Hand Plane Basics Part 1

Flea market Stanley #5 jack plane.

Flea market Stanley #5 jack plane.

I am often asked how to get started using handplanes. So, here goes.

I chose the plane pictured above for this article because it is common and inexpensive. It is a modern Stanley #5 jack plane made in England. I bought it at a flea market for $7. My purpose is to show you that just about any plane can be made to work well with some knowledge and work. The object of this article will be to make this plane work well not to make it look pretty.

Iron bench planes have been in production since the Civil War era. There are so many on the used market that it should not be hard to find what you are looking for. I recommend that a beginner choose a #5 jack plane for the first plane. The #5 is called a jack plane because it is “the jack of all trades” as the saying goes. This plane can be used to chute (commonly referred to today as shoot) the edges of boards for panel glueups, roughing boards to thickness, even smoothing surfaces. It is my go to plane and the one I most often use.

One note of caution here. As I stated above these old iron planes were made by the millions and are very plentiful. Inspect a potential purchase carefully before you buy. If it has missing or damaged parts DON’T BUY IT! There are so many of these old planes that there is no need to buy anything that is damaged or incomplete. Replacement parts are expensive.

The jack plane with some of its parts identified.

The jack plane with some of its parts identified.

Let’s begin by identifying the parts of this plane. In the photo above you can see the knob, the lever cap and the tote.

The #5 from the rear.

The #5 from the rear.

Here you can see the sole of the #5.

Here you can see the sole of the #5.

The photos above give you a better look at the neglected #5. They also clearly show the depth adjuster knob and the mouth.

A view of the #5 without the iron assembly.

A view of the #5 without the iron assembly.

In the photo above you can see the frog, the lever cap screw, the lateral adjusting lever and another view of the depth adjuster knob.

Here we see the iron assembly.

Here we see the iron assembly.

The lever cap.

The lever cap.

In the upper of the two photos above we see the cap iron/iron assembly.  And in the lower photo we see the lever cap that holds the iron/cap iron assembly securely to the frog in use.

The frog adjusting screw.

The frog adjusting screw.

The photo above clearly shows the frog adjusting screw. This screw moves the frog forward or backward to adjust the size of the mouth opening. This screw came into use on Bailey style planes around 1907.

The #5 completely disassembled.

The #5 completely disassembled.

The first step to putting an old, neglected iron bench plane back into service is to completely disassemble it as can be seen in the photo above. Thoroughly clean and degrease all parts and inspect them for rust, wear, and damage. If you have carefully inspected your plane prior to purchase there should be no damaged parts. However, some damage can go unseen during an inspection. Damaged parts must be repaired or replaced and all traces of rust must be removed because it inhibits the fit and smooth movement of parts.

Over the many years that I have been dealing in antique and vintage tools I have tried just about every method of rust removal there is. I have settled on EVAPO-RUST for small parts and electrolysis for larger parts. I use the basic method you will find in the link, but you don’t need the electronic device or all the anodes the author uses. A 12 volt battery charger, one piece of stainless steel for an anode, and a 12 volt trailer clearance light with two bulbs connected in series with the positive lead to the anode will yield sufficiently low current to make this a clean process. This low current method is the same one used by museums to clean ancient, valuable artifacts. I plan on doing an in-depth article on rust removal in the future. For now use whatever method works best for you.

In the next article we will assemble, sharpen, and fettle this old plane to work the way it should. Until then you have plenty to do. Go out and find a plane and get started. Once you bring hand planes into your woodworking you will wonder how you ever got along without them.

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

 

 

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This stuff is great for de – greasing parts. It will even remove paint. It is comparable to the purple cleaners, but much cheaper. I get at Dollar Tree for $1 per quart. Be careful using it because like all these modern cleaners it contains sodium hydroxide commonly known as lye. It will burn your skin.

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

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Modern Coating for Bench Planes

This is the paint I have been using for re-painting bench planes.

This is the paint I have been using for re-painting bench planes.

For many years I have been using Dupli-Color gloss black engine enamel to re-paint planes after removing what was left of their original finish. Lately I have been having trouble finding this paint locally. When buying this type of paint online shipping is expensive because flammable items cannot be air shipped and have to be shipped as hazardous materials. It seems the local auto stores are stocking another brand. So I have been looking for a good substitute.

A friend has been using this paint on his tool restorations and swears by it.

A friend has been using this paint on his tool restorations and swears by it.

The above paint is readily available locally at a good price. This is what I will try on my next plane restoration.

I am currently working on a bench plane rehab. I have taken a fairly modern, inexpensive, easy to find plane and will prepare it and set it up to be a perfectly good user. The article on this rehab should be published very soon so stay tuned for more.

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

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Design Your Own Projects

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Designing your own projects is a lot of fun and it isn’t hard.  As you can see from the sketch and simple drawing above you don’t need much to get started.

You don’t need complicated drawing software,  though these programs are great.  You can get started with a pencil,  paper,  and a rule. When you do your own designs your projects will be truly custom designed to fit where you want them to. You will be able to modify existing plans to suit your needs and wants.

If you would like a little more on this subject let me know.

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

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A Fun Weekend

Making a sale.

Making a sale.

I had a great time last weekend at the  Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking annual open house combined with a Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event. It was a lot of fun and I got to meet many people and make some new friends. It was great to spend a day with my friend Matt Cianci from The Saw Wright blog. I always learn something from Matt. I also met Isaac Smith owner of Blackburn Tools who has a great line of very high quality saws and saw hardware at very reasonable prices. Isaac is a great guy and having the opportunity to talk with him for two days was a real treat. I learned a great deal from him and maybe he learned a little from me. If you have an opportunity to attend a Lie-Nielsen hand tool event don’t miss it. You will learn a lot and have fun doing it.

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

 

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Lie-Nielsen Toolworks

https://www.lie-nielsen.com/hand-tool-events/USA/4

If you are within traveling distance of Manchester,  CT Friday or Saturday please stop in. There is a lot to see and learn. Be sure to stop by the Hardware City Tool booth and say hello. I will be there both days.

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

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New Product

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I am pleased to announce the availability of replacement brass barrel nuts for the older Stanley planes. These nuts are manufactured from high quality brass bar stock and are a direct replacement for the OEM nuts.

With this addition to my product line I am now able to offer complete mounting hardware sets for all vintage Stanley bench planes.

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

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