Anonymous2 September 2017 at 2:37 pm #315441
I was gifted a Stanley #28 plane and it is in need of a restoration. The iron is rusted over, the handles are loose and sole has grooves in it. Luckily, it is still in square. How would I go about restoring this wooden plane?
What do you mean by “restoration” and why does the plane “need”” it?
To derust the plane iron you could use electrolysis (my choice), Evapaporust or abrasives.
Turning the screws clockwise should take care of the loose handles. If the screws are bottomed out you could either shorten the screws or shim the bottoms of the handles.
If you are going to use the plane, ignore the grooves on the sole. They don’t do any harm and nobody will see them unless, like me, you habitually lay the plane on its side. Planing or sanding the sole to get rid of them will open the mouth up, which you probably don’t want.Anonymous2 September 2017 at 6:20 pm #315450
The grooves won’t affect the planing? Forgive my ignorance, I’m still quite new to woodworking.
Transitional planes like yours are pretty easy to get working again and a bit harder to get looking like new.
For a first go, I wouldn’t do any more than necessary for good function. A few scratches are no big deal, but if they affect use or the bottom isn’t flat, they need to go. Often a card scraper used judiciously is all that is required.
As Dave says, any removal of material in the sole will open up the mouth, which if you will use the plane as a scrub plane, is fine. If, on the other hand, you want a plane for finer work, you need to plan ahead. There are three basic methods to close a mouth.
If a plane is far gone, you can remove some stock to get the sole flat, add a thin sole and re-mortise the mouth. This is last resort, as it affects the looks the most. You want to have the plane the same thickness as a new plane.
A less open mouth might profit from the addition of a “Dutchman” at the front let into the sole and glued with a reversible glue like hide glue.
And a third method is to add a thin shim behind the iron to close the mouth up.
Any repairs should match the original beech, , and should probably be followed by an oil like linseed or walnut oil and beeswax, or tallow and beeswax, which will darken beech to look older the quickest.
The iron bits are standard plane restoration. They can be cleaned with a standard deruster as Dave mentions ( I use citric acid baths most often) and OOOO steel wool in the tough areas. Then use a metal polish on the irons if you wish. If the japanned parts have lost their finish, just oil or wax or strip and paint or re Japan to taste. (Google Pontypool for a japanning product, use Ford Engine black spray for paint)
Just don’t be too worried about any collector value. There are still scads of these out there, and the market isn’t strong for them. It’s even probably OK to cut the plane if you want a shorter one. You wouldn’t be the first to do so. Just get the proportions right. Most of the transitional planes used the same metal parts.
Regarding the grooves, consider the many cast iron planes that have grooves (“corrugations”) milled into the bottoms. These work just fine. As Larry points out, the main thing that you want is a flat sole. Heavy wear ahead of and behind the mouth can cause problems. Wear at the extreme front and rear ends of the sole, especially on a plane this long, don’t matter.
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