarket plastic bag will do... we sell them on our site gently-used for $US19.95). Remove any metallic pieces from the plane that will come, put the plough in the bag, and before the complaints start comin' shove the whole mess in the freezer! Usually (95% of the time), there is such an element of surprise to this kind of manoover, the room is so silent you can hear a pin drop. If things arent quite shapin up for this though, make sure to don hearing protection and you're between your spouse and the knife drawer. I kinda hedge my bets by arriving home after 1:00 a.m. all the time (100% top of the class so far).

While Frosty the plough is coolin' down for about a half hour in the freezer - you go huntin' for a flat tip screwdriver and a wide flat beater chisel (relatively sharp). Get some of that 3M plastic steel wool too. With most of us neanders, findin' a tool such as this amongst our carefully placed, highly useful 444 dovetail planes, millers patents, Ultimatum braces, and such a half hour is about right.

Might as well grab the co-ed bottle o' Murphy's Oil Soap while yur at it and start fillin the sink with warm water. If you beat the half hour thing by much... well, even if ya dont... grab yourself a beer - you've earned it. And grab one for me, for tellin ya all this!

Assuming that your plough is done, remove it from the fridge and start removin the skate. Is Doug your fren' or what? Those never-would-be-able-to-do-it steel screws that secure the skate come out like butter. Continue to remove all metal hardware. Undo all of the wood pieces.

Plop all the wood in the kitchen sink and gently (whatever that means) scrub the wood with the plastic scrub pad. Make sure to clean out along the edge where the skate goes up into the plane. I also use dental picks for gettin into small places. I get these at the dentist office when they're not looking. Pull em off the tray when they turn around. You should see the look on their faces. They start lookin all around in your mouth. Raises the hair on their necks if you start talking about that recent legal claim you won! When you're quite done with the plane-washing, put the whole mess up to dry. For newbies... here's a special tip... dont put it up to dry on the dining room table with the antique French lace (ya might as well learn from the mistakes of an ole dog).

While things are drying grab yourself another beer (gosh we're workin hard here - turible hard). It's not all over though - no siree! We're going to be multi-tasking here - something we're not able to do according to half the world!

That's right. You're gointa hafta clean the steel and drink the beer at the same time, by Gar! If the steel part of the skate has rust bubbles, dont waste your time with steel wool - it will not break rust bubbles. Take the chisel and carefully shear the tops off the rust bubbles. Then use the steel/plastic wool. Clean off the steel screw heads in a similar fashion. After this, take that Peak stuff (metal cleaner in a silver and blue tube) and burnish a shine on the steel. This will keep the steel "Black" as opposed to that too shiny look of bright steel. Clean the brass down with cleaner.

Your plough should be dry now... perhaps your throat is parched too... you may grab a beer. If you were smart, it's now about 2:00 a.m. and nobody's counting. Carrying on with the whole multi-tasking thing, dry off the wood parts and wipe them down with lighter fluid. This takes the white film of the Murphy's soap off. Carefully fit the skate and other metal hardware back together.

Like Dave, I basically wax from here.