Sorry to hear about your rheumatoid arthritis, Gary. I have just done something similar while refurbishing a Stanley No 3 – the knobs and tote were in a bad way, so I sanded them down (the varnish was quite brittle and damaged) but wanted to use the plane that day, so I just used a little white spirit and woodwax. I will do as you suggest and use Danish oil and leave to soak and set. Thanks for an informative post, and hope you feel better soon.
From Warrington, UK. Making stuff in my front room.