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Restoring Planes: Metal and Wooden

  Repairing a Broken Cast Iron Plane by James D. Thompson 1 of 2  


This is a picture story of the repair of a cast iron plane.


It will also serve to tell you why very little of this kind of work is done. It simply is too expensive to be cost effective.

It requires the expertise of a welder and a machinist. Neither of these is cheap. So if you decide that you want to proceed with such a repair, you have been warned. :>)

First is a picture of the plane as I received it.

It had 15 holes drilled in it to hold in the infill wood. I suppose there was no epoxy available when this was done.

There is a crack through the side wall of the plane running from the center of the mouth to the top.  Next is a close up picture of the crack.

Next is a picture showing that the crack went right through the tapped hole which the plane shoe bolts onto. This had to be ground out and filled with brass, then machined flat, then drilled and tapped.

I ground the crack out starting on the inside of the plane so as to minimize the size of the groove on the outside which will be visible.

I ground it about ¼” wide, and not quite through the wall. This will support the brass as it is applied. 

You can see the depth of the groove in this side view. The tool I used to grind out the crack is a 1/8” diameter Dremel carbide bit.

Welding lore has it that you never use an abrasive on cast iron you intend to weld. I don’t know if it is true that the abrasive remains on the metal or not, but I believe the lore, and I do not use abrasives on cast.

The next picture shows the outside ground out after the inside was brazed. Please notice the discoloration of the base metal. I raised the temperature of the entire piece to about 1000 degrees before I brazed it. This is standard procedure.

Learn how. Discover why. Build better.
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