Wooden hand plane restoration

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  • #557307
    George Gregson
    Participant

    Hi everyone I have just been given some old planes, see picture, I am wondering how to restore the timber ones without ruining the “patina” of these lovely old tools. The timber is spotted with paint which I would like to remove but not sand them back to bare timber.
    Would boiled linseed be an appropriate finish? I am not so concerned about the steel parts as I can bring that to a reasonable condition following Paul’s tips. The blades are Matheson Scotland, so am not sure of their age. The number 4 is a Sargent and I think dates from between 1910 and 1918.

    Thanks for your help
    George
    Melbourne Australia

    IMG_2763

    #557350
    norman jansen
    Participant

    I usually remove paint remnants with a card scraper. Then rubbing with boiled linseed oil (BLO) removes a lot of dirt, then a few more layers of BLO to preserve the wood.

    The planes afterwards look nice and cared for and still show their rich patina. It’s a simple and easy method that preserves the wood and looks nice (smells nice too, in my opinion, but opinions vary on that…). If you’re unsure, just start with one single plane before tackling the entire batch.

    The brace looks very nice. Have you got the drills for it as well? I’ve stopped acquiring braces, unless it’s something special like yours. But the drills for them I scoop up at every chance I get.

    If you’re interested I may be able to take a picture of how mine look after the BLO treatment, and how they look before. Now that reminds me, I still have a few more planes to treat. Have been sewing leather covers for the axes today and treating them with BLO. Should’ve treated old dirty planes while I had the BLO out….

    Cheers from the Netherlands (my father grew up near Melbourne though, in Geelong, during the ’50s, but later migrated back to NL when my grandfather returned. He very much liked growing up in Australia, always speaks fondly of that time and the Aussies. Still have relatives in that area.)

    #557403
    George Gregson
    Participant

    Thanks for the reply Norman, The brace is a lovely old tool, I have never seen a timber one before but unfortunately no bits came with it.

    Some pictures of your restorations would be great. Melbourne and Geelong are now both very large cities, Melbourne has a population of around 5 million, not sure about Geelong though. I grew up in a rural area north of Melbourne in the fifties and it was a different world.

    George

    #557441
    norman jansen
    Participant

    Hello George, made a few pictures, including of my last two braces; I estimate the braces are from around WW-1, give or take 10 years. They’re still in the condition as I got them, no restoration has been done to them. The cigar box pictured contains some of the drills that fit those braces; they don’t have the usual conical-square shank, but are more flattened and held in with a screw. As you can see, one of the braces is missing the original screw; have temporarily replaced it with an inner-hex screw till I get around to making a proper screw for it. The drills are mostly spoon-bladed ones and some that resemble modern speeddrills quite a lot. Incidentally, the box cost 0.50 Euro at a fleamarket (it was completely filled with brace bits, including many conical-square shanked ones, which I now store in another box). That box was worth its money. Then, stacked below it, I found a second similar cigar box full of saw files, both new and used ones, enough to last me a lifetime. Same price, 0.50 euro…. Needless to say I went home a happy man that day.

    The darkest moulding plane started out very dark and dirty, like most of your planes. A lot of dirt came off with the boiled linseed oil. It really came out pretty nice, especially considering how dark and dirty it was. The lightest moulding plane started out like your light-coloured plane. Still have quite a few more planes to clean and sharpen (I just noticed I haven’t sharpened the blades of those moulding planes yet….)

    I think I learned about that method of cleaning and preserving planes (with BLO) from the Lumberjocks.com forum. If you search there you may find more about it.

    #557446
    norman jansen
    Participant

    rest of the images

    #557879
    George Gregson
    Participant

    Thanks for the pictures Norman, lovely job of cleaning up they look great. I have not started on cleaning up yet, but I did sharpen the blade in the large plane and it works beautifully.

    George

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