Restoring some old Stanley No.6 and No.4 hand planes

Mar 29, 2020 | Wood Working

When I was going through and cleaning my poppa’s shed, I came across some old hand planes in bad condition that I knew nobody else in the family would get it or care about them, so I was determined to bring them back to life and add them to my tool set ( I actually used them on my desk build to flatten the tops out ).

The planes were in pretty average condition, paint all over them, rusty AF and the cutting edge was very blunt, chipped and not even straight. Once I broke the planes down I realised my poppa use to sharpen them with the bench grinder, very obvious by the curve in the cutting edge.

Breaking down the planes, cleaning and sharpening

Dismantling the planes was relatively easy other than some stubborn bolts. I did have to glue some of the handle bits up to get a crack to close up before I could reassemble. Once they were broken down, I soaked everything in a bath of white vinegar to get all the rust of the parts. You can see the difference in what the vinegar does.

After I had the parts all cleaned, it was time to sharpen the blades. Because I had no idea where they were at, what angle it was ground to, how flat it was etc I decided to grind everything flat first and make the leading edge as straight as possible. You need to flatten the top and bottom first before you attempt to put an edge on it otherwise it will never get sharp enough and it will cut funny.

I basically got trapped in a Youtube hole watching Paul Sellers videos after watching this one below. It gives you the basics of getting the Planes ready to use. He goes through sharpening and setting up the planes.

Here is how my blades turned out, razor sharp and passes the paper test.

Final turnout

For my average skill level, these planes turned out great and are now actually usable for projects! I repainted the black interiors of them and sanded and stained the handles with Linseed oil to treat them. Gave them a generous covering of machine oil to stop them rusting and they are ready for another lifetime of use.


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