Hand Plane Restoration – Part 4


Vintage Hand Tools / Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Click here for part 3 of this series

First, I’d like to apologize for the long delay in this final installment. Time, it seems, is always in short supply. In the last post, we left off with the plane parts cleaned and ready for reassembly. There is a wealth of information out there on the proper care and tuning of a hand plane, so I won’t go too in depth on the subject. I’d encourage you to research this further if you enjoy using hand tools, because proper tuning and sharpening is the difference between a tool that you’ll rarely use and one that you’ll reach for as often as possible.

Next step for the blade was creating a bevel on the sharpener, seen here. The blade was then honed using varying grits of sandpaper.

Next step for the blade was creating a bevel on a slow speed sharpener, seen here. The blade was then honed using varying grits of sandpaper.  Before reassembling the plane, I finished work on the blade and chip breaker. Using a slow speed grinder/sharpener, I squared up the bevel edge on the blade, which had been slight out of square. It’s important to work slowly to prevent the blade from getting hot as you work, which would ruin it’s ability to hold an edge. From there, the blade needs to be sharpened by which ever method you are most comfortable with. I use varying grits of sandpaper on a sheet of plate glass, with a honing guide, to create the final edge and also flatten the back of the blade, which is equally important.

I used the same method to create a smooth sharp edge on the chip breaker. It doesn’t need to be honed to razor sharpness like the blade, but removing nicks and creating a smooth edge on the chip breaker can definitely improve the performance of your plane. Once this is done, the plane can be reassembled

The sole of the plane is the lapped flat using sandpaper and a piece of marble.
The sole of the plane is the lapped flat using sandpaper and a piece of marble.

Using sandpaper on a marble block, I lapped the sole of the plane. This step should be done with the plane fully assembled,  but make sure the blade is withdrawn so you don’t damage the edge while lapping the sole. Fortunately this plane didn’t require much work to flatten. This step can sometimes require a fair amount of elbow grease to get good results, but it typically only needs to be done once.

The final step was to lightly buff the sole and sides of the plane with paste wax, to add a little protection and help prevent rust. All that’s left is to adjust the plane and take some test cuts. With a little luck, your plane should perform better than new!

The tuned and finished plane! A real classic. The blade has been honed to a razor sharp edge and carefully adjusted.
The tuned and finished plane! A real classic. The blade has been honed to a razor sharp edge and carefully adjusted.

The finished plane