Restoring Hand Planes.. My methods #10: Stanley #103 Block/Pocket Plane restored and upgraded! w pics

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Blog entry by Dan posted 03-17-2011 05:10 PM 9893 reads 2 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 9: Stanley Bailey # 7 complete restore w pics! Part 10 of Restoring Hand Planes.. My methods series Part 11: Stanley #48 Tongue & Groove plane restoration complete w lots of pics. SWEET! »

This small pocket sized plane is probably used more then any of the planes in my shop. The plane is what I suppose you could call a cheap plane. The blade depth adjustment is a pain in the ass and the plane chatters and chokes very quickly if your blade is not set just right. However once you get the hang of the blade adjustment and once you know the limits of this plane it is extremely handy for small jobs and touch ups. The planes size make it very easy and comfortable to hold or keep in your pocket. I have found this plane most useful when making small boxes or other smaller projects. It is also very useful for touching up projects that have been assembled where a full size block plane is just to big.

I picked up this plane for a dollar or two but it was in very rough shape. Most guys probably would not have taken the time that I did to bring this cheap plane back to life but I like a challenge. The plane was rusted and covered with over spray from different spray paints. You could tell this was a well used plane. This plane was originally japaned black over the whole body but decided to sand and polish the sides rather then re-painting them. I think it looks a lot better that way. The rest of the body was painted using the same paint and methods that I have discussed in earlier blogs. I also lapped the sole flat as I do with all of my planes.

The only downside with the restoration of this plane was that the blade was shot. The blade was badly pitted from rust and there was no way for it to become usable again. So the search was on for a replacement blade so I could get this plane back to use. I checked a few places and found that Woodcraft had a IBC replacement blade for the 103 sized plane. The blade was expensive but I all ready went this far with this cheap plane so why not go all out. The new blade is a lot thicker so I had to file the mouth of the plane a little bit so that it would take the new blade right.

All in all its a very handy plane that serves its purpose.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

7 comments so far

View BigTiny's profile


1721 posts in 4176 days

#1 posted 03-17-2011 07:54 PM

As usual, you’ve saved an old timer from an undeserved grave. Congrats!

-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View Mike Gager's profile

Mike Gager

665 posts in 4555 days

#2 posted 03-17-2011 08:38 PM

nice job. ive got a bunch of old planes that need some work. i dont know what any of them are really but your series here has got me wondering about them. i think ill try to fix them up

View Dan's profile


3653 posts in 4168 days

#3 posted 03-17-2011 09:08 PM

Mike- When I first took interest in hand planes I had no clue what the differences were or even how they worked. I had nothing but bad results when I was first using them. Thats what motivated me to learn what they were and how they worked.

I suggest you do fix yours up. Just start by taking one apart cleaning it up a little and learn what the parts are and how they work together. Once you clean and tune a few up you will learn a lot. Its fun and rewarding also.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4402 days

#4 posted 03-17-2011 11:13 PM

maybee its a pain in the … and chathatter with lot of limits
but from you have in the first picture to the last pictures
I will say …... O la la ! what a sweet dancer you had put on the cabaretscene :-)

take care

View Dave's profile


11435 posts in 4127 days

#5 posted 03-20-2011 04:47 AM

Dan you can take a poor designed plane and if you can sharpen n tune you can get it to produce. I do feel you with adjusting. I have a #3 that is from India and I love it. I hate to take it apart for maintenance. Because the stupid thing takes me 20 minutes to get it back to where it was.
Once again great refurbish.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View sedcokid's profile


2738 posts in 4886 days

#6 posted 05-28-2011 08:22 PM

I was just given this plane from my 87 year old father who got it from his father. The only thing I can find on the plane is the #103, so do you know anything other then what you have told here in your blog. I think I will restore this tool so that it looks like yours. The knief or steel is in good shape but looks like someone sharpened it with a chisel. What is the proper angle to sharpen the knief at?

Thanks for sharing…
The SedcoKid aka Chuck

-- Chuck Emery, Michigan,

View Dan's profile


3653 posts in 4168 days

#7 posted 05-31-2011 04:33 PM

Chuck – I pretty much said what I know about it in the blog. Its not a great quality plane by any means but it is extremely handy. I think I use this plane more then any of my other planes. It is very comfortable for me to hold with one hand and its perfect to touch up small areas. I bought a replacement blade for the plane and the blade had a 25 degree primary bevel. I hone a 2nd bevel of 29 degrees and a micro bevel at like 31 degrees.

If you get the blade sharpened well I think you will really enjoy your plane.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

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