Wooden Planes #1: Japanese Smoothing Plane Refinishing

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Blog entry by Justin posted 11-04-2012 03:54 AM 6830 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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Ever since I first saw a Japanese hand plane I have had an interest. I purchased my first Japanese smoothing plane brand new, although the white oak plane body and grain was beautiful, it was unfinished and the blade was not sharpened square. This is the first time I have ever worked on a wood plane, so any comments or suggestions would be very appreciated. Here are some pictures of what it looked like at first:

Only picture I have of it with the blade and chip breaker in is from the website of the company I purchased it from.

One of the biggest problems it seems with wood planes is they can be dented, scratched, or become dirty easily. So without a dout I knew I had to finish this wood plane; just had to decide on my finishing method. First I chose to make sure all the sides of the plane were completely flat. To do this, I taped sandpaper to a flat piece of glass/mirror and sanded all sides and sole of the plane.

I chose to start the finish with a few coats of Boiled Linseed Oil, since it always seems to really bring out the grain in the wood. I applied a few coats and let the plane dry for about a week to make sure it was dry. After having almost a week to think about what to apply after the Boiled Linseed Oil, I decided on trying an Orange Shellac. This is the first time I have ever worked with shellac, you can buy pre-made shellac but I already had a pack of orange shellac flakes so I decided on using it. I made the shellac, let it sit, stirred it and strained it before applied the finish. I applied 3 coats of the orange shellac, and lightly sanding in between coats. To finish I rubbed in a coat or 2 of paste wax on the plane, let sit and then buff out.

Finally, I had to sharpen and fix the offsquare blade. All finished here are some pictures:

5 comments so far

View waho6o9's profile


8771 posts in 3091 days

#1 posted 11-04-2012 04:03 AM

Nice looking plane Justin, good job.

View Chris Wright's profile

Chris Wright

540 posts in 3995 days

#2 posted 11-04-2012 11:09 AM

Great looking plane! Having made a few wood body planes of my own, my only comment is that you didn’t need to finish the sole since any finish will wear off from use.

-- "At its best, life is completely unpredictable." - Christopher Walken

View Sylvain's profile


881 posts in 3013 days

#3 posted 11-04-2012 02:58 PM

View Justin's profile


37 posts in 2577 days

#4 posted 11-04-2012 04:30 PM

Sorry, should have mentioned it is a small 36mm smoothing plane.

Thanks for the advice Chris, yeah Im sure it will wear off quite quickly, just hoped I could protect it at least for a bit of use.

View Sylvain's profile


881 posts in 3013 days

#5 posted 11-05-2012 04:24 PM

Don’t be sorry,
I should have read more attentively;
you said it is a smoothing plane in the first line.

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn

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