Best sandpaper to use for flattening plane sole that needs a good flattening?

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Forum topic by SMP posted 09-18-2018 05:41 PM 3613 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2482 posts in 759 days

09-18-2018 05:41 PM

I am starting to get back to hand tools, and have an old Buck Brothers jack plane I bought at Home Depot maybe 25 years ago. I am trying to tune it up and noticed the sole is nowhere near close to flat. I tried using regular sandpapaper 100 grit, and the sandpaper seems to get flat pretty quickly or junked up with dust. I went back to home depot and looked around at the sandpaper and noticed they had emory cloth which specifies for metal. I tried that too but it seems to also get filled with metal dust and quits doing its job. I have maybe 30-60 minutes of doing this and seems like only a few minutes of actual progress and the rest wasting time on sandpaper that is too filled with dust to be effective. Is there a better kind of paper for metal that is really out of flat? I saw some “better” purple sandpaper at Home Depot. I thought maybe wet dry would be good but can’t seem to find any finer than 220. Any other options? I have amazon prime.

13 replies so far

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16905 posts in 3472 days

#1 posted 09-18-2018 06:04 PM

My suggestion for that Buck Bros:

If you are getting back into hand tools, don’t do this to yourself. It’s not worth your time, when vintage Stanley jacks are out there for less than what you’ll invest in sandpaper and time to get a crappy tool. Rosewood and brass await, go out and grab some. Regret it you will not.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

View HokieKen's profile


15072 posts in 1992 days

#2 posted 09-18-2018 06:14 PM

Get a sanding belt and cut it. It’s generally longer lasting and better bonded I think because it’s intended to work at high speed. Stop every few minutes and blow it out with an air gun or take a strong magnet and “sweep” it to remove the metal swarf so it doesn’t clog the abrasive. Once you get it close to flat, then switch to the wet/dry 220 and keep it lubed with WD-40 or similar. Progress through fine grits as desired.

For the record, I agree with Smitty that you’re spending too much time on the HD Buck Brothers plane. But, even if you did toss it and bought a vintage plane, there’s still a good chance you’ll need to flatten the sole a bit.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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2482 posts in 759 days

#3 posted 09-18-2018 06:26 PM

Thanks for the replies!

Yeah I am on the lookout for an old Stanley #5. It seems here that people snatch them up quickly on Craigslist to sell for a profit on Ebay. I went to an estate sale last week that had a lot of hand tools, but he wanted $125 for a post WW2 #5 in the box. I did pick up and old #19 block plane to replace my buck bros block plane for $20, but needs a new iron. But I will keep checking Craigslist for a #5 until I find a good one, but until then thought this old Buck Bros might be salvageable and then possibly turn into a scrub plane? I did manage to get the iron razor sharp, but I agree its junk as far as adjusting and staying in tune.

Good idea on the sanding belts! Now that you mention it I think I have some Norton 3” belts for my currently broken belt sander (belt slides off track after 20-30 seconds, adjust screw stripped). I’ll have to check my shelves when I get home.

View Charlie H.'s profile

Charlie H.

405 posts in 1504 days

#4 posted 09-18-2018 09:36 PM

When I flattened a Stanley block plane I gave up doing it manually and used the belt sander.

-- Regards, Charlie in Rowlett, TX --------I talk to myself, because sometimes I need expert advice.---------

View TheFridge's profile


10861 posts in 2340 days

#5 posted 09-19-2018 12:00 AM

I have some refurbished planes for sale if interested. They’re just collecting dust. I have 2- 5’s and a 4. All Stanley.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View corelz125's profile


1543 posts in 1830 days

#6 posted 09-19-2018 12:30 AM

you can find a sargent pretty cheap compared to the stanleys

View bandit571's profile (online now)


26519 posts in 3537 days

#7 posted 09-19-2018 12:37 AM

Walk into Harbor Freight..usually just past the checkouts…and pick up a few packs of RED sanding belts… can get a few different grits….5 packs, 80 would be a start, then the 120. Then turn around, walk to the checkout counter and then go home.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View fuigb's profile


583 posts in 3812 days

#8 posted 09-19-2018 01:13 AM

I’ve never tried HF abrasives because reliable friends have reported poor results.

Just tonight (until it got dark and damn mosquitos got thick) I started flattening a Bailey #7 on a piece of granite. I always start with 100 grit sheets from 3M, but have an 80 grit sanding belt cut and laid flat on a jointer table when I’ve had really stubborn problems.

My trick for lifting the metal filings off of the paper is to use a HF strip magnet that is still in its plastic package. These magnets attach to walls for tool storage. The beauty of leaving it in the package is that by shifting the position of the magnet in its little plastic coffin it’s holding power on the filings is reduced to a point where a rag can just brush them off

-- - Crud. Go tell your mother that I need a Band-aid.

View TheFridge's profile


10861 posts in 2340 days

#9 posted 09-19-2018 01:52 AM

Wd40 then a magnet. Works like a champ.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Andre's profile


3701 posts in 2660 days

#10 posted 09-19-2018 02:16 AM

I bought a roll of self adhesive 180 grit sandpaper from a auto body supply store, stick on any flat surface.

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View Sarpysawdustman's profile


1 post in 601 days

#11 posted 02-03-2019 03:42 PM

Fridge, Im new tot this page and cant message you directly. Saw you are offering some Stanley planes for sale. Would you message me?

View MrRon's profile


5934 posts in 4097 days

#12 posted 02-03-2019 07:40 PM

Auto parts stores should have “wet or dry” paper in all grits from 80 to 600. Start with the 80 and work up to a finer grit. Place it on a flat surface and Use WD40. A thick piece of plate glass or a saw table top will have a flat surface.

View KYtoolsmith's profile


174 posts in 714 days

#13 posted 02-03-2019 11:56 PM

+1 on all above. I use automotive wet/dry Emory paper in 100, 150, and 220 grit. Place a sheet on my surface plate and flood it with WD-40. Keeping it constantly wet prevents clogging. I buy WD-40 in the gallon tin cans, never in spray cans… Cheaper that way considering how much I go through a year! I just refill my plastic trigger spray bottle as needed. Yes, Stanley’s can be hard to find in some parts of the country… And flea bay has gotten out of hand on prices… I refurbish old tools as a hobby, primarily Stanley’s Bailey pattern planes. I sometimes clean the shop and sell off my “extras”... All user grade… Got a few Bailey’s that need a good home right now… 3s, 4s, a 5, a 5 1/2… And a 7. Plus I have a bunch of repair parts; totes, front knobs, frogs, original irons, lever caps and other bits n pieces. PM me if you need something particular.
Regards, The Kentucky Toolsmith!

-- "Good enough" is just another way of saying "it could be better"...

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