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Thread: Fettling A Plane from Junker to Jointer

  1. #1
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    Fettling A Plane from Junker to Jointer

    The plane being shown in this procedure is a Stanley #7, type 7. (ca. 1893-1899)

    The only reason this plane might appeal to some is the low cost, $21.25 including tax. Other than that, the only thing that made me feel confident in buying this wreck of a plane was the wood is in decent shape and selling the knob, tote and hardware on eBay would likely recapture the purchase price.

    Before pictures:

    Side View.jpg

    This plane has the look of having been left in a place where it became well acquainted with moisture.

    Sole.jpg

    Notice the "paisley" look on the sole. This is an indication of deep pitting. For comparison, look at the rust on the side. This is just surface rust and will come off easily. If the rust shows "blooms" or flaking on the sole, it is likely unrecoverable.

    Blade Lapped.jpg

    The blade on this plane may be saved by lapping, but it would be pretty thin. It would be better to get a quality replacement.

    Blade Cap & Lever.jpg

    Someone sprayed some silver paint on the frog and inside the lever cap.

    There is a chip out of the left front.

    I have made good users out of planes in worse condition.

    I will not get into electrolysis or other chemical rust removal at this time. If one wants to repaint their plane to make a good looker for their user, then chemical rust removal is the way to go.

    If the plane is to be repainted, it might be best to do this right after lapping the sole and making any adjustments to the mouth.

    Fettling 101

    The first thing done was to clean up the blade to see if it is as bad as it looked.

    After doing a little work on the blade, it was used to make shavings. As bad as the blade is, it still works pretty good. Some of the damage is just too deep to lap out.

    Bad Chip Breaker.jpg

    The blade and chip breaker shown with the mess of wood is actually from a different plane. This is just to show what can happen if the chip breaker is not seating properly on the blade. This one may have to under go some torsional alignment. If when a blade and chip breaker are assembled there is light visible between the blade and chip breaker, then the situation needs correction.

    In most cases with just a little bit of light visible, lapping the mating edge on the chip breaker is all that is needed. If possible, keep the top end of the breaker lower than the abrasive surface being used. This will put a slight bevel on the mating edge of the chip breaker to make the mating area a thin line. Make sure there are not sharp edges on the top side of the chip breaker to catch or snag shavings. Problems will make them self evident. If shavings continuously clog at the mouth, it is likely the chip breaker needing attention.

    Continued...
    Last edited by Jim Koepke; 06-14-2009 at 10:16 PM.

  2. #2
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    Knob & Tote

    One of my early steps is usually to take care of the tote and knob. If a they are going to be given a coat of finish, this will give them some drying time. I often do this the night before working on the plane if extra totes and knobs are not available for use on the plane for lapping.

    For working on knobs, I have made a mandrel out of wood to use in my lathe for sanding and finishing. Something similar could be done with a drill press or a regular drill motor.

    Knob Mandrel.jpg
    Knob on Lathe.jpg

    I also have some broken plane castings that can be used to hold a knob or tote for sanding, cleaning and finishing. The broken plane bases I use for this have been filed smooth where they broke. They make it a lot easier than any other way I have tried for cleaning, sanding and finishing totes.
    Tote on Base.jpg
    For the small steel hardware, a wire brush is used. For the brass nuts holding the knob & tote I use 600 sandpaper then finish with some jeweler's rouge. The posts can be chucked into a hand drill and steel wool or sandpaper can be used to remove surface rust. Using the hand drill with the brass nuts on the posts can shine them up in no time.

    Continued...

  3. #3
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    The Sole of the Matter...

    Before doing this, it is a good idea to loosen the frog and make sure it seats smoothly. Take the screws out and check for rocking. This will be mentioned again later, but if the frog does not seat correctly, it may be necessary to correct this before lapping the sole.

    For lapping the plane should have the frog installed and its mounting screws, with washers, tightened so that any forces the frog is exerting on the sole are present when the sole is being lapped.

    Belt Sand Sole.jpg

    For really bad plane soles, a belt sander comes in handy. One must be careful. If one just moves the sander back and forth, the center of the sole will become dished. Make sure to sand evenly. Consider that moving the sander back and forth has the belt on the center of the object being sanded at least twice as much as on the ends.

    Marked.jpg

    Mark the sole so you can see where the high and low spots are located.

    Hand Lapping.jpg

    More to Go.jpg

    Hand lapping of the base is best done with sand paper bought in rolls. A spray adhesive is used here to hold the paper to the surface. This keeps the plane from running off the end, which can cause problems. Use a flat surface. Check it with a straight edge and then if you want to use it in the future, store it on its edge so it will not bough. There is still some pitting on the sole of this plane. The toe heel and mouth area are in the same plane. The sole is far from perfect, but it is much better than it was and it is fine for a user plane.

    Mouth check.jpg

    The mouth is checked for square. If it is out by much, a line is scribed as a guide for filing. Usually after lapping, the edges of the mouth may be a little sharp and/or ragged. A smooth file used carefully will usually clean this up quickly. Only file enough to relieve the edges. If the mouth needs to be opened more, that will come later.

    Continued...

  4. #4
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    Nice pictorial Jim.
    I like the spare plane casting for working on the tote, definitely easier that trying to hold it in place with a long screw.

    The plane doesn't really appear to be too much of a wreck, but you probably did some initial cleaning not pictured. I've seen planes in much worse condition.
    I've always wondered if it's necessary to remove enough material from the sole to grind out the pits. I don't do it. I chemically treat the sole for rust and flatten/polish as necessary. ( I'm a little lazy though) I have a type 18, 3C that has some pretty significant pitting in one area of the sole, not near the mouth, I was going to re-grind it on a surface grinder, but have just left it alone.

    Once again though. Nice photo tutorial. Thank you for taking the time to put it together.
    "The first thing you need to know, will likely be the last thing you learn." (Unknown)

  5. #5
    Thanks, Jim! But, when you said you stepped in it - that didn't mean you had to stay up all nite to get this thing started

    Great help for those that may contemplate this.

  6. #6
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    Go Jim!

    This is great!
    Thanks!
    -Jerry

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Cutler View Post
    Nice pictorial Jim.
    I like the spare plane casting for working on the tote, definitely easier that trying to hold it in place with a long screw.

    The plane doesn't really appear to be too much of a wreck, but you probably did some initial cleaning not pictured. I've seen planes in much worse condition.
    I've always wondered if it's necessary to remove enough material from the sole to grind out the pits. I don't do it. I chemically treat the sole for rust and flatten/polish as necessary. ( I'm a little lazy though) I have a type 18, 3C that has some pretty significant pitting in one area of the sole, not near the mouth, I was going to re-grind it on a surface grinder, but have just left it alone.

    Once again though. Nice photo tutorial. Thank you for taking the time to put it together.
    Quote Originally Posted by John Keeton View Post
    Thanks, Jim! But, when you said you stepped in it - that didn't mean you had to stay up all nite to get this thing started

    Great help for those that may contemplate this.
    Quote Originally Posted by jerry nazard View Post
    This is great!
    Thanks!
    -Jerry
    Mike, John, Jerry,

    Thanks for your comments, I will try to get finished today, but there is always something that needs to be added. Over time though this thread can be added to by anyone who has a particular trick to the rehabilitation of an old plane.

    The plane really is not too bad. The before pictures are what was brought home. I took it apart before I bought it. I had passed on buying it a couple of times before. Someone mentioned wanting a plane to restore, so I picked it up to keep it from being sold, knowing if the other person didn't want this much work it could be sold on eBay. I do not need two #7s. I may sell my other one and keep this one. I have to find a blade for this one though. That will likely cost as much as the plane cost me originally. I may have one that is a bit short that could be used.

    As far as the sole goes, I usually just clean them to the point of being usable. So many people mention lapping the sole of their planes that I felt it should be shown. Lapping the sole is the most time consuming thing a person can do to a plane. Stripping and painting and watching the paint dry seems to go faster.

    jim

  8. #8
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    I'm In Love With a Big Blue Frog...

    If the Frog needs lapping, take off the yoke and the lateral adjuster. The pin punch used here is a 3/32. Before removing the yoke, the brass adjuster nut should be removed. The pin for the yoke usually tends to come out easier when driven from the right hand side, looking from the front of the plane. Try the other side if it seems to not be moving. The pin only needs to be driven enough to allow for removing the yoke. If the pin is loose, remove it all the way so it does not fall out and get lost. If need be, a new one can be made out of a nail or other soft iron rod.

    Yoke Pin.jpg

    Be careful when removing the lateral adjuster. In the picture it is being supported by a drill press vise. The vise is not tightened on the disk. The disk needs to be able to move freely. It should not take much effort to drive the pin out.

    Lateral Pin.jpg

    If the rivet is peened over a lot use a "safety" file or auger file to remove metal around the side. Do not file the top, this will shorten the rivet and will cause trouble later. A safety file is one that does not have teeth on two sides. This allows it to be used against a surface without scarring the surface. Auger files are available from Lie-Neilsen and other sources.

    With the lever cap screw, lateral adjuster and the yoke removed, lap the frog on the same surface used for the plane's sole.

    Frog Lapping.jpg

    It is also easy to clean the seat with this set up.

    Froggy Bottom.jpg

    Just run it along the abrasive enough to clean it. If it needs other changes, that will be done later. If if it is from a type 9 or later, there are two levels where the frog seats, one near the screw holes and the other is next to the mouth. Be careful to hold it at the proper angle or do this free hand.

    For cleaning the seat inside the plane body, use steel wool or sand lightly. Remember, at this point, we are trying to just clean, not alter the surface. The picture shows the type of seat used on type 6 through 8 Stanley/Bailey planes. The S indicates type 7. This type of seat limits the movement of the frog when opening he mouth.

    Frog Seat.jpg



    Continued...
    Last edited by Jim Koepke; 06-14-2009 at 2:58 PM.

  9. #9
    I'd like to add a Finish Nail works just fine as a Pin Punch to remove the Frog Pins..
    aka rarebear - Hand Planes 101 - RexMill - The Resource

  10. #10
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    Frogs to the Left of me, Frogs to the Right of me...

    If the frog is to be repainted, this is the time to mask and paint. This is also a good time to check the frog for square. This is mainly for reference when installing and adjusting the frog.

    Checking For Square.jpg

    Reassembling the frog is basically just doing everything in reverse. Do not use a lot of force. If something is not going into place find out why. Hitting harder will likely leave you with some broken cast iron. I have not broken any casting that was not meant to be broken, yet. Being careful has its rewards. Get the lateral lever started by hand. It should be possible to press it into place. It may not go through all the way, that is OK. Once it is started, place it on something to support it on either side of the hole where the rivet comes through. Tap lightly on the rivet with the ball of a small ball peen hammer. When it is all the way through and seated, turn it over and support the rivet on something solid and lightly peen the rivet. Do not peen it more than needed to hold it in place. You may want to take it out again in the future. Keep your options open. My set up is a punch held against an anvil by way of a drill press vise.

    Peening Set Up.jpg

    It is easier to install the tote before the frog is installed. So install the tote before going further.

    If the plane is a type 10 or later, it may be helpful to remove the screw and adjusting fork from the back of the frog. I will usually put a little oil on the base of the frog at this point. I have a rag that is saturated with furniture oil and wax that I rub on things to give them a little lubrication.

    Before installing the frog, place it on the base and make sure it seats firmly without screws. It should not wiggle. For type 9 and later, make sure it does not rock from corner to corner. If the frog is rocking, investigate to see where the metal has to be removed to remedy the situation. If need be, try paper shims to stop the movement. When the paper shims stop the movement, you have found the place that needs extra metal. Since it is difficult at best to add metal, remove a little from where the shims aren't. On type 9 and later, this is usually one of the sides at the front of the frog where it seats next to the mouth. Make sure this is not caused by a chunk of wood or other dirt before proceeding.

    Prelim Check.jpg

    When you are satisfied that the frog will sit solid on the base, install the screws and washers. The washers are important. On some planes the tolerances are so tight the screws can crack the base without the washers. Do not tighten the screws all the way. Move the frog back and forth and side to side. Adjust the screws so that this can be done with a little effort. The frog should be able to move, but not move without your wanting it to move. For moving the frog side to side, be careful, torquing with a screw driver, it can crack the sides. Loosen the screws if needed. With the frog all the way back, slide a small steel rule or similar object down the face of the frog. It should go through the mouth with out catching on the lip. Adjust the frog until both sides are equal in relation to the mouth. Tighten the frog screws a little at a time, one then the other until both are tight.

    Putting It Together.jpg

    Install a sharp and hopefully square blade/chip breaker assembly and the lever cap. I like to have my lever cap screw tight enough to hold everything in place, but loose enough so the lateral adjuster is moved with only a light touch. If it needs a little more tightening, loosen the lever cap and turn 1/8 rotation at a time.

    My method of adjusting the blade is to have it set to not cut then move the plane slowly along the edge of a board while slowly turning the adjuster to advance the blade until it starts to take a shaving. At this point, I take a shaving on each side of the blade. If it is only cutting on one side, the lateral adjuster is used to set the blade to cut even. If one wants to be real accurate here, a micrometer comes in handy. After awhile it is easy to judge the cut by taking a full shaving from each side then compare the feel of the shavings. Crumpling a couple of full shavings from 5 or 6 foot board can tell you a lot. If the plane will not cut even from one side to the other, the frog likely needs to be rotated. Look at how the blade is in relation to the mouth and which side is cutting heavier than the other. This is where trial and error come into play. If one side of the blade is forward and still not cutting, then that side of the frog may be closer to the mouth than the other side. I know this does not make sense, but that has happened to me. Adjusting the frog is where you will learn why fettling and fiddling sound so much alike.

    On type 9 and later, it may be necessary to file on one side of the notch or the other to correct the rotational movement of the frog. There is nothing wrong with using the lateral adjuster to compensate for a frog that is a little out or a blade that is not square. Personally, I like to work on my planes until the lever sits pretty close to center.

    When you are satisfied with the frog placement for the side to side cut, if the plane is a type 10 or later, reinstall the adjusting fork. Take care to loosen or tighten the adjusting screw in the base of the plane as needed. The placement of the fork will limit the rotation of the frog.

    Setting the frog for a tighter mouth is the next step if desired. After that, all that is left is to put the plane to work.

    What Comes Out.jpg

    In the case of a plane's mouth being too tight, removing a little metal around the mouth is fairly easy. Care must be taken to remove it from the best place. You may want use a square and scribe to score a line on the sole to keep your work straight. If the frog is able to move back further than will allow the blade to pass through the mouth, then take a little metal from the back of the mouth. Hold the file so it will put a bevel on the back lip to align with frog's surface. Putting heavy tape on the frog can be helpful in allowing the use of the frog as a guide.

    If the frog is all the way back and the blade still does not rub on the back lip, then take metal off of the front lip. Holding the file so as to make a bevel in the opposite direction of the frog bevel will help with chip clearing. After modifying the mouth, check for sharp edges on the mouth. Run the file lightly over any sharp edges to smooth them.

    There are a few other problems that may occur. To trouble shoot some of these would require gauges and calipers most people do not have at hand. One of these is a problem caused by either the base casting or the frog not having the seat machined square. There are a few ways to measure such problems by rigging up a comparison depth gauge. Since this is not a common problem, I will not go into it at this time.

    This should be enough for the basics of taming a find from the wild into a good usable plane.

    Another thing to consider is checking the side to sole squareness for use on a shooting board.

    There is also the possibility of finding a Frankenplane. There are Frankenplanes and then there are FRANKENPLANES. Many innocent swapping of parts will not cause problems for users. In my travels though, planes have been found that have bases and frogs mixed between different makers. Avoid these like the plague unless you want them for parts.

    Happy fettling,

    jim
    Last edited by Jim Koepke; 06-14-2009 at 3:33 PM.

  11. #11
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    Also Take Note...

    Bob Smalser produced a tutorial on his rehabbing a plane. The link is in the Neanderthal wisdom/FAQs thread.

    He covers a few items not covered in my write up.

    jim

  12. #12
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    Jim, Your timing for me could have not been better. I just dissembled my #7. After do so I wondered how to get the lateral adjuster off. Your tutorial was very helpful. Here's a couple of before and after pictures.

    Thanks, Again
    Attached Images Attached Images

  13. #13
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    Jim, nice results. I admire your work. Thanks for sharing...
    Jerry

  14. #14
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    Nice write up Jim!

    Jim,
    Well done! This is a well written document that should be saved somewhere! I also like it because the method you describe is a lot like the one I use!


    You comment "The blade on this plane may be saved by lapping, but it would be pretty thin. It would be better to get a quality replacement." is well said. Some times it's just not worth it to spend too much time lapping out the back of a badly pitted iron. About the only way I can see doing that is if the pitting is far enough away from the bevel and where the chip breaker contacts the back of the iron.

    You use of the broken plane as a Tote clamp is FANTASTIC! I wish I had thought of that! I have a crappy old No5 base that has a chipped mouth and cracked front. I have no idea why I was holding onto it. NOW I do!

    The only part I cringed at was the belt sander! I'm clumsy as hell and I could almost guarantee you that I'd ruin the plane if I even LOOKED at my belt sander while flattening the sole!
    Last edited by Dominic Greco; 06-14-2009 at 8:26 PM.
    Dominic Greco

  15. #15
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    Jerry, thanks for the kind words. Nothing warms the heart like kind words.

    Johnny, for years I have used nails and just about anything else I could get a hold of for a punch. Now that I have a good set, it is hard to go back.

    Glad the timing worked for you Russ. Looks like you made a good improvement to your frog.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dominic Greco View Post
    Jim,
    Well done! This is a well written document that should be saved somewhere! I also like it because the method you describe is a lot like the one I use!


    You comment "The blade on this plane may be saved by lapping, but it would be pretty thin. It would be better to get a quality replacement." is well said. Some times it's just not worth it to spend too much time lapping out the back of a badly pitted iron. About the only way I can see doing that is if the pitting is far enough away from the bevel and where the chip breaker contacts the back of the iron.

    You use of the broken plane as a Tote clamp is FANTASTIC! I wish I had thought of that! I have a crappy old No5 base that has a chipped mouth and cracked front. I have no idea why I was holding onto it. NOW I do!

    The only part I cringed at was the belt sander! I'm clumsy as hell and I could almost guarantee you that I'd ruin the plane if I even LOOKED at my belt sander while flattening the sole!
    The belt sander is rather drastic to use and should only be used in drastic cases. Most of the time the soles of my planes do not get lapped unless there are deep scratches or pits.

    Because I am a little low on 2-3/8" blades, I actually took some time with the pitted blade today. All together about 0.011" had to be taken off to make the blade useable. There is still some pitting further up the blade, but for now there is about 1/4 inch of good metal to the bevel. That should last long enough to find a replacement or two.

    Working on the old blade and using it made me realize a write up needs to be done on chip breaker tuning.

    There is always something more to do.

    jim

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