Hand Planes - Never had interest in picking one up, now I cant put them down

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Blog entry by Dan posted 11-08-2010 08:14 PM 5448 reads 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I only started getting serious about woodworking this year. When I was setting up my shop I had a list of tools that I wanted to fill it with and hand planes were no where on my list. It wasn’t that I didn’t like them it was just that I was just learning things and my mind seemed to be focused on power tools. I had no interest or urge to do things by hand. Well as I was setting up my shop I was also learning that this is an expensive hobby. I realized that I would have to pass on a lot of my wish list tools until I had more money saved. One of the tools I planned on getting but didn’t have the money for was a planer or jointer. As I started building things I ran into a lot of problems with cupped boards and uneven edges. I kept trying to work around it by either sanding it or using jigs for my router or TS but that just turned into a pain in the ass. So I decided I would pick up a hand plane and use that. How hard could it be?

I ended up winning an auction for two old planes. I think I paid 6 dollars total. One of the planes was a Shelton Jack plane and the other one was a Craftsman #4 style smoothing plane. At the time I bought them I didn’t know one plane from another, I had no idea there were different sizes and I had no idea they were so complicated. Once I got the planes I picked up the jack plane and right away my whole woodworking life changed. I don’t know what it was but when I picked up the hunk of heavy steel something came over me. I was in love with it. Had not used it, had no idea how to use it, hell I didn’t even really know anything about it but I loved it. I couldn’t wait to use it so i grabbed a board and started planning. Due to the fact that I knew nothing about planes I didn’t give any thought to tuning it or sharpening the blade. I just started cutting. I went on to spend hours and hours trying to “figure” these tools out and little by little I was catching on. After some research and reading I decided to take them apart and restore them. I learned that the planes I had were not considered top quality but that didn’t matter. It was all a learning experience for me.

So I finished restoring the Shelton jack plane and was very happy with the new look. I restored that one completely by hand with brushes, sandpaper, oil and cleaners. I learned so much by doing it this way. I spent a lot of time with each and every part of this plane and it really helped me understand how the plans work and how to adjust them. However after it was restored I still didn’t have good results. I was getting closer though. Even with the poor results of my planing skills I still loved every minute I spent using them. I came in one night after hours and hours of planing, huge blisters on my hands and a few ruined boards but still felt like I had accomplished something.

I recently won an auction on ebay for a lot of planes. I have that sickness for hand planes now I guess. Among these planes were two Stanley planes and a couple others which I had never heard of. This weekend it was a bit to cold to work in the shop so I spent the weekend working on these planes. My boys even helped me. I have posted some pictures below. If anyone has any info on Trustworthy planes can you pass it along. I cant find anything on them.







I am still learning the art of planing and I am showing better results every time I use. I am also practicing my sharpening skills. Hand planes are the last tool I ever pictured myself owning let alone considering my favorite.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

13 comments so far

View Maveric777's profile


2694 posts in 4364 days

#1 posted 11-08-2010 08:37 PM

Dan I know exactly what you mean. I always they where a lot of work and not worth the time… Boy have I changed my tune now. Although I am still horrible with my two very cheap planes I have come to a couple of situations where they proved there value to me. I seriously need to find a good book and just learn.

Did you just look around online to get all your info or did you find a book? I have read a good bit on the web, but would like to have a good book to carry out to the shop…

Congrats on the cool turn of events and thoughts in your shop….

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View PflugervilleSteve's profile


99 posts in 4330 days

#2 posted 11-08-2010 09:09 PM

One huge time saver for cleaning up the rust on old planes is electrolysis. Do a quick web search on electrolytic rust removal plane and you’ll find lots of links and how to’s. I noticed a couple blogs on Lumberjocks detailing it too.

Next thing you know, you'll be making up some new plane totes from scratch and it just goes on from there!

View chrisstef's profile


18138 posts in 4294 days

#3 posted 11-08-2010 09:32 PM

Nice Dan, and i love seein the little guys gettin in the mix. Im with you no the hand planes, bought a bunch at tag sales over the summer cleaned em up, and i just recently flattened and planed an entire board by hand. A proud moment and very sore arms. Its a nice change of pace from a sscreaming sander.

BTW, i vote for evapo-rsut … it works.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 4873 days

#4 posted 11-08-2010 09:48 PM

One tip I got for re-doing the sole plate was to use a well oiled chisel?plane blade sharpenning stone at an angle and rub it firmly back and forwards over the sole .It brings it up nice and new and flattens it too.Nice looking little kids you have mine are all grown up nowLOL still I have a wee grandson of eigtheen months. Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View swirt's profile


6822 posts in 4259 days

#5 posted 11-08-2010 10:12 PM

That is fantastic that you are letting your boys help get them cleaned up. Good that you have a plane for each of them, that way they don’t have to fight over them when you are gone. They will have special meaning to them for a LONG time.

-- Galootish log blog,

View Joe Watson's profile

Joe Watson

317 posts in 4834 days

#6 posted 11-08-2010 10:26 PM

though there many plane sellers there were only a few makers

your trustworthy was made by sargent most likely.

I love hand planes I started buying and collecting them for use in my shop about a year or more ago.

-- Got Wood?

View Div's profile


1653 posts in 4228 days

#7 posted 11-08-2010 11:08 PM

Welcome to the wonderful world of rhykenology! It is a slippery slope; enjoy the slide!

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

View Clung's profile


98 posts in 4069 days

#8 posted 11-08-2010 11:24 PM

Dan welcome to a great addiction. And you know you’re addicted when it takes over the kitchen table like that! Love your pictures! There is nothing like the sound of a sharp plane on wood when you’re puttering away quietly in your shop. It’s by far my favorite tool. I’m even saving the colorful thin curls from different projects to use in some of my Christmas packaging!

-- Clarence

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4154 days

#9 posted 11-08-2010 11:42 PM

Well, I see that you have a regular little restoration party going on there. That’s a fine couple of lads you have there and they look like they are having fun. I suppose they’ll make some pretty good woodworkers some day since they’re starting out so early. Dan, you have a fine couple of boys there and I know how proud you are of the both of them. It’s always wonderful to see fathers doing things like that with their sons. Same with the girls too if you have any. They always love their daddies. God Bless.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View canadianchips's profile


2632 posts in 4284 days

#10 posted 11-09-2010 03:13 AM

AND now you are becoming one of us. GALOOT !

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

View 8iowa's profile


1591 posts in 5049 days

#11 posted 11-09-2010 03:55 AM

I bought my first hand plane, a Clifton #5, three years ago. I now have eight, from a #7 down to a block plane, and have several more that need re-furbing. I’m now using several planes on every project. I have a lot of rough sawn boards and don’t know how I did without using hand planes.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View Dan's profile


3653 posts in 4168 days

#12 posted 11-09-2010 05:16 PM

Mavric -I watched some videos on youtube and read many different articles and how to’s. I think it all boils down to lots and lots of practice. The more you work at it the better you will get. I am not really good at it yet but I get better every time. A sharp blade makes world of difference so I am also learning how to sharpen the blades myself.

Chrisstef- I did try out the evap-o-rust on the lot of planes I got. Worked great! They still required some sanding after a night of soaking but was much easier then the first one that I did all by hand.

Thanks for the comments. I am sure I will have more hand plane post soon.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View mafe's profile


13405 posts in 4377 days

#13 posted 11-09-2010 11:22 PM

Wauuu Dan, It looks like a wonderful dream, restoring planes with your boys.
Welcome to the club, it’s a very giving path you have taken, it will bring you so many hours of joy.
Thank you for sharing this experience with us,
Best thoughts,

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

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