Vintage Tool Rehab Projects #27: The elusive #5 ½ T11 finally finds a home

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Brad posted 10-12-2014 04:02 PM 1681 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 26: New Life for a Harvey Peace No 45 Panel Saw Part 27 of Vintage Tool Rehab Projects series Part 28: The elusive #5 ½ T11 finally finds a home-Part 2 »

One snowy day, I found this while rummaging around a used tool store in downtown Denver.

I was so gold-fever blinded by my desire to fill the #5 ½ hole in my collection, that I overlooked the fact that it had lived a hard life. And the fact that it wasn’t a Type 11, my chosen user collection “model.”

The cold must have dulled my senses too, because when I got it home, I found this.

Cracks don’t work for me. So the plane went back. The owner’s “we only give in store credit” policy didn’t work for me either. So I’ll never do business with them again. You can keep your credit and I’ll chalk up the lost money to an expensive lesson of what happens when you don’t give a plane a really careful review.

Stanley #5 ½, take two
A year later, I had a flashback when I came across this #5 ½ in a flea market.

Is it a type 11?

Well yes. Parts all there? Yup. Everything adjusts as it should? You bet. Any cracks or other damage? Well, the tote was cracked clean through and it was missing its beaver tail. But I can work with that. And the price was reasonable.

Under the blaring lights of my shop, it was clear that this plane was a lot rustier and dirtier than I had thought.

The chipbreaker, though, was properly set for a jackplane.

However, the iron was sloppily cambered and showed many nicks. The plane clearly hadn’t touched wood in, possibly, decades.

After a serious de-rusting, cleaning and oiling, her inner beauty began to emerge.

That’s a spare, late-model tote you see in the pictures. It was on there so that I could tune it before turning my attention to repairing/restoring the original tote.

I sharpened the iron and put a mild camber to the edge. Then spent five minutes lapping the sole. Now normally, I wouldn’t bother doing that on a course-cutting plane like this. The need for flatness is not as stringent as it is for a smoother or jointer. However, I wanted to make sure that the sole didn’t have any twist. And the sanding scratch marks confirmed that all was good.

So too did test passes in some pine.

In the next post, I’ll detail three common repairs that I did to the ravaged tote.


© 2014, Brad Chittim, all rights reserved.

-- "People's lives are their own rewards or punishments."

3 comments so far

View Brit's profile


8457 posts in 4125 days

#1 posted 10-12-2014 10:08 PM

Great save Brad! Nice to hear the till is filling up. How many spaces do you have left now?

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View Don W's profile

Don W

20241 posts in 3850 days

#2 posted 10-12-2014 10:09 PM


-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Brad's profile


1147 posts in 4022 days

#3 posted 10-13-2014 12:08 AM

Andy, this acquisition officially completed my user set of T11s. In this case I define “user” to mean what I would actually use. That means that I can live a happy life without a #1 nor a #2. I also am not caught up in the smooth-bottom, corrugated-bottom distinction—I have some of each. But as a practical matter, I am good to go for my bench planes having: #3, #4, #4 1/2, #5 (three), #5 1/2, #6, #7 & #8.

As for other planes, I’m coveting a smaller block plane, like the 60 1/2, but will probably either buy new or build my own using a stock Stanley blade. I would also be interested in picking up the Veritas router plane to advance my cause to have new joinery planes. Already have the Veritas rabbet and plough planes. My covetous eye is also falling upon the Lie-Neilsen #7. A girl can dream can’t she?

And you Andy? Where do you stand?

-- "People's lives are their own rewards or punishments."

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics