How should I restore my Grandfather's Stanley No. 4?

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  • #59991
    Paul Williamson
    Participant

    Firstly, hello there, this is my first post!

    I’m looking for some advice on restoring a plane I inherited from my Grandfather. It’s a Made in England Stanley No. 4. It’s currently in pretty rough shape with lots of surface rusting. It functions well still and all the screws turn easily without excessive force required.

    I have never restored anything before, so don’t really know what my options are for cleaning up this plane. The plane has great sentimental value, and I’m unconcerned about the monetary value as I’ll keep this forever.

    I don’t mind a bit of patina, but I’d like to actually start using this and crafting things from wood so the rust is the main concern at the moment.

    There are LOTS more pictures here. I will warn you that each image is about 4MB in size.

    Finally, does anyone have a method of dating this plane? I can’t see any manufactured date on the piece.

    Thank you for your time!

    #59995
    cpetersen1970
    Participant

    First, welcome! I think you will find this to be a great starting point for your journey into hand tool wood working.

    As to your plane, I believe it to be a type 15 made in 1931-32. There is an excellent resource here: http://www.hyperkitten.com/tools/stanley_bench_plane/start_flowchart.php

    As far as restoration goes, there are a *ton* of articles and vids out there but its pretty simple, really. If you just want to clean it up a bit for the sake of useability, I would take the plane apart and soak everything but the wood and brass pieces in Evaporust. Its a great product that is non-corrosive and will strip most rust in 24 hours, leaving behind only a black residue, which is easily removed by rinsing in water followed by a treatment with a Scotch brite pad and WD 40 that will leave everything shiny and looking almost like new. You can refinish the wood if you want as well and use some brass cleaner to shiny up the brass bits or just leave them as is.

    Putting the plane into working order is another story; again there are a ton of resources out there for this process but the very basic steps are to flatten the bottom, sharpen the iron and set it up. Paul has some good stuff here and on his blog and a quick web search will turn up a lot more.

    Good luck and don’t be afraid to ask specific questions if you run into trouble!

    #59998
    David Gill
    Participant

    Hi Paul
    Welcome, that looks like a very nice plane that if you follow the advice that is available on this and many other sites you will end up with a plane that not only looks good but will take super thin full width shavings.
    I am sure you will gain great satisfaction from the restoration, A far cheaper and more satisfying option than spending loads of money on a brand new top of the range plane. Let us have the picture of the restored plane

    Wigan, Lancs. England :

    #59999
    Eddy Flynn
    Participant

    hi Paul you’ve been given some great advice above if you follow these simple steps you should have a plane you can pass on to your grandson when you’ve finished with it i like the pictures you showed they look like they were taken with a nice camera good luck with your restoration and be sure to show your results with a nice project

    Eddy .. Liverpool, Merseyside, UK
    ,

    #60037
    Paul Williamson
    Participant

    Hi all, thanks for the great replies. I’m trying to send my reply again as it didn’t come through the first time. I have found a bunch of information about stripping the rust, but a lot of it seems to be using solutions/chemicals that don’t appear to be available in the UK.

    I’ve found a few solutions that state they are suitable for use with iron or steel. I presume the plane and parts are steel? I don’t recognise any of the parts as brass, so I think I’m safe there.

    I looked at the resources for dating the plane, but they seem accurate only for the made in USA models. I found some more information on an Australian forum – http://www.woodworkforums.com/12634-english-stanley-bailey-planes/page-2/#post97349 but as the bed (is that the right term?) doesn’t have any markings I don’t think this helps much!



    @edfly
    thanks for the kind words, the camera is indeed nice, but you can take good pictures with any camera when you have good light. I have a fold down light box that I got from Maplin years ago for around a tenner. Combine that with a couple of flashes and you can get lovely detailed images!

    #60082
    Paul Williamson
    Participant

    Thanks for all the replies. I’ve struggled finding well reviewed anti-rust solutions in the UK, as most tend to be American products.

    I started sanding back the existing lacquer on the knob and handle. I think I’ve sanded too far with the handle, as lighter wood is starting to show through now. Hopefully I can apply a nice darker stain again!

    #60083
    Paul Williamson
    Participant

    Oh another thing – it seems the Made in England models follow a different age guide than the USA models. I’ll post a reply if I find any more information. Based on the information in this forum, it seems like it could be post war (1946-1972) as it has steel bits rather than brass, but I could be wrong.

    #60084
    Paul Williamson
    Participant

    As for dating – it seems the English Stanley’s don’t follow the same dating patterns as the American made ones. From an old post I found on an Australian woodworking site (I can’t post a link) it seems it could be from the post war period. I suppose any time between 1946–1972.

    #60085
    Eddy Flynn
    Participant

    hi Paul i used Hammerite rust remover gel it worked great i think this is what your talking about when you refer to it as “anti -rust solutions” i hope this helps . Eddy

    Eddy .. Liverpool, Merseyside, UK
    ,

    #60087
    Paul Williamson
    Participant

    That is perfect Eddy! I was looking at the Hammerite, it seems there are two sorts. The dip and gel so didn’t know which to get. I’ll pop down B&Q after work and see what they have. Many thanks.

    #60088
    Eddy Flynn
    Participant

    Halfords sell it if you cant find it in B&Q

    Eddy .. Liverpool, Merseyside, UK
    ,

    #60099
    Paul Williamson
    Participant

    That’s good to know. I think Halfords is on the same complex so not a big inconvenience.

    Can anyone tell me what to look for in a wood stain?

    As you can see in the attached image, I have sanded the old cracked lacquer on the knob, while it still retains a nice dark colour. The handle on the other hand has been much tougher. The lighter wood is starting to show through again, so I think my only option is to strip back all the stain, re-stain it and coat it in something (shellac?).

    I’m a bit gutted the original stain started coming off, but at least I may learn from my mistakes on this project!

    #60103
    revscales
    Participant

    I don’t know how bad your rust is, but naval jelly will work. I had an old Delta table saw that had been in the open door of a barn for years and was really rusty. I dismantled it soldered a wire lead to it, soldered another lead to a length of re-bar. I placed the rusty parts in a bath of borax (washing soda) suspended the re-bar in the bath, but not touch the rusty saw parts, connected the leads to my batter charger and left it for four days. All the rust floated off leaving an oxidized surface that wiped off with a rag. You google this if you need detail instructions. Personally, I only went to those lengths because I had so many parts and lots of rust.

    There will be sanding and buffing with which ever method you choose. I have done several with a motorized wire brush and abrasive paper.

    Good luck

    #60104
    Paul Williamson
    Participant

    I’m quite fascinated by the idea of electrolysis for de-rusting – as this is my first project I don’t quite feel brave enough to attempt it!

    #60112
    dcoons
    Participant

    No need to feel brave about electrolytic rust removal. I’ve gotten great results, and it’s easy to do. My ‘rig’ is a 5 gallon plastic bucket with several pieces of rebar wired around the rim as the sacraficial electrode. I hang the rusty bits on a piece of wire from a board across the top of the bucket. Use a battery charger for a power source. There are lots of diagrams on how to set up on the net.

    A few things to look out for–no chrome or stainless! it will offgas poisonous fumes (don’t recall what). Second thing is make sure the piece to be derusted can be completely submerged. If not, you will get a visible line where the water line is, and they are difficult or impossible to get rid of. I usually do this in my garage with the door open.

    Works great. Rust turns black, after a few hours or overnite. Take the part out, and the black gunk comes right off with a ‘green scrubbie’.

    All that said, I’ve been just as successful with chemical solvents (naval jelly and the like). But it’s cool to watch.

    d

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