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Plane Restoration #2: Marsh M5 (Day 02)

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Blog entry by sansoo22 posted 08-07-2020 04:43 AM 351 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Marsh M5 (Day 01) Part 2 of Plane Restoration series Part 3: Marsh M5 (Day 03) »

Back at the Marsh for the second day of its rehabilitation back to a worthwhile member of the plane society. Let’s start with a quick overview of my most commonly used tools which I forgot to put in the Day 1 entry.


The old Stanely Hurwood No 51 is the perfect fit for the bass nuts on the handle rods, the Husky 1/4 screw driver is a perfect fit for all other hardware. And finally a couple picks for gunk in the slotted screws or getting the corners of a plane body you stripped down.

I’m going to follow the same step 1 thru X format as I did previously. Basically just chronicling my work as I did it in each step for the day. Warning – Day two covers a lot of steps

Step 1: Fix the handles
In the last entry we did a super glue fill of a big chip in the tote. So today we need to sand that down, refill it, and set it aside so it can dry while we work on other plane parts.

Here we are dried, sanded, and then refilled.

You can see how it shrinks and looks pretty ugly. I sanded with 120 grit since we will be filling again. I didn’t want it to smooth as I was afraid it might lose adhesion. We will find out in another day if that was a bad idea or not

Step 3: Clean your parts It’s a recurring theme with this line of work.
This step is pretty straight forward. For most planes you can simply remove them from the Evaporust bath then clean with soap, water, and a soft nylon brush. I have a bathroom in my garage shop which I can clean small parts and 3 or 4 size bodies. A number 5 or larger has to go to the kitchen. So be courteous to your wife/girflriend/husband/partner and keep a Mr Clean eraser and some Bar Keepers Friend at the sink. Wipe that bad boy down when youre done


Notice anything strange? Ya the plane body and frog are nearly at bare metal. That can happen if rust gets underneath the old finish. The rust bath will eat that away and the finish just comes right off. This is one of those catch 22 deals. On one hand its less work for us but on the other a butt load of black finish is now in your Evaporust depleting its effectiveness. A cheese cloth and strainer can help with that and I will cover it in the next entry.

Step 4: Clean your parts…AGAIN! Told you it was a theme
After the soap and water I like to use degreaser, followed by brake parts cleaner because it evaporates quickly. I follow up the brake parts cleaner with some CRC 3-36 for anything that I don’t want to rust on me. So pretty much every surface except for the parts of the frog and body that used to be black.

Step 5: Strip your parts Damn it…put your pants back on
Not much to cover here. I use KleanStrip, a disposable brush and container, some gloves, and a tub you dont mind if it smells like butt hole cancer.

Pour some stripper into your container and paint it on. Try to avoid surfaces that will be not painted later but its not a big deal if you get some on there. We will most likely rust bath these again anyway. I like to keep some blue towels underneath so the chemicals don’t try to eat the plastic.

I like to have a pretty thick layer on everything. Kind of like it was just covered in slime. Then put the lid on your butt hole smelling tub and leave it be. I find that slowing the drying process lets the stripper work a bit longer. This plane will only take a single coat but a more difficult bastard can take a couple coats of stripper.

Step 5: Inspect your parts
Yes we went over this yesterday but after the rust and grime is removed somethings we didn’t see may become apparent now. Here are a couple of examples.

First we have a chip in the lever cap. Its too deep to grind it back and reshape the leading edge. If it was 1/16th of an inch or smaller I would grind it back but this will just have to be left alone.

Next we have a pretty significant issue with the chip breaker. Some clown who owned it previously ground it back so the leading edge is flat. Like a small cliff that shavings will run face first into.

Oh and they didn’t even grind it square

Final issue is a small bend in one tab of the frog depth adjustment fork…i dont actually know what its called but it sits behind the frog on a depth adjuster. If its not flat it can cause us to have issues getting the frog to seat correctly. A lateral adjuster can only do so much so we need to fix that too.

Step 6: Fix your parts
We will start with the smallest one first. If you don’t have at least a small metal working vise with an anvil you should get one. So to fix the frog fork thingy its really simple. Put it on your vises anvil, get the biggest ball peen hammer you have and smack it! There are more elegant ways to handle this for sure but a good solid flat whack or two and we get it flat.

Now onto the chip breaker. First thing first we need to have some metal files and load this thing into the vise. I started with a bastard file and worked my way down a couple different sizes. I can’t really take pics of that because you need two hands and a third to photograph. Best way I can explain it is keep the file level. Bring it down until it touch the high corner and take a stroke. Keep doing this until you are squared up. The black line you saw in the previous step 5 is a visual indicator of when to stop filing. But ALWAYS check with a square as well.

Now that we are square the hard part starts. We just made our cliff face even taller and need to reshape the leading edge. I started with a small metal file. Positioned it against the curved part of the chip breaker and stroked upwards in a slight curve. This did most of the work and I used my surface plate and some 60 grit paper to finish shaping.

The chip breaker is flexible so a finger placement is key to keeping it square as you shape it. I prefer to place my fingers inside the edges but not too close to the center.

Then all you do is pull back and rock your wrist up at the same time. The end of the stroke should look something like this.

Check the edge every few strokes to make sure you are getting even pressure. If one corner is shaping faster than the other adjust your fingers to the high side to even it back out.

When completed the front should be nice and rounded over with a crisp clean edge. On the left we have a Stanley and on the right is the newly repaired Marsh chip breaker.

Once you have the front profile done there will be a pretty nasty burr on the bottom side. We need to remove that and put a slight flat spot on the underside so it registers with iron. I like to get a diamond stone and set it on my bench letting the tail of the breaker ride the bench.


We do this because the breaker will flex when tightened down to the iron. We want a slight angle when its un-flexed so it will be nice and flat when flexed and tight.

Use three fingers, both sides and center, and work the breaker back and forth. When finished you should have a nice 1/16” to 3/32” flat spot on the bottom side.

Step 7: Deburr your hardware
Some planes are worse than others. I’ve had to replace hardware on some entirely while others were handled with gentle loving hands. The Marsh was handled by big monkey paws and most of the slotted screws are dinged up.

I prefer to do this part by hand on some 220 or 320 grit sand paper. The best method I have found is to get some sort of mat to put your sand paper on. Much of the old hardware is rounded tops and the mat will prevent you from sanding flat spots on the tops.

Here I’m just using my big Milwaukee mat I put on my bench when working on planes. Its just a thick toolbox mat at about 3/16” thick. Be sure to sand in the direction of the slot in the hardware and rock your wrist back and forth. Check it frequently to make sure you aren’t sanding any flat spots. It takes a little practice but the mat is one heck of a good insurance policy.

When done they look something like this.

We aren’t striving for perfection on this plane as you can see some of the hardware is pitted. If they were still in good condition I would sand them longer.

For the threads I just use a solid brass brush in my cordless. I will eventually upgrade to one in my 8” grinder but this works well for now.

Step 8: Buff your hardware
First and foremost when working with small parts and a high speed buffer where safety glasses at the very minimum. Preferably you have a full face shield. If one of those little screws slips your grip they shoot off like a missile.

Here is one of the brass nuts deburred next to one that is polished. Less than a minute with some jewelers rouge makes a world of difference.

And the last pic of the day is most of the hardware all buffed and ready to be oiled down before putting it back in our tub to be kept safe

Sorry for the long post on this one. There was a lot to cover. Fixing the chip breaker takes a bit of effort. They may not seem like important parts but a nice smooth well fitting breaker is a key component to top performing plane. In the next entry we will strip down the body and lap it flat as well as get some finish on the handles.



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