Welcome! Forums General Woodworking Discussions Tools and Tool Maintenance/Restoration Maintaining/restoring old wooden planes?

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    Dave C

    Any advice or links to videos/reading material on looking after or restoring wooden planes?

    I found these three planes at a boot sale today for a very modest price, so having only used/restored metal bodied planes, thought it might be nice to try using a wooden plane for jointing (the longest one is 22″ long).

    The soles seem very flat and smooth, and in pretty good condition. I’ve watched Paul’s videos on metal plane restoration, which have worked well for me, but haven’t found much about wooden planes yet.

    I’m mostly wondering a few things:

    1. If the soles turn out not to be completely flat, how should I true them? Just using another plane?

    2. Is there anything I need to do to the outside/sole of the plane? Does it need wax/oil rubbed in occasionally?

    3. The 3rd plane is open on one side of the base – is this just to allow it to plane tenon cheeks?

    I’m mostly wanting to make sure I take good care of them if they turn out to be usable, rather than making any major mistakes in trying to get them set up…


    There’s a dvd…here’s a preview on Youtube:

    Pepper Pot

    There is a video about a wooden jack plane from Paul:Wooden jack plane

    Philipp J.

    I would rather use a reasonably flat surface and sandpaper to flatten the sole or if you have one a scraper plane, reason being less chance to snag on the mouth or hidden cracks and have tear out or chipping on the corners.

    I just use Pauls rag in a can while planing not really doing any dedicated oiling to the sole other then that, seems to hold up just fine.

    Another thing you should probably do is use some epoxy or woodglue to seal up the cracks on the corners of the mouth and stop them from going any further or any other cracks for that matter.

    Since the step-down runs the whole lenght its probably safe to assume that it has indeed been made/modfied for some task, with the width of it and the stepdown only on one side i dont know what that migh’ve been though.

    David Perrott

    I just used a another plane to correct the soles. My jointer has a lot of cracks in it. Unless its an area where you hit it with a mallet to adjust it, I didn’t worry about it. Some cracks I did put hide glue in. I had some wedges that were dinged up from mallet blows and I put some hot hide glue to strengthen it and/or soaked some linseed oil into it, in attempts to make it less brittle. Basically what ever I had in reach at the time! I think Paul did a video on tuning one up.

    Christopher Dennis

    I recently refurbished a 17″ wooden Fore plane that belonged to my late Grandfather.
    He died over 40 years ago so it hadn’t been used for at least that long although from speaking with my Father I think it may have been nearer 50 years since it was in regular use.
    Given the circumstances the body was quite dry with some cracking which was especially visible on the end grain. I cleaned it with fine OOO wire wool and a meths/boiled linseed oil mix then fed the wood with regular applications of blo over several months and the result is that almost all the cracking has healed.
    With the iron sharpened it was good to take the first shavings for what could have been in almost half a century with the plane. I have not found it necessary to flatten the sole as after feeding it seems to have stabilised however I will lightly chamfer the sides and ends of the sole at some point.
    I have several more wooden plane restorations on the go at the moment and now feed the wood with blo before taking the restoration further and if I need to work on the sole I would choose to use a very sharp #4 plane or possibly a #5 1/2 to do this depending on it’s size.

    Mike I

    Those examples look like they have seen a fair amount of use from the size of the mouths.

    Don’t worry – it’s usually easy to get a wooden plane working as per the videos and advice posted, so long as you have another flat plane, a little planing skill and a little blade sharpening skill.

    The third plane is a little bit unusual – the open side is consistent with some kind of rebate plane. It looks a bit like a badger plane – a large rebate plane except…

    1. The blade appears square rather than skewed as badgers normally are

    2. There is some kind of cut-away on the inside of the rebate side that might have acted as a depth stop or for different fillets to be added. Perhaps some part is now missing.

    Whatever it was it looks like it might have had quite a specific use.

    I’m sure someone else around here will know better exactly what it is, and some more pictures from different angles may help.

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