Block Planes

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Stanley Planes


Restoring Planes: Metal and Wooden

  Plane Cleaning 101 by Roy Griggs 1 of 4  

In order to help others who are just beginning this process I am going to document the cleaning of several planes in varying states of decay. I am going to describe and show pictures of how “I” go about it.

The first subject will be a very late model Stanley No. 5C chosen mostly for its condition, which is quite good with some light to medium rust all over.

As the pictures show the plane is in very good overall condition with about 95% of its’ japanning, a good knob and a good if not great tote; all the parts are in good order and the blade is near full length.

Now, this not being a real old plane it has not really developed a “patina”, that wonderful brown combination of sweat and oil and labor and iron, which some purists preserve for authenticity.  I myself prefer a tool that looks a little more clean and shiny. 

These are a couple of my “users” and this is the condition or “look” that I prefer.

Stanley Type 12 No. 603C


Stanley Type 9 No. 4 1/2C

Enough showin’ off, back to the cleaning. My method for this plane will be to give it a citric acid bath to remove the rust and then a buff with a Scotch Bright pad. The bottom, which is corrugated, will be a little more difficult than the flat sides but it can be done relatively well. So off we go to the dip tank. Some others recommend scraping the heavy rust off with a razor blade, but I always manage to gouge the tools so I no longer scrape.

Another option is WD-40 and steel wool, which I do use, but because the plane is corrugated I will dip. I will recommend tools and other stuff I have found useful but by no-means are my means the only ones you can use. One recommendation I will make is; invest in a box of surgical gloves; they will save your hands a lot of grief.

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Stanley Planes

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