Pappaw's #26 (wooden Jack)

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Blog entry by kennethw posted 08-28-2009 03:49 AM 4127 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

While visiting family in Tennessee this week (hence the “pappaw”), I managed to rummage through my late grandfather’s very scary tool shed, which has been pretty much been locked up since he died around 13 years ago.

I found some ancient woodworking stuff, which is in pretty terrible condition. This includes a #26 jack plane (with a wooden sole) with some unique properties. I can’t quite date it because the info on the toe doesn’t appear to match anything I can find online (“stanley bailey NO 26” and patent dates I can’t make out), and the wooden parts seem to have been factory-coated with something like a red paint—if my grandfather had done it, it would have been very utilitarian. It seems to be from around 1890-1900, as it has bells and whistles that put it in that period. The japanning is pretty much all gone. The tote is cracked. Oddly, all of the finger-adjustable mechanisms work.

I’m seriously considering restoring this plane, by making a new body for it and cleaning up the iron parts as much as possible. I want to use it. It was already used so much that the sole had been lapped enough to wear down some of the incised information on the toe. It took me about an hour of checking from different angles under a magnifier to recognize that it’s a #26. The chipbreaker appears to be from a different plane, and my mother swears that there’s a smaller one around. I looked, hard. Maybe next time.

So here is a bad iPhone photo of it. It is accompanied by a few files and 2 chisels, both of which are quite rusty, but, serendipitously, fill gaps in my bench chisel collection. The big question is: wrap it up and let it continue to rot and die in plastic, or Frankenstein it and make it as nice as possible and put it back to work? I’m sure my grandfather would approve of the latter…

The plane in question...

10 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4384 days

#1 posted 08-28-2009 03:57 AM

You should definately go the restoration route. I have a couple of planes that belonged to my father that I did a nominal restoration on and also have a number of his hand tools that he used during his career as a carpenter. I can honestly say that I get a great deal of satisfaction every time I use any of the tools that he once held and used. I am sure you will get the same satisfaction from using your grandfather’s plane. Without a doubt your grandfather would have been proud to have you restoring and using his tools.

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

View a1Jim's profile


117786 posts in 4139 days

#2 posted 08-28-2009 03:59 AM

Restoration is the only way to fly.

View Innovator's profile


3589 posts in 3976 days

#3 posted 08-28-2009 06:16 AM

Get them working again as your grandfather would want.

-- Whether You Think You Can or You Think You Can't, YOU ARE RIGHT!!!

View kennethw's profile


50 posts in 3869 days

#4 posted 08-29-2009 08:55 AM

Thanks guys. :) I’m looking into electrolyzing all of that rust off… Maybe I can put my electronics knowledge to use and make a stable electrolyzing device. I found a very detailed description of the process, complete with a purpose-built power supply:

View Cantputjamontoast's profile


416 posts in 3995 days

#5 posted 08-29-2009 04:43 PM

Having “brought back to use” planes like this I would advise the use use of evaporust. It’s available from tractor supply and auto places. I have never tried the electrical way some folks have great sucess.

Use the proper sized screwdrivers to take it apart. I have had good luck with bit and brace screw drivers as they have tremendous power that can be used judicously.

I may even have a proper iron for that plane.

You may have to add wood to the sole bcause it sounds like the mouth is big because of the resurfacing on the bottom.

There are all kinds of recipes for japaning on the net.

I clean up the wood parts with Murphy’s soap and use boiled linseed oil to refinish.

The very least you could do it get her cleaned up and put tape over the iron and display it on a table in your house, then he would be with you every time you walked by.

Please keep us updated.

-- "Not skilled enough to wipe jam on toast!"

View kennethw's profile


50 posts in 3869 days

#6 posted 09-01-2009 01:51 AM

Thanks! I’ll let you know how it works out. :)

View Karson's profile


35209 posts in 4963 days

#7 posted 09-01-2009 03:24 AM

Good luck on the restoration. And congratulation on catching a piece of history.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View kennethw's profile


50 posts in 3869 days

#8 posted 09-06-2009 11:12 PM

Well, I have an electrolyzing system up and running now, testing it out on an ancient plastic-handled Stanley chisel. :) I’ll post pictures once I have some progress to report. Thanks again for the encouragement and the info everyone.

View Cantputjamontoast's profile


416 posts in 3995 days

#9 posted 09-09-2009 12:23 AM

what is the width of the iron for a transition #26?

-- "Not skilled enough to wipe jam on toast!"

View kennethw's profile


50 posts in 3869 days

#10 posted 09-09-2009 03:25 AM

2”, which is the same as my LN #62, but I haven’t checked the fit yet. I want to de-rust it first. So far so good on the chisels!

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