Plane Restoration #3: Marsh M5 (Day 03)

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Blog entry by sansoo22 posted 08-08-2020 02:16 AM 816 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Marsh M5 (Day 02) Part 3 of Plane Restoration series Part 4: Marsh M5 (Day 04) »

No review to go over today so let’s get to it.

Step 1: Finish sanding the tote
If you’ve been following along we left the tote with another coat of super glue and a question as to whether 120 was to coarse to sand the first fill coat. Well it was and here is the result after sanding the second fill coat down and the whole tote to 400 grit.

You can see some white specs in the fill. I think that is from the previous layer being to rough. Hopefully it kind of blends in once the finish coat is on. If not its still quite a bit better than a big chip

Step 2: Put on some finish
I used to have a lengthy finish process here that involved danish oil, shellac seal coat, and finally some lacquer. That makes the finish look very authentic but is a serious PITA. Now I use gloss wipe on poly for a few coats and then a spray gloss poly.

Here is my setup. A board with some dowels cut at an angle to hold the handles, my poly, a disposable container, and some gloves. I like to pour the poly into a small container and apply it with just an ordinary blue shop towel.

Don’t be surprised if the first coat gets kind of blotchy. Since we cleaned the handle with denatured alcohol they can be rather dry. The handles may just drink up the first coat. No big deal. Don’t try to re-work or anything like that. Just apply it and if it disappears into the wood leave it be. It’s easy to add more coats but difficult to fix a bad coat. Now set that off somewhere away from dust and humidity to dry.

Step 3: Clean your parts This step is getting old
Seriously if you want to be good at restoration work the details is all in the prep. Here is somewhat how your frog, yoke, and body should look after removed from the stinky butt hole tub where they stripper was applied

They will probably have some rust and some slime still on them so first thing we want to do is wash them with soap and water. If you notice black junk coming off easy feel free to use a wire brush while cleaning in the sink or bucket.

You may also notice an assortment of wire brushes that can be loaded in a cordless. These do the bulk of the work getting us to bare metal. I like to clamp the body and frog in my bench vise. Be VERY careful how you do this. You want the meatiest part of the cast iron in the vise and you only need enough pressure to keep it from falling or moving.

In the image above you can see I’m not clamping down on the ears. You want all the pressure along the strongest part which is where the bed and sides meet. You still need to be very careful not to over torque the vise or you risk cracking a side at the mouth.

All that you need to do next is go to town with your wire brushes, picks, hand brush, and maybe some WD-40. After you think its clean rinse it with some soap and water. It should look something like this

We aren’t 100% to bare metal but we picked up some rust so back into the evaporust it goes overnight. So to be continued on that part.

Step 4: Shine your parts No not polish your knob…I said shine your parts
Tonight I started with the breaker that was rehabbed yesterday and the lever cap. I start with 200, then 400, and finally 800 grit paper. I will drop to 100 grit but that’s kind of a judgement call in regards to depth of pitting.

Here is the lever cap after a once over with 200. In this case I will drop to 100 to reduce some of the pitting

If you drop to 100 then make sure to do 200 again before going up. Here is the lever cap all finished at 400(top) compared to an un-restored M5 lever cap in very good condition. I think its a pretty good match.

Now we need to check the bottom of the lever cap to make sure its shaped properly to make good contact with the iron and breaker.

The M5 we are working on is on the left and the good cap is on the right. As you can see the one on the right has a nice flat registration surface. So we need to head to the surface plate and work on the first -1/2” to get a flat spot.

After a few minutes at 80 grit it looks pretty good.

Not to much to show on the chip breaker. Its sanded with 200, 400, and 800. I like to sand vertically because most breakers already have some steel grain lines running that direction. If pitting is rather deep like in the one we are working on you can use a brass bristle brush. This will get down into the pits and lift any gunk or metal dust out. Just be sure the brush is moving in the same direction you sanded or its going to look terrible.

Next up is the depth adjuster. I have seen plenty of ways to do this online but here is my method. Brasso and an assortment of brass bristle brushes. The smallest brush gets the inside, the normal brush gets the outside and bottom, and finally we go back with the cup brush to get a good polish.

This is the part many will disagree with me on. I use a metal working vise to hold the depth adjuster while i work on it. You don’t need much pressure to hold it at all. I have yet to get one marked by the vise jaws. So once you’ve slathered the whole thing in Brasso load it up in your vise. You may want a mask as Brasso has about 10% ammonia in it and smells terrible.

Once loaded in the vise go to town on the inside with a small brass brush. Let the brush and Brasso do all the work. This is why you don’t need much pressure. Once the inside has turned a greyish green ugly sludge color switch to the brass wheel brush and get the knurling. Flip the adjuster in the vise and get the bottom side. Again let the brush and brasso do the work for you.

Now that both sides are butt ugly wash all the gunk off with some water. It should have a dull sheen to it. All you need to do now is load it in your vise and hit it with the cup brush. That should put a very glossy finish it on it.

Step 5: Admire your hard work
We are three days into a this project so its time to admire some of our work. I like to put the iron, breaker, and lever cap together and see how they look all shined up. We worked hard on them so lets take a moment to enjoy that shine

Step 6: Filter the Evaporust (optional)
I said I would go over this so here it is. You need a strainer, a bucket, and a cheese clothe. The cheese clothes I use come from amazon and cost about $10 for 8 of them. I can cut each one in half so I get 16 filters for 10 bucks. I’m sure there are better solutions out there but this works for me.

Here is what it looks like

That’s all there is to it. The cheese clothe really isnt necessary but it saves the strainer from getting all gunked up. Your evaporust may still be dark like mine is but it will still last a few more planes before it needs replaced. Getting the bigger particles out keeps it from continuously acting on them and depleting its usefulness.

That’s a wrap for today. The next installment should be final metal prep, taping, and the first coat of paint.

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