Planes - repairs and cleanup - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 Old 05-03-2010, 09:30 AM Thread Starter
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Planes - repairs and cleanup

I've recently inherited two planes: One is a Craftsman 187.37051 block plane, the other is a Siegley SsS 24”. Neither is in the best shape, unfortunately.

The Siegley (which appears to be the same as this) is actually in pretty good shape. There's a crack in the top of the wooden block, but it's not very deep, and while there's rust on all the metal parts, it's all surface rust.

The Craftsman is in somewhat worse shape. The body is metal, and is rusted -- It looks like surface rust, but I can't tell how bad it is. The blade is chipped fairly deeply near one corner.

My question is, are these worth recovering? And if so, how much cleanup should I do? The Siegley seems like it probably is worth the time, since even just sharpening the blade would leave it usable, but I'm not so sure about the Craftsman. I assume people will want pictures, which I can provide tonight, but I need to know what pictures would be most useful first.

Anyway, any advice would be useful.

Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 7 Old 05-04-2010, 09:56 PM
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Why do you want to restore them? If it's for an economic gain, I'll let others speak to that as I'm no expert on the value of old planes.

However, if there is sentimantal value involved, then restoring them to user condition might be worthwhile. (I have a plane my Grandfather bought just after he returned from WWI and started his woodworking business.)

Even if they aren't great planes, by researching and trying different approaches, you will learn something that may come in handy for future opportunities to pick up "diamonds in the rust". Mot of my working planes have come to me this way thru garage sales, craigslist, and occasionally "the bay".

Learning how to grind out a chip in a blade is a useful skill in any case. (If you do woodworking, you'll need this skill!).

Good Luck!

Jim
"A Woodburning stove forgives all errors!"
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post #3 of 7 Old 05-05-2010, 07:51 AM Thread Starter
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I have no particular interest in selling them. Mostly I want to restore them because I hate seeing good tools (well, anything useful, really) allowed to fall apart just because no one took care of them. These seem like they were probably fairly decent, and it would be a shame to let them deteriorate further. As an example, I spent about 4 hours not too long ago cleaning rust off an old axe and an even older hatchet (the hatchet was my fathers when he was a cub scout, in the early 1950s) and putting new edges on them. I could almost certainly have replaced them quite inexpensively, and the axe, at least, probably wasn't worth the work. But I couldn't just let them rust away, could I?

I spent about an hour working on the planes last night, and while I definitely need some better tools to finish repairs, I was able to put a nearly acceptable edge on the Siegley blade and clear up enough rust that the moving parts (mostly) move. It looks like the Craftsman is actually in pretty good shape, except for the chip in the blade and the rust on the bottom surface.

If anyone has any good advice on removing rust from the bottom of a metal plane without ruining the flatness of the surface, I'd love to hear it!
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post #4 of 7 Old 05-05-2010, 06:29 PM
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Cleaning planes

OK, with that in mind, the best way (IMHO) to clean a plane sole is to use coarse sandpaper (60 - 80 grit) glued to a flat piece of glass (I use picture glass from HD). Almost any float glass is very flat because of how it's made.

Keep the iron and frog in the plane, but fully retract the blade. Push the plane along the sandpaper until all the rust is gone. (Hint - use a magic market or equivalent to mark the plane sole, this will tell you when the sole is flat.)

Keep this up until all the marker is gone. Then, switch to a finer grade of paper (120 grit) and repeat. Keep moving to finer grits of paper until the sole is a shiny as you want. You can actually achieve a mirror finish, if you want, but it doesn't make the plane work any better. You will have a flat sole without any rust.

Once that's done, coat the plane bottom with a wax (avoid silicone containing waxes) to prevent more rust from forming.

For the other surfaces, you can use a wire brush, or naval jelly, or Evaporust to clean the surfaces up.

Once you've got all the rust off, coat the surfaces to prevent more rust. (I use sheep tallow from Dixie Gun works, but anything will do as long as it doesn't contain silicones.)

Fixing the blade will probably require grinding- but be careful here. If you get the blade too hot (blue color), you will destroy the temper and it won't hold an edge. Best to get a book on sharpening to lean different ways of doing this.

Good Luck

Jim
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post #5 of 7 Old 05-05-2010, 10:50 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks! I'll give it a try, either this weekend or sometime next week. I've done a fair amount of sharpening on various tools, but they've mostly been of more of a "rough cut" nature -- axes, hatchets, machetes, things like that. Precision tools are sort of a new experience for me, so I'll certainly be reading up on it before I do much more than touch things up with a whetstone.
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post #6 of 7 Old 05-08-2010, 06:30 PM Thread Starter
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Well, it used up almost three hours, a lot of sandpaper, a lot of oil, and most of my patience, but both planes now work; the Craftsman acceptably, the Siegley quite well. For the moment the metal one has a light coating of gun oil, but I'll replace it with something that won't damage wood as soon as possible. I'll put up before and after pictures of the metal one Monday -- I forgot to bring my flash card reader home with me yesterday.

The Craftsman was definitely not flat when I started -- I went through about 7-8 rounds with 60 grit sandpaper before the sharpie marks wore away evenly across the sole. The vertical parts of the sides still aren't perfect, but I don't really care. From the 60, I went on with what I had -- 100, 220, 320, and 400. In an ideal world I'd have 600 as well, but I don't, so I'll settle for the finish I have.

The Siegley turned out to need more work than I thought: the dial that's supposed to move the blade forward an back was solidly rusted in place. It's a brass knob, but on a steel threaded rod, which had locked up. I ended up pulling the whole assembly, putting quite a bit of WD40 on it, waiting, and then using slip-lock pliers (greatest sub-$5 tool I ever bought!) to get it moving. Once it was, I cleaned off what I could of the rust, and coated it with chain lube. If it keeps my motorcycle chain moving through the abuse it gets, it ought to keep this moving. 8-) It now turns effortlessly, and as a bonus, taking the assembly apart gave me a chance to clean and lube all the other moving parts.

Both blades got sharpened with the same progression of sand papers as the Craftsman body. That's also where my supply of patience went -- keeping the blades at the right angle while moving them over the paper, and keeping myself from moving too fast to watch the angle. The Craftsman blade still shows where it was nicked, but it's a LOT smoother now.

Thanks to everyone who offered advice!
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post #7 of 7 Old 05-08-2010, 09:06 PM
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I came in a bit late, but for some rust you might try Naval Jelly. It is phosphoric acid and will leave a blackish phosphate coating to discourage rust. I've also heard good things about vinegar. For oiling and penetrating oil I prefer a product called Ballistol. It was developed in 1904 for the German army to care for wood, metal and leather. Doesn't evaporate like WD40! I buy it myself and the Museum I volunteer at (Steppingstone Museum) buys it by the gallon.

Glad you're getting good results. The best thing you can do is get a good book or video on sharpening and practice! The edge determines how hard you work, the surface you get and your safety. My preference is oil stones but there are many paths to sharpening nirvana!
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