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  • Fred

Why did it take so long to get one of these?

Seriously? It's "Flying WoodShop". Flying. The shop has been open for quite a while and I'm just now getting my first plane to sell?

We were on our way home from church this week and I looked over at the little flea market that sets up at the gas station on the corner as we drove by at 60 mph. I know where they set up the tools and all I could see were three little hand planes sticking up off of the table.

The boys were hungry and we'd already made one stop before heading home, but I had to go see! These things were ROUGH. I'll apologize now for the fact that I often forget that I'm going to write about stuff in blog, so I didn't take any before photos. I know. Anyway, they all looked like they had been buried in the yard for years. Not only was there rust, but there was a ton of dirt all caked in these things. I don't really know how someone just takes their tools and puts them in the yard and forgets about them. One even had some bug nests under the lever cap.

Well, to make a long story short, all three are Stanley planes, so I bought all three. I've spent the past couple of days working on them and I've finished the Number 4 that you see above. Under all that dirt and rust, this one was in pretty good shape. I tuned it up and tried it out and it's a good, usable tool that's not too hard on the eyes.

It takes a LOT of work to clean these things up. I started with just knocking the dirt off and giving it a good overall scrub with a brass wire brush (brass is softer than iron, so it won't scratch the plane).

After a scrub, I moved to the outdoor sink and washed the plane. This wash was followed by an application of bicycle degreaser to get any grease off of the plane. After the degreaser, it was time to submerge this rusty guy in some citric acid. I did this in a bucket and let it sit for most of the day while I worked on other stuff like stripping the flaky finish off of the knobs.

Most of the rust came off in the acid bath, but not all of it. I still had some brass brush work to do. Lucky for me, I have a brass brush that you can mount to a drill (in this case, the drill press). This let me work quite a bit faster.

Once it was finally cleaned up, I could get to flattening the sole (bottom) and getting this thing ready. I tried several things to flatten the sole. I could go through all of the stuff I tried, but I'll just skip to the solution. Use a diamond abrasive plate to flatten the sole. This was by far the quickest and easiest method. I used sandpaper and the wire brush to clean up and get a bit of a polish on the sole and sides after using the diamond plate.

I sharpened the blade in the WorkSharp after getting it straightened out on the diamond plate (using a honing guide). The WorkSharp works pretty well and is quick. It does tend to heat up the blade, so you have to use it in short bursts and keep a little tub of water handy to cool it off frequently. Too much heat will ruin tool steel.

There are plenty of YouTube videos about how to do this sort of thing, so I wont' get into the gory details. I cleaned it, flattened it, sharpened it and put some wax and oil on it to keep it from getting rusty again.

Below are all of the "after" photos even though there's no "before" photo to compare it with. The last two show a piece of maple that was rough cut on a sawmill. I cleaned it up in about 5 minutes.

Thanks for reading!

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