My First Plane Restoration and a New Use for Ketchup

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Blog entry by JohnnyW posted 04-02-2010 09:44 PM 1891 reads 2 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Welcome to another plane restoration.

This is my first proper plane, bought off eBay for £18 plus postage. It was in usable condition, but a bit rough around the edges. I’ve seen a few restorations on here lately and decided to have a go. I didn’t take any pictures of it before as I wasn’t planning a blog, but this is how it looks now:

It took about a week, doing an hour or so each day. Here’s what I used (plus wire wool, and sandpaper):

Some of the things that I did a bit differently to some of the other restorations I’ve seen here:

- I cleaned the brass parts with ketchup: covered for about 10 minutes, rinsed under running water and wiped dry with a cloth – it was as easy as that; no rubbing or polishing was needed. It did leave a slight red tinge though, so if you want to try it, I’d recommend starting with just 5 minutes.

- The rust was removed by soaking the metal parts in vinegar for up to two hours, then scrubbing with wire wool. The rust wasn’t deep, and came off easily. I applied oil and paste wax straight after to stop flash rusting.

- I removed the plating of the lever cap by rubbing it on sandpaper, starting with 80 grit and going up to 180 grit to finish, with a final coat of paste wax. This was really hard work and took over two hours of rubbing – not for the faint hearted!

I’m really happy with the results: it’s now a pleasure to pick up and use and well worth the effort.

-- John

7 comments so far

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3383 days

#1 posted 04-02-2010 10:05 PM

thank´s for sharing theese tip´s
we can always learn something new
the ketchup I new but the vinegar
was new to to me
and the plane looks niiiice
congrat´s with the new workhorse


View canadianchips's profile


2626 posts in 3265 days

#2 posted 04-02-2010 10:40 PM

Being a plane fanatic. NICE JOB. Another plane back to life. Enjoy it.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View michaelray's profile


232 posts in 3722 days

#3 posted 04-02-2010 10:41 PM

Great job on the resto. Almost looks too good to use. I have a No. 5 and I love it.


View bigike's profile


4055 posts in 3556 days

#4 posted 04-02-2010 10:57 PM

very good job, all that hard work paid off huh? ;)

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

View mafe's profile


11779 posts in 3357 days

#5 posted 04-02-2010 11:57 PM

Thank you for the tips.
Wonderful job.

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View JayPique's profile


61 posts in 3556 days

#6 posted 04-03-2010 12:12 AM

One additional upgrade you could make that would be to replace the existing blade with a thicker blade from Hock or Lee Valley. I did that with an old #4 and it made a significant improvement.


View SST's profile


790 posts in 4462 days

#7 posted 04-04-2010 04:31 AM

I’ve restored a bunch of planes, but none look as nice as yours. Absolutely great job!

-- Accuracy is not in your power tool, it's in you

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