Thank for the replies, all… this is what I am dealing with. Ken, there are little “peely” spots around the rust that made me think the sole was plated.
My goal is to clean up the sole of rust. I actually think it is fairly flat, but I want to get it cleaned up. This isn’t intended to be a collector’s piece, I want this to be a little workhorse router for many years. How would you guys proceed with the clean-up?
Thanks so much for all the quick replies! You guys are great, and so helpful.
I’m taking everyone’s advice into consideration. Timothy, if the nickel was removed from the sole, would you have the same iron surface that you have on the sole of a smoothing plane, for example? Would a paste wax coating, the same way I coat my hand planes, prevent the sole from rusting?
Mark, you mention oil to prevent rust… I usually use wax, is that ok?
Thanks again for all the advice.
Most of these type of planes in user condition I’ve seen with the wooden base attached. It is a safe assumption that this was done to prevent the nickel plating from wear, causing the plane to corrode. I can’t speculate whether you will get a good polish on it compared to a premium hand plane. That would depend on the quality of iron composition. Back in the day it was generally pretty good (although it being nickel plated it may not be)It is your plane you can do what you wish with it. The wax would be better if you were to lap the sole thus removing the nickel plating. If you were to attach the wooden base, you could use the wax as well.
I went back and forth on this and finally decided, based on the various advice here and a few restoration blogs (there was actually mixed advice there as well) to clean/flatten the bottom of the plane. It ended up needing a bit more flattening than I expected (which seems to be the norm for all the planes I have worked on… wishful thinking I guess). The 400 grit that Mark mentioned, above, was fine… and, in fact, it looks about like the sole of my other planes at 400 grit. I didn’t see the need to go higher with this router.
I have a paste wax finish on it and I’m pretty happy with the end results. The knobs turned out really nice… I used the drill press pseudo-lathe trick some of you may have seen in resto blogs to smooth them down, and then they finished out quite nice.
I plan to shape a wooden base for it, to use when I need a bit more width on my router. That project is on hold as I am now wrestling with a block of osage orange I picked up for a mallet.
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