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Discussion Starter #1
A chest of tools have recently landed in my lap. Now i have a few questions regarding it. Any help at all would be appreciated, my experience with this is limited. This chest as you see in a pic has marking gauges and wooden hand planes. Can any one tell me 1. Do guys still use these? 2. The blades have the contour the same as the body of the plane... how do you sharpen them? 3. Are they worth cleaning up and using or are they wall hangers? 4. Who makes them and what or who is BC NILES, Barry & Way, or Kennedy and White? 5. Is there any thing else I should know? Any sort of info at all regarding these please feel free to enlighten me! Thank you all in advance. I might have to post pics in a couple posts its not letting me do them all at once.
 

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Man, I wish a collection like that would land in my lap!

I see a bunch of moulding planes, people still use them but I do not have a lot of experience with them.
 

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I use them. The steel is typically very soft, but takes a nice edge. It's most important that the back of an iron is not pitted with rust. I sharpen mine with Diamond Lapping Film wrapped around whatever I can find that fits-like a drill bit shank, or make a wooden shape.

Japanese plane floats help with tuning the inside. It's important that the iron fits nicely against the back, and the wedge needs to be tight all the way to the bottom to prevent chatter.

I find ones from England are generally in much better shape than ones found in the States. I think they must have keep them in houses over there, where most of the ones here have been kept in a barn.

If you can tune and sharpen one, it's pretty amazing how easily they work. Can't sharpen or tune, forget it.
 

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Here's a little info:
Barry and Way: Partnership of Samuel S Barry and William Way in New York City 1842-1847. Not rare.

Kennedy & White: Samuel L.Kennedy and Dyer White partnership 1822-1840. Probably the partnership was formed from the dissolved Kennedy & Way business. Not rare but a little more desireable.

This info came from "American Wooden Planes" by Thomas Eliot

If you're not planning on keeping these for yourself I would recommend not cleaning them but keeping them together and in the toolbox and contacting one of the dealers that handles those types of tools. Bad cleaning could really hurt if some of those have real value.
 

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The wood planes were the routers of their day. Many folks still like to use them but they primarily work with the grain, not across it. When sharpening shaped irons, you hone the back flat. You only touch the profile to remove any wire edge formed. If you stone the shape it will change the profile and you don't want to do that. Watch Roy Underhill's show, The Woodwright's shop. He often shows traditional tools and methods of work. That's quite a collection.
 

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Tom King said:
I use them. The steel is typically very soft, but takes a nice edge. It's most important that the back of an iron is not pitted with rust. I sharpen mine with Diamond Lapping Film wrapped around whatever I can find that fits-like a drill bit shank, or make a wooden shape.

Japanese plane floats help with tuning the inside. It's important that the iron fits nicely against the back, and the wedge needs to be tight all the way to the bottom to prevent chatter.

I find ones from England are generally in much better shape than ones found in the States. I think they must have keep them in houses over there, where most of the ones here have been kept in a barn.

If you can tune and sharpen one, it's pretty amazing how easily they work. Can't sharpen or tune, forget it.
+1. As Tom said, the steel is generally pretty soft and sharpens rather easily. I've used sandpaper wrapped around varying sized dowels for concave-shaped irons. Convex irons its freehand for the bevel side, and have patience. Once you get the hang of it its easy. A flat back is very important.

If you can manage a quick touch up honing just to make the iron cut, grab a chunk of poplar and using a very slight set cut the iron's profile into the poplar. You an then wrap the profiled block with PSA sandpaper and you've got a reliable sharpening jig. (Do any adjusting of the profile first if necessary, of course)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Wow thanks a lot guys this is a huge help... Now that I know these are something that may be worth using I'd like to tune these puppies up. When you say I could clean them up the wrong way or decrease value what do you mean? What should I avoid doing? Oh yes and I love Roy Underhill and the woodwright shop!!! Some cool hand tool techniques and how cool is that spring board lathe! Does any one still use that?
 
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