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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Doing things the old fashioned way...#1

I should preface everything I am about to write by saying I am very new to woodworking and so I cannot be looked upon as anything but a beginner; I am no expert so don't think this is a blog from a pro!

A few months ago I embarked on a journey to build a workbench based on a design inspired by Christopher Schwarz's book "Workbenches." Specifially I am attempting to build his French-style Roubo bench. Long-story short, I found it difficult to joint and plane the very long boards needed to make the top. I am using Douglas Fir and unfortunately it is a very "bendy" wood which requires a good amount of jointing in order to have flat surfaces for the big glue-up. I have a good power jointer, but to get the little high spots I got inspired by comments posted by Dave Pearce to use hand planes to flatten everything up.

So I bought a number 4 and number 6 off ebay. The number 6 looks pretty old - the cap shows a 1918 production date although I can't be sure that the rest of the plane is from the same era…but I would not doubt it! I wound up paying about $40 for it. The number 4 was not a Stanley…it's apparently at "Firestone" although I thought that was an auto-parts company…the production date on that one says 1946. Either way, it looks and behaves alot like a Stanley and I read somewhere on a blog that it is suspected that Stanley actually built those planes for companies like Firestone who just put their logo on it. In any case I only paid $10 for it so it was a good deal!

Here's the Stanley Number 6 in "as-is" condition when it arrived:



Here is the front view:


And here is the sole:


It actually looks worse than it is. There was a lot of surface rust and darkened metal due to years of what I imagine is non-use. However, there are no cracks in the sole or anywhere else on the body of the plane. The frog is intact, no cracks, and the front and back handles were intact without any cracks. The top of the back handle is missing wood, which I believe was something done on occasion with older planes so that the adjustment screw could be tightened harder when the wood moved…but either way the handle is solid and there is no wiggle. All the parts were there so I just needed to clean it up…here we go!
 

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Doing things the old fashioned way...#1

I should preface everything I am about to write by saying I am very new to woodworking and so I cannot be looked upon as anything but a beginner; I am no expert so don't think this is a blog from a pro!

A few months ago I embarked on a journey to build a workbench based on a design inspired by Christopher Schwarz's book "Workbenches." Specifially I am attempting to build his French-style Roubo bench. Long-story short, I found it difficult to joint and plane the very long boards needed to make the top. I am using Douglas Fir and unfortunately it is a very "bendy" wood which requires a good amount of jointing in order to have flat surfaces for the big glue-up. I have a good power jointer, but to get the little high spots I got inspired by comments posted by Dave Pearce to use hand planes to flatten everything up.

So I bought a number 4 and number 6 off ebay. The number 6 looks pretty old - the cap shows a 1918 production date although I can't be sure that the rest of the plane is from the same era…but I would not doubt it! I wound up paying about $40 for it. The number 4 was not a Stanley…it's apparently at "Firestone" although I thought that was an auto-parts company…the production date on that one says 1946. Either way, it looks and behaves alot like a Stanley and I read somewhere on a blog that it is suspected that Stanley actually built those planes for companies like Firestone who just put their logo on it. In any case I only paid $10 for it so it was a good deal!

Here's the Stanley Number 6 in "as-is" condition when it arrived:



Here is the front view:


And here is the sole:


It actually looks worse than it is. There was a lot of surface rust and darkened metal due to years of what I imagine is non-use. However, there are no cracks in the sole or anywhere else on the body of the plane. The frog is intact, no cracks, and the front and back handles were intact without any cracks. The top of the back handle is missing wood, which I believe was something done on occasion with older planes so that the adjustment screw could be tightened harder when the wood moved…but either way the handle is solid and there is no wiggle. All the parts were there so I just needed to clean it up…here we go!
It looks like it should clean up nicely.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Doing things the old fashioned way...#2

The first thing that I did is setup a griding/honing station. I say grinding because when you are taking on a plane sole that is essentially what you are doing. I don't have an 18" long belt sander, so this is the only way I could think of doing it.



I found an ad in my local Craigslist listing for a guy who was selling his over-stocked granite tiles. They are 24" long, 12" wide and 3/8" thick. Most sharpening enthusiasts would say that this is too thin, but it worked for me. I don't have float-glass handy so this is the flattest surface I could muster. Besides, at $3 per tile, I purchased enough for this little project and my eventual "scary sharp" station. I used Elmer's spray adhesive to keep the sandpaper in place. Worked very well. Just have a bottle of mineral spirits handy for when you need to replace the sand paper….otherwise you'll waste a lof time getting the paper off again. Some people have said they use water as a natural adhesive…I think I'll explore that next time.

Here's a tip for anyone who ever plans on doing this as a rookie like me. Skip straight to the 60 grit paper for initial rough-grinding. Don't bother with 100 or higher. It just clogs up and gets ground down to nothing in seconds. I learned that the hard way. I did the number 4 first and it took me FOREVER. For the bigger number 6, I went to the Home Depot and picked up a roll of Norton's 60 grit abrassive paper and that worked like a dream. Stayed rough longer and ground off way more metal.

Here's another tip: don't use abrassive sleeves. I originally purchased a sanding sleeve for a power belt sander, cut it in half, and tried to glue it to the granite tiles using spray adhesive. I had to weigh it down with lots of stuff and even then it didn't stay put for long. The backing is very strong so it resists staying straight. Use the paper roll from Norton…it glues down almost instantly.

Anyway I ground away at the bottom and sides of the sole for what was about an hour and a half. It was a long process, but the results were great. Here's what the sanding station looked like after:



Notice all the black stuff. That's little bits of grounded metal. Have a brush handy if you are going to do this…it's better than blowing it off…I also learned that the hard way! Those are three strips of 60 grit paper. I used up all of them!

Here are the results:


And here is a side view:


I have to say that I was very impressed with how things worked out. Some people use dry-erase markers to see when the entire side or sole is flat. In my case, since there was so much surface dirt and rust, that was not really necessary. I just kept sanding until I got a flat even surface. I dressed it up to 100 grit but stopped it there. Some go up to 220 grit, but I see no real need for that at this point.

I finished up by cleaning up the sole and sides with mineral spirits, wiped that off nicely and applied a paste wax. I used Minwax paste wax and it did a great job. Now on to the plane iron and chip breaker!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Doing things the old fashioned way...#3

Next I worked on the plane iron, chip breaker and cap. The cap was pretty easy- I just ground it flat on the 60 grit paper and dressed it up to 220. Nothing special, just got the surface rust and dirt off and got it to an even surface.

The chip breaker was a little confusing for me. There's not a lot of information on how to properly dress a chip breaker…I find that it's usually an after-thought in comparison to sharpening the plane iron. However, from what I understand if the chip breaker is not properly sitting on the plane iron the whole thing risks chatter, not cutting properly or just clogging up.

I wound up grinding off all the surface rust and dirt off the top but grinding in a curved motion. Then I just ground the bottom part flat, the part that meets with the plane iron. That actually seemed to work well. I read that you are supposed to put a 50 degree angle on it but I didn't find a way to do that properly.

The iron was in pretty bad shape. I don't think it could cut through warm butter.

Here is the back of the iron:


Here is the blade side:


I employed the "scary sharp" method to get everything honed. Basically I went to the local Canadian Tire and bought the 3M wet/dry paper from 220 all the way to 2000 grit. It's found in the automotive section in case anyone out there has problems locating the paper. I also employed a cheap honing jig that I bought at the Windsor Plywood for $8. It's your basic jig that holds the blade or chisel in place as you roll it over stones or abrassive paper.


I started by flattening the back of the iron on 60 grit, and moved all the way up to 220. I stopped there. I know that some go all the way up to 2000 on the back, but I figured that 220 was fine. It looked close to mirror finish.

For the bevel side, I simply continued all the way to 2000. It was pretty easy actually, and I didn't spend much more than 30 seconds on each grit. I spend the longest on the initial lower grits to get the right angle ground, but after that it was pretty easy.

Here are the results:


I have to repeat at this point that I am nowhere near experienced. This was in fact the first time I had ever sharpened anything in my life. I can tell you however that it was not difficult. I was able to shave the hairs off the back of my hand and take the top layer off my thumbnail. This was a lot of fun!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Doing things the old fashioned way...#4 (Results)

With everything ready to go, I decided to try my hand at my Douglas Fir boards that need to be glued up. Again, I have never in my life held a plane let alone used one…so this was fun!

I actually learned pretty easily. The fact that my blade was ridiculously sharp helped alot. After adjusting the lateral and depth gauges, it was actually not difficult at all. Here is my first board:



Here's a close-up. You can't really tell, but the surface is like glass!


Shavings:


How thin were the shavings? I have no idea. I don't have a digital caliper or micrometer…whatever is necessary to measure these thinner-than-paper shavings…but they are thin:


In about 10 minutes, I was able to give my boards the slight planing adjustments they needed for the top to be glued up properly. I have to say that I was stunned at how relatively easy this was considering how much I had heard that hand-planing is a very difficult thing to do. It certainly involves a lot of work…my arms got a good workout, but it wasn't nearly as difficult as I had imagined.

So there you have it. In my short time doing woodworking, this has been by far the most rewarding thing that I have done. It feels great to be able to take some old tools and make them workable again. I can't wait to go use these babies soon again. Having no experience doing this, and learning everything from library books, youtube videos and internet blogs, I can honestly say that if I can do this anyone can!
 

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Doing things the old fashioned way...#4 (Results)

With everything ready to go, I decided to try my hand at my Douglas Fir boards that need to be glued up. Again, I have never in my life held a plane let alone used one…so this was fun!

I actually learned pretty easily. The fact that my blade was ridiculously sharp helped alot. After adjusting the lateral and depth gauges, it was actually not difficult at all. Here is my first board:



Here's a close-up. You can't really tell, but the surface is like glass!


Shavings:


How thin were the shavings? I have no idea. I don't have a digital caliper or micrometer…whatever is necessary to measure these thinner-than-paper shavings…but they are thin:


In about 10 minutes, I was able to give my boards the slight planing adjustments they needed for the top to be glued up properly. I have to say that I was stunned at how relatively easy this was considering how much I had heard that hand-planing is a very difficult thing to do. It certainly involves a lot of work…my arms got a good workout, but it wasn't nearly as difficult as I had imagined.

So there you have it. In my short time doing woodworking, this has been by far the most rewarding thing that I have done. It feels great to be able to take some old tools and make them workable again. I can't wait to go use these babies soon again. Having no experience doing this, and learning everything from library books, youtube videos and internet blogs, I can honestly say that if I can do this anyone can!
I think that the difficulty factor has come from people trying to use lower cost modern planes such as a buck or stanley you would get at Home Depot or Lowes.

Looks like your well down the slippery slope.
 

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Doing things the old fashioned way...#4 (Results)

With everything ready to go, I decided to try my hand at my Douglas Fir boards that need to be glued up. Again, I have never in my life held a plane let alone used one…so this was fun!

I actually learned pretty easily. The fact that my blade was ridiculously sharp helped alot. After adjusting the lateral and depth gauges, it was actually not difficult at all. Here is my first board:



Here's a close-up. You can't really tell, but the surface is like glass!


Shavings:


How thin were the shavings? I have no idea. I don't have a digital caliper or micrometer…whatever is necessary to measure these thinner-than-paper shavings…but they are thin:


In about 10 minutes, I was able to give my boards the slight planing adjustments they needed for the top to be glued up properly. I have to say that I was stunned at how relatively easy this was considering how much I had heard that hand-planing is a very difficult thing to do. It certainly involves a lot of work…my arms got a good workout, but it wasn't nearly as difficult as I had imagined.

So there you have it. In my short time doing woodworking, this has been by far the most rewarding thing that I have done. It feels great to be able to take some old tools and make them workable again. I can't wait to go use these babies soon again. Having no experience doing this, and learning everything from library books, youtube videos and internet blogs, I can honestly say that if I can do this anyone can!
From this point and on you will not be able to stop trying to restore more and more planes….. I did happened to me too…..
Those are some nice shavings… good job
 

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Doing things the old fashioned way...#4 (Results)

With everything ready to go, I decided to try my hand at my Douglas Fir boards that need to be glued up. Again, I have never in my life held a plane let alone used one…so this was fun!

I actually learned pretty easily. The fact that my blade was ridiculously sharp helped alot. After adjusting the lateral and depth gauges, it was actually not difficult at all. Here is my first board:



Here's a close-up. You can't really tell, but the surface is like glass!


Shavings:


How thin were the shavings? I have no idea. I don't have a digital caliper or micrometer…whatever is necessary to measure these thinner-than-paper shavings…but they are thin:


In about 10 minutes, I was able to give my boards the slight planing adjustments they needed for the top to be glued up properly. I have to say that I was stunned at how relatively easy this was considering how much I had heard that hand-planing is a very difficult thing to do. It certainly involves a lot of work…my arms got a good workout, but it wasn't nearly as difficult as I had imagined.

So there you have it. In my short time doing woodworking, this has been by far the most rewarding thing that I have done. It feels great to be able to take some old tools and make them workable again. I can't wait to go use these babies soon again. Having no experience doing this, and learning everything from library books, youtube videos and internet blogs, I can honestly say that if I can do this anyone can!
Alonso, how is your plane sale coming?
 

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Doing things the old fashioned way...#4 (Results)

With everything ready to go, I decided to try my hand at my Douglas Fir boards that need to be glued up. Again, I have never in my life held a plane let alone used one…so this was fun!

I actually learned pretty easily. The fact that my blade was ridiculously sharp helped alot. After adjusting the lateral and depth gauges, it was actually not difficult at all. Here is my first board:



Here's a close-up. You can't really tell, but the surface is like glass!


Shavings:


How thin were the shavings? I have no idea. I don't have a digital caliper or micrometer…whatever is necessary to measure these thinner-than-paper shavings…but they are thin:


In about 10 minutes, I was able to give my boards the slight planing adjustments they needed for the top to be glued up properly. I have to say that I was stunned at how relatively easy this was considering how much I had heard that hand-planing is a very difficult thing to do. It certainly involves a lot of work…my arms got a good workout, but it wasn't nearly as difficult as I had imagined.

So there you have it. In my short time doing woodworking, this has been by far the most rewarding thing that I have done. It feels great to be able to take some old tools and make them workable again. I can't wait to go use these babies soon again. Having no experience doing this, and learning everything from library books, youtube videos and internet blogs, I can honestly say that if I can do this anyone can!
4 bids and 96 watchers….. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed
 

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Doing things the old fashioned way...#4 (Results)

With everything ready to go, I decided to try my hand at my Douglas Fir boards that need to be glued up. Again, I have never in my life held a plane let alone used one…so this was fun!

I actually learned pretty easily. The fact that my blade was ridiculously sharp helped alot. After adjusting the lateral and depth gauges, it was actually not difficult at all. Here is my first board:



Here's a close-up. You can't really tell, but the surface is like glass!


Shavings:


How thin were the shavings? I have no idea. I don't have a digital caliper or micrometer…whatever is necessary to measure these thinner-than-paper shavings…but they are thin:


In about 10 minutes, I was able to give my boards the slight planing adjustments they needed for the top to be glued up properly. I have to say that I was stunned at how relatively easy this was considering how much I had heard that hand-planing is a very difficult thing to do. It certainly involves a lot of work…my arms got a good workout, but it wasn't nearly as difficult as I had imagined.

So there you have it. In my short time doing woodworking, this has been by far the most rewarding thing that I have done. It feels great to be able to take some old tools and make them workable again. I can't wait to go use these babies soon again. Having no experience doing this, and learning everything from library books, youtube videos and internet blogs, I can honestly say that if I can do this anyone can!
Nice work! Like Alonso said you're hook up now….....but it's a good addiction…..........HUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM hand plane….lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Doing things the old fashioned way...#4 (Results)

With everything ready to go, I decided to try my hand at my Douglas Fir boards that need to be glued up. Again, I have never in my life held a plane let alone used one…so this was fun!

I actually learned pretty easily. The fact that my blade was ridiculously sharp helped alot. After adjusting the lateral and depth gauges, it was actually not difficult at all. Here is my first board:



Here's a close-up. You can't really tell, but the surface is like glass!


Shavings:


How thin were the shavings? I have no idea. I don't have a digital caliper or micrometer…whatever is necessary to measure these thinner-than-paper shavings…but they are thin:


In about 10 minutes, I was able to give my boards the slight planing adjustments they needed for the top to be glued up properly. I have to say that I was stunned at how relatively easy this was considering how much I had heard that hand-planing is a very difficult thing to do. It certainly involves a lot of work…my arms got a good workout, but it wasn't nearly as difficult as I had imagined.

So there you have it. In my short time doing woodworking, this has been by far the most rewarding thing that I have done. It feels great to be able to take some old tools and make them workable again. I can't wait to go use these babies soon again. Having no experience doing this, and learning everything from library books, youtube videos and internet blogs, I can honestly say that if I can do this anyone can!
Thanks for the kind words everyone! I had read that it's much better to restore an old pre WWII plane than it is to buy a cheap new one (Groz, Buck, etc.) I have never used any planes so I have no point of reference, but I can definitely say that fixing up an old plane is actually not that hard assuming all the parts are intact. You are all right though…I find myself with only two planes…I am already looking forward to picking up another… I have lots of room for more!
 
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