Resurrection of two cast iron fore planes


I bought the two cast iron fore planes in the pictures below, during our December holiday in South Africa. They have these antique auctions once per month in a little hall less than 100 meters from our holiday house. Most of the stuff they auction off is furniture, but I found these two amongst it.

The plane to the right is a Stanley Bedrock no. 606 circa 1910 from the looks of it. The plane to the left is a Record no. 6, probably significantly younger in age and quite a bit heavier. Both were in a pretty sorry state, but there were no metal parts missing and no pitting or cracks in the cast iron. In other words they could be resurrected. Seeing that I only paid R 400 for the pair (about US$ 36 and £ 22 on 28/1/2014) it would save me a lot of money compared to buying a similar quality plane brand new. Yes, it took me two weekends to finish the resurrection, but I really enjoyed doing it and love working with classic tools that has a story behind it.

When we arrived back home from holiday I took them apart and sprayed all the parts liberally with Q20 as I had to leave town straight away to go and work in Rundu. When I got back 10 days later the rehabilitation started in full earnest.


In these pictures you can take a closer look at the Record fore plane. It’s tote and knob were still in a good condition. It had lost 95% of what is referred to as japanning. It seemed as if it was originally dark blue as most Record tools.


The Bedrock on the other hand had most of the japanning in tact, but in a very poor condition. Both tote and knob needed replacement and the cap iron lost all of it’s chrome plating.


27/2/2014 – Seeing that I already did a post on the finer points of rehabilitating two Stanley Bailey planes, I will not go into exhaustive detail, but rather show what was different about this rehabilitation process.

As these planes both had significant japanning issues and I like nice looking tools I decided to re-do it from scratch. It was quite a mission to remove the original japanning by means of paint stripper and wire brushes mounted on my drill. Then it received a coat of rust converter followed by an anti-rust primer, which is the stage you can see in the pictures below.



While all that was going on I started the arduous process of regrinding the blades, which were both  in a poor condition sporting several chips. I have decided to use the Record plane as a dedicated shooting plane (given it’s nice weight) and therefore ground the blade flat and square. The Bedrock’s blade (pictured) received a substantial camber to be used as a roughing plane. My hand was forced slightly here as the Bedrock’s sides were not anywhere near square to the sole. This meant that my original idea to use it for shooting would mean three years of work on sandpaper and glass, which did not seem particularly enticing. In the pictures below you can also see how I flattened the edges of the chip breakers. Part of the metal work was the flattening of the soles and areas where the frog interact with the plane body and blade.


Both planes were then re-japanned with three layers of high gloss black truck enamel paint. The green stuff you see is masking tape used to ensure that only the areas that needs paint end up with it. Both frogs received the same treatment as you can see.

IMG_9552 IMG_9554IMG_9555IMG_9556


Then I moved on to replace the tote and the knob of the Bedrock plane. If you look carefully at the piece of Assegaai I used, you will see how I was able to get the grain to strengthen both weak areas, which is impossible with a piece of straight grained wood.


The knob was turned from the same piece of Assegaai.


Both knob and tote then received a treatment with a mixture of Tung oil, red Ballistol Schaftöl and mineral turpentine followed by three layers of Woodoc. The planes were then reassembled making sure that every bolt and screw were oiled with light machine oil and every metal surface were wiped with Ballistol. I am still trying to find paste wax in this part of the world to treat the soles with.


Both planes performed admirably during their first post-resurrection planing session. It really is a pleasure to use a tool that is more than a hundred years old, but feels like new and looks even better. I am still trying to find someone to chrome-plate the lever cap of the Bedrock plane but it works like a dream already.



5/2/2014 – Today I received the lever cap of the Stanley Bedrock #606 back from Kenney. He bead blasted it and plated it with something I still need to learn the name of, but it looks brilliant. It is some type of plating they use on aircraft parts that does not rust. They are engineers working on aviation equipment predominantly.



In the photo below my beautiful daughter is posing with the plane sporting it’s new (meaning reconditioned in this particular case) lever cap.




… and a few more photos showing off what a 104 year old plane can look like with some TLC.