View Full Version : Plane Question

Stan Thigpen
02-21-2003, 2:05 PM
I recently acquired a #5 Stanley plane and am in the process of cleaning it up. It is a well-worn plane and the shoe is scratched up quite a bit. Is there any down side to smoothing it down on my table sander? It's condition is such that it would have no real value as a collector's item, but I think that It has fine promise as a "daily driver" after some sharpening and tune-up. Additionally, the former owner sprayed the frame a billious purple. I guess to help identify it as his. Will anything which removes the spray paint also remove the japanning? To re-word my question, is there anything which will remove the spray paint which will not also remove the original japan finish?

Dick Shryock
02-21-2003, 2:12 PM

I've restored several old planes and wouldn't hesitate to use a belt sander to get down to good metal. The key though is to flatten the bottom. I think that the best way to do that is with the scary sharp method. I have a piece of glass that I fasten pressure sensitive sandpaper to, start with 80 grit and work up to 1500. A little time consuming but worth it.

Regarding the purple paint, I believe that you are stuck with it unless you want to remove all of the Japanning as well.

Dick Shryock
02-21-2003, 2:15 PM
Maybe you could call it a #5 Barney instead of Bailey ;)

Stan Thigpen
02-21-2003, 2:43 PM
#5 Barney it is!! Thanks for the suggestions.:D

Jim DeLaney
02-21-2003, 3:32 PM
Use Acetone, MEK, or Toluene and some steel wool or scotchbrite to remove the purple stuff. It shouldn't damage the japanning. If it's a newer painted plane (originally either blue or maroon), then the chemicals might remove that as well. (You didn't mention the plane's age).

As for the sole, if it's just scratched deeply, and not 'out of flat,' then just use sandpaper on a flat surface to remove any 'burr' from the scratches so you don't further scratch your work. The grooves that are left won't hurt anything (Think about corrugated plane soles - they're just uniformly scratched/grooved...)

Dave Anderson NH
02-21-2003, 4:25 PM
I would do the solvent test in some out of the way place where it can't be seen and proceed if things go well. I'm also in Jim's camp about doing minimal work on the sole if the plane has a planar sole. you might want to use some engineers blue or magic marker to cover the sole and use it to test for flatness. Pay particular attention to the areas just infront of and behind the mouth. These need to be at the same level as most of the rest of the sole. If they are concave, you will end up with a bit of tearout when you use the plane. you can go to the articles section of either Badger Pond (www.wwforum.com) or Woodcentral (www.woodcentral.com and look for RJ's 19 steps which is a very good treatise on tuning a hand plane. Good luck and let us know how you make out.

Dennis McDonaugh
02-22-2003, 10:47 AM
link. He restores old planes for a reasonable price.


W.C. Turner
02-22-2003, 12:13 PM

It seems to me, that while you're sanding the sole flat, that should remove the majority of the purple paint.

Chris Knight
02-22-2003, 12:44 PM
As others have said don't worry about a scratch if the sole is otherwise flat.

I confess to scratching the sole of my prized LN No.7 whilst planing some ply edges I wanted really straight :( I don't know if it was glue or grit but I scored the sole quite deeply.

I quickly polished the sole with fine emery to get rid of any slight burrs and it is fine - doesn't mark the work at all :)

John Wadsworth
02-22-2003, 5:32 PM
A power sander is likely to put a smooth but not really flat surface on your plane sole. Try the "Scary Sharp" way (sandpaper on plate glass), or carbide powder sprinkled on a flat steel plate. Keep going until at least three areas are similarly abraded--the parts of the sole nearest the toe, the front of the mouth, and the heel. Then on to the next highest grit; I would go to at least 400.

Sounds wearisome, I know, but the results are very satisfying. Don't worry too much about any remaining scratches, as long as they can't snag anything.

Good luck,


PS: If it was mine, I'd de-Barney it. Most solvents won't hurt any japanning underneath--but you may find out why it was painted in the first place!

John Tarro
02-26-2003, 3:40 PM
I just finished one. The method I use was the same as is described on the Pond Forum . . I think it is articles. Sharpening beveled blades. Used 1 foot square sheets of marble with graded sheets of sand paper glued to it (3M 77 spray adhesive). Started with 80 and finished with 800. Worked REALLY well and FAST. Smooth and square to the sides.

Steve Reynolds
02-26-2003, 5:10 PM
One thing that has worked for me to check flatness is to mark the sole with a magic marker (squiggly down the middle). Once you start flattening you'll get a good idea of flatness when the marker is all gone (provided the flattening surface is flat).

Steve R