Restoring hand planes #1: An adjustable "bath tub" for efficiently removing rust from hand planes

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Blog entry by Brett posted 03-25-2011 06:56 PM 3859 reads 1 time favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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Here’s a concept for a jig to make it easier to remove rust from hand planes using a rust-removal solution (such as citric acid or a commercial product like Evapo-Rust). To use the jig, first line it with a piece of plastic (or a plastic bag) to create a bath tub of sorts. Fill the “tub” with the de-rusting solution and place the hand plane into the solution for several hours.

The jig uses 2×4s for the sides and 3/4-inch plywood for the base. The jig should be sized so that your largest hand plane fits between the 2×4s with a clearance of about 1/4 or 1/2 inch. One of the end pieces could be made adjustable so that the it can be moved closer to the other end piece for use with shorter hand planes. .

The benefit of this jig is that it is simple to build, and it reduces the amount of rust-removal solution that is required to restore your hand plane. I haven’t built it yet, but I thought I’d post the idea in case anyone wants to use it themselves or suggest improvements.

-- More tools, fewer machines.

9 comments so far

View BigTiny's profile


1716 posts in 4006 days

#1 posted 03-25-2011 08:45 PM

Only change I might make would be to use 2×6’s instead of 2×4s for more depth. That would reduce the chance of spilling it if you have to move it while in use, or it it gets bumped into while full. Also allows dipping larger tools, as a 2×4 is only 3 1/2 inches tall, so the maximum safe width of a tool to submerge in the tub would be about 2 to 2 1/2 inches. A lot of things you might want to dunk would exceed that.

Just my opinion.

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

View BigTiny's profile


1716 posts in 4006 days

#2 posted 03-25-2011 08:46 PM

I almost forgot, nice idea. Very useful, inexpensive, easy to build, compact and easy to store between uses. What more could you ask? Great thinking, guy!

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

View Dwain's profile


622 posts in 4977 days

#3 posted 03-25-2011 08:47 PM

I agree with the big oxymoron (big tiny). I would also think of using something more substantial that just a shopping bag. I would call for the thickest plastic you can by at HD or Lowes. Other than that, nice idea. as an extention, you could attach some metal if you used this as an electrolysis bucket. I just don’t know the wood would be negatively affected by the process.

-- When you earnestly believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling your efforts, there is no end to what you CAN'T do

View chad140's profile


8 posts in 4474 days

#4 posted 03-25-2011 09:00 PM

I have found that a wall paper dip tray works perfect for soaking planes in evaporust.

View TomFromMiami's profile


10 posts in 3756 days

#5 posted 03-25-2011 09:27 PM

I couldn’t find a wallpaper dip tray so I had to improvise a bit after I picked up a VERY rusty Stanley #8. Since I also do picture framing, I have plenty of 3/16” foam core lying around. I took a couple of scrap pieces and built a simple tub (joining the foam core with hot-melt glue) large enough to hold the plane (the base is 24” long!). Then I lined it with a heavy duty trash bag (I didn’t open the bag – just left it flat).

After I got the rust off of the bottom of the base, I tilted the plane on to each of it’s sides, in turn, for a while to get the rust off of the sides. That way, I didn’t have to fill the tub higher than about 1/2” (The Evapo-Rust is a bit pricey).

One other tip: To make sure that the solution actually contacts the base of the plane, put something under it to prop it up. I used a couple of washers I had lying around.

Final thought: One could probably do the same thing with ordinary cardboard as long as it’s thick enough.

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 4846 days

#6 posted 03-25-2011 10:40 PM

I did the leveling bars on my jointer with evaporust. I used a similar setup as you, but just put the 2×4’s on the garage floor and used hefty trash bags to line the space. I don’t know if building anything is really necessary although if you include a way to drain the leftover (and still useable) liquid, that might be an advantage over trying to gather up the bag and pour it back into the jug with a funnel.

I’d also use thicker plastic next time as some pin holes resulted in slow leaks over the course of the night. the pin holes happened just from gently putting the parts in. I even used a double layer.

View Brett's profile


684 posts in 3800 days

#7 posted 03-25-2011 10:41 PM

Thanks for the feedback, everyone.

chad140, is a wallpaper dip tray long enough to contain a 22-inch jointer plane?

-- More tools, fewer machines.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27249 posts in 4940 days

#8 posted 03-25-2011 11:49 PM

SmilenNod, this looks like a good idea. I have been considering something similar to this for some hand saws that I am planning to work on. As Big Tiny said, a 2×4 would work for the hand saws since they are so thin but for a plane I would opt for a 2×6.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View chrisstef's profile


18133 posts in 4124 days

#9 posted 08-04-2011 02:52 AM

Ive done somthing similar to this to soak saw blades and used 2 layers of 6 mil poly which worked really well. Maybe caulk the seams?

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

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