To Restore or Not

Stanley type 9 #4 smooth plane.

Stanley type 9 #4 smooth plane.

Recently I was reminded that there have been a lot of newcomers to woodworking and especially to hand  tools. My philosophy on tools is quite simple. Tools were made to be used. Before you get your feathers ruffled, I am not against tool collecting. It is just not for me. Tool collecting serves a useful purpose in that it preserves tools for the future. One of my main objectives for this blog is to show people how to preserve antique and vintage tools with the purpose of making them available for use to a new generation of woodworkers. And I emphasize USE.

The pic above shows my Stanley #4 smooth plane. This is the plane I use for all smoothing work in my woodshop. It was made in the very early 20th century. I completely restored this plane with no regard to its collector value. But I didn’t go into the restoration blind.

I am often asked “should I restore this tool?” That is a complex question with no simple answer. So here goes. It is my opinion that the owner of any item has the legal and moral right to do anything they choose to with said item. A person may feel that preserving a vintage or antique item in its original condition is a moral obligation, but it is not. If you choose to do this that is fine and dandy, but you are not obligated to do so. So if you choose to restore an antique tool that is nobody’s business but yours. Some antique tools can be worth hundreds even thousands of dollars. If you were to restore one of these tools its value would drop dramatically. Therefore, you would probably not want to restore such a valuable tool.

Before you decide whether or not to restore a tool do some research. There is a wealth of information online to help you determine the value of a tool. For Stanley planes you can start here. In general, with Stanley planes, the older, pre 1900, specimens are the most valuable. Once you have an idea of the value of your tool you can make an informed decision as to whether or not to restore it. The idea is to preserve a tool for another generations use. If you do that by a good cleanup, a complete restoration, or wash it and put it on a shelf with the rest of your collection matters not.

As always, thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a comment. Oh, I have a feeling I’m going to hear about this one :)

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Customers Plane More Info

A bronze Lie-Nielsen #4-1/2 with a holly knob and tote.

A bronze Lie-Nielsen #4-1/2 with a holly knob and tote.

I have found out that this beautiful plane was indeed engraved by Catherine C. Kennedy. A true artisan.

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A Customer’s Plane

A bronze Lie-Nielsen #4-1/2 with a holly knob and tote.

A bronze Lie-Nielsen #4-1/2 with a holly knob and tote.

A customer sent me this photo of his Lie-Nielsen bronze #4-1/2 smoothing plane I made the holly knob and tote for him. I don’t know who did the engraving. This plane is absolutely gorgeous.

As always, thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a comment.

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New Handle for a Turning Tool

The original style handle above the new handle below.

The original style handle above the new handle below.

I just finished re-handling a 1/4″ spindle gouge. It is like new even though I have had it for years. I never used it because I didn’t like the handle. It had the same handle as the skew chisel above it in the photo above. It was too long and an awkward shape. So I found a chunk of hickory and fashioned a new handle in a shape and length that I find comfortable. I finished it in a mix of oil and bees wax with a coat of hard wax over that and a good buffing on a wheel.

As always, thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a comment.

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Saw Sharpening Bench Part 5

Finishing the bench base.

Finishing the bench base.

With the milling and the joinery done I decided to  apply a finish to the parts before assembly. It is easier to do this now than after the base is assembled. I used a favorite home brew finish that I have been using for years. It is a mixture of bees wax, boiled linseed oil and mineral sprits. I slathered it on. Let is soak for a few minutes and wiped the excess off. Then buffed with a clean rag. WARNING!!! DISPOSE OF LINSEED OIL SOAKED RAGS AND PAPER TOWELS SAFELY. THEY CAN SELF COMBUST. HANG THEM OUTDOORS IN A SINGLE LAYER TO DRY. After drying over night the base was ready to assemble.

Assembling the bench base.

Assembling the bench base.

When the finish was dried on the base side assemblies I attached them to the long aprons and stretcher using 3/8″ hex head lag screws and washers through holes and counterbores that had been previously drilled, as can be seen in the pic above.

Here you can see the levelers that I used on the legs.

Here you can see the levelers that I used on the legs.

Level bench tops are something I insist upon.  I want to be able to set things down without having them roll off the top. To this end I installed a leveler in the bottom of each leg. As can be seen in the pic above. These consist of a rubber foot with a 3/8-16 threaded shank. This shank screws into a 3/8-16 t-nut that is installed in the bottom of each leg. There is a clearance hole for the shank of the foot and the foot is locked in position, after adjustment, with a locknut.

Drilling the blocks that will attach the top to the base.

Drilling the blocks that will attach the top to the base.

Hardwood blocks are used to attach the top to the base.

Hardwood blocks are used to attach the top to the base.

The benchtop is an old kitchen island top that I got for free out the dumpster at the woodshop. It was removed from a kitchen that was being remodeled. It is particle board covered with high pressure laminate. The price was right and it was a good size. I found the top and designed a base to fit it.

I used 6 hardwood blocks to attach the top to the base. Two in front and in back and one on each side. The pic above clearly shows how the blocks are attached. Two screws hold the blocks to the aprons and one screw into the top holds the top securely to the base.

The shelf attached to the bench.

The shelf attached to the bench.

Next the shelf supports were attached to the bench with 3 screws into the benchtop. Three screws hold the shelf securely in its dado. There is about 3″ of shelf support above the shelf to keep things from falling off of the shelf.

The shelf back being attached.

The shelf back being attached.

In the above pic you see the 1/4″ plywood shelf back attached with screws. This makes the shelf assembly very sturdy and, with the shelf supports, encloses the shelf on 3 sides preventing things from falling off.

Assembly of the bench completed.

Assembly of the bench completed.

Vise Mounting blocks installed.

Vise Mounting blocks installed.

Now it is time to make and install the saw vise mounting blocks. These blocks were designed to allow the vise jaws to just clear the edge of the top and rise above the top just enough to allow clearance for tooth filing.

The vise mounted to the blocks.

The vise mounted to the blocks.

The pic above shows the new saw vise securely attached to the bench. Time to bring it to its home and set the bench up for work.

Bench assembly and setup complete.

Bench assembly and setup complete.

With the saw bench assembly completed it was leveled and a task light installed. This bench was designed to place the saw tooth line at a comfortable height for me, seated in this chair. It is truly a purpose built bench.

As always, thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a comment.

 

 

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Chisel Restoration

Set of fine chisels ready for sharpening.

Set of fine chisels ready for sharpening.

Just finished this rare set of Anton Berg socket chisels. The original handles were removed and the steel de-rusted in my electrolysis tank. Then they were put through a process I call “brightening”. This is a light polish where no measureable amount of metal is removed. Then I made new handles, replicating the originals, from hickory. These chisel are ready for another generation of service.

As always, thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a comment.

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Hacksaw Restoratin

The MF saw as foung.

The MF saw as found.

I like straight handled hacksaws better than the modern pistol grips so whenever I find one it seems to follow me home. The Millers Falls #26 seen above came in a boxlot of tools that I bought at a local auction.

The first order of business was disassembling the saw.

The first order of business was disassembling the saw.

I disassembled the saw and examined all the parts. After determining that all the parts were in good condition except for some rust it was time for de-rusting. The small parts went into EvapoRust and the bigger parts went into the electrolysis tank.

After the de-rusting process all the metal parts were cleaned up on a non-woven abrasive wheel. Most of the nickel plating on the frame was long gone. Having it re-plated was not an option because of the expense.  If I had a dozen frames then nickel plating would have been cost effective. A high quality metallic silver paint was used instead.

Turning a new handle on the lathe.

Turning a new handle on the lathe.

The original handle was poorly designed, too small, and pretty cheap looking. So I turned a new handle from hickory. The pic above shows the new handle in the lathe ready for sanding.

The MF hacksaw finished and ready for work.

The MF hacksaw finished and ready for work.

The steel stud was pressed into the new handle and the hacksaw was assembled. As can be seen in the pic above the tool is now ready for another generation of use.

I can’t keep all the tools that I restore, though I would like to, so this hacksaw is for sale if anyone is interested.

As always, thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a comment.

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