A couple of questions about sharpening


I am reading Leonard Lee's book "The complete guide to sharpening" and I have a couple of questions:
1) I have acquired an old rusty plane. It is 14" long and has No5 in relief just ahead of the front handle and no other markings. The handles are wood and the sole plate is ridged. Any ideas on age, quality etc.? Is it worth sharpening as a beginner project?
2) I have a Craftsman chisel set complete with 3 chisels, a very small plane and a sharpening stone. Is there any way to tell if this is an oil stone or a water stone? Can oilstones be used as water stones?
Any help much appreciated, Jack Fearnley
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wrote:

It's probably a Stanley, by sheer law of averages. It'll be a very useful first plane and is certainly worth restoring to usable condition.
The planes: http://www.supertool.com/StanleyBG/stan0a.html
Dating it: Long: http://www.tooltrip.com/tooltrip8/stanley/stan-bpl/bailey-types.htm Short: http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Plains/9147/flowchart.html
Restoring and using it: http://www.amgron.clara.net/planingpoints/planeindex.htm
Google for "electrolysis" if you want to take rust off it.

Almost certainly an oil stone. Probably not desperately good quality, or particularly fine either. Worth using, but if you're at the level of reading Leonard lee, you might start looking at better stones too.

Clean oilstones can. Once they've been used with oil you pretty much have to stay with it. Neither are "waterstones" in the Japanese sense, as they're much harder and don't form a slurry. However water works OK as a lubricant, especially for finer stones.
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Andy Dingley wrote:

Thanks for the links and the information. I appear to have a Stanley No. 5 plane circa 1932. I have taken most of the rust off with muriatic acid (HCl) and Evapo-Rust. Now I have to start to "tune" it.
By the way, I've never sharpened anything. I'm reading L. Lee to find out how.
Best Regards, Jack Fearnley
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Andy Dingley wrote:

Several years ago someone far wiser than I posted this and I found it a "saver." I don't remember who, but if the original writer wants to take credit, please do.
Get yourself a cheap battery charger, a stainless steel rod, some (Arm&Hammer "washing soda" (can be found in the laundry section of most grocery stores is sold as a "detergent booster"), and a plastic pail full of water, a non-abrasive nylon scrubbing pad, a roll of paper towels, and a tin of carnuba paste wax.
Throw some washing soda in the water and swish it around to dissolve it. Connect the rusty object to the - Terminal of the charger and place it in the water, connect the steel rod to the + terminal and submerge it in the water (make certain the two objects _cannot_ touch each-other... turn the charger on and witness the bubbles. after a few hours the water should be pretty disgusting, wherever there _was_ rust will now have a black film on it. Wipe the film off w/ the nylon scrubber and dry it _immediately_, apply the paste wax according to directions on the container. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I have had a couple of requests for this recently and there are a lot of new subscribers, so here 'tis again. I hope I have covered all the points so we don't start the thread again.
Q. What is the method? A. A technique for returning surface rust to iron. It uses the effect of an small low voltage electric current and a suitable electrolyte (solution).
Q. What advantages does the method have over the old standbys, like vinegar, Coke, muriatic acid, Naval Jelly, wire brushing, sand blasting etc.? A. These methods all remove material to remove the rust, including un-rusted surfaces. With many, the metal is left with a "pickled” look or a characteristic color and texture. The electrolytic method removes nothing: by returning surface rust to metallic iron, rust scale is loosened and can be easily removed. Un-rusted metal is not affected in any way.
Q. What about screws, pivots, etc that are "rusted tight"? A. The method will frequently solve these problems, without the need for force, which can break things.
Q. Is it safe? A. The solutions used are not hazardous; the voltages and currents are low, so there is no electrical hazard. No noxious fumes are produced. The method is self-limiting: it is impossible to over clean an object.
Q. Where did this method come from? A. Electrolysis is a standard technique in the artifact restoration business. I wrote this up for the Chronicle of the Early American Industries Association a few years back. Most of the tool collectors around here use it:
Q. What do I need? A. A plastic tub; a stainless steel or iron electrode, water and washing soda (NOT baking soda!!) and a battery charger. About a tablespoon of soda to a gallon of water. If you have trouble locating the washing soda, household lye will work just fine. It's a tad more nasty--always wear eye protection and be sure to add the lye to the water (NOT water to lye!!!) The solution is weak, and is not harmful, though you might want to wear gloves.
Q. How long does the solution last? A. Forever, though the loosened rust will make it pretty disgusting after a while. Evaporation and electrolysis will deplete the water from the solution. Add water ONLY to bring the level back.
Q. What about the iron electrode? A. The iron electrode works best if it surrounds the object to be cleaned, since the cleaning is "line of sight" to a certain extent. The iron electrode will be eaten away with time. Stainless steel has the advantage (some alloys, but not all) that it is not eaten away.
Q. How do I connect the battery charger? A.THE POLARITY IS CRUCIAL!! The iron or stainless electrode is connected to the positive (red) terminal. The object being cleaned, to the negative (black). Submerge the object, making sure you have good contact, which can be difficult with heavily rusted objects.
Q. How do I know if it is working? A. Turn on the power. If your charger has a meter, be sure come current is flowing. Again, good electrical contact may be hard to make-it is essential. Fine bubbles will rise from the object.
Q. How long do I leave it? A. The time depends on the size of the object and of the iron electrode, and on the amount of rust. You will have to test the object by trying to wipe off the rust. If it is not completely clean, try again. Typical cleaning time for moderately rusted objects is a few hours. With heavily rusted objects can be left over night.
Q. How do I get the rust off after I remove the object? A. Rub the object under running water. A paper towel will help. For heavily rusted objects, a plastic pot scrubber can be used, carefully. Depending on the amount of original rust, you may have to re-treat.
Q. My object is too big to fit. Can I clean part of it? A. Yes. You can clean one end and then the other. Lap marks should be minimal if the cleaning was thorough.
Q. After I take it out, then what? A. The clean object will acquire surface rust very quickly, so wipe it dry and dry further in a warm oven or with a hair dryer. You may want to apply light oil or a coat of wax to prevent further rusting.
Q. Will the method remove pitting? A. No. It only operates on the rust in immediate contact with unrusted metal. What's gone is gone.
Q. What will it look like when I am done? A. The surface of rusted metal is left black. Rusted pits are still pits. Shiny unrusted metal is untouched.
Q. What about nickel plating, paint, japanning and the like? A. Sound plating will not be affected. Plating under which rust has penetrated will usually be lifted. The solution may soften some paints. Test with a drop of solution in an inconspicuous place. Remove wood handles if possible before treating.
Q. How can I handle objects that are awkward to clean? A. There are lots of variants: suspending an electrode inside to clean a cavity in an object; using a sponge soaked in the electrolyte with a backing electrode to clean spots on large objects or things that shouldn't be submerged (like with lots of wood)
Q. How can I dispose of the solution? A. The bath will last until it gets so disgusting that you decide it is time for a fresh one. There is nothing especially nasty about it-it's mildly basic-so disposal is not a concern, except you may not want all the crud in your drains.
Q. Can I use metal containers? A. This is highly risky. Galvanized metal can introduce zinc into the solution. If you have used lye, it will attack aluminum. You may have problems with electrical shorts, etc. Stick to plastic.
Q. How can I clean odd shaped objects? A. Be ingenious. Plastic PVC pipe and eave troughs, wooden boxes with poly vapor barrier.
Glen
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Any "old" hand tool is worth restoring, in my opinion, especially if you do the work yourself. Plus the satisfaction of bringing "it" to life and experiencing the thrill of using the plane after who knows how long it sat idle or how many previous owners used it? Clean it up! Tune it up, (Fine Woodworking, issue July/Aug '87, Shop Notes #36 or best "The handplane book" by Garrett hack!) Pick up some nice monocrystaline diamond stones, (I prefer DMT's, available from most good catalogs) and a honing guide, ( the "Sharpening Sled", www.alisam.com), and sharpen the iron. Good luck, and have fun! Tim
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I have been learning about sharpening and some of my notes might be helpful about what others have said about choosing sharpening tools
http://members.shaw.ca/petermichaux/workshop/BevelDownSharpening.html
Peter
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On Wed, 08 Jun 2005 17:51:10 -0400, Jack Fearnley

That's a good book.

Should be well worth the time to clean/tune it up.

Place it on paper in a warm (110 degree) oven. If the paper shows an oil spot, it's an oil stone. But you can use oil or water. I use my small stones as "oil" stones and reserve the large round stones for my Makita waterston sharpener. I would not put oil on a waterstone, but would put water on an oil stone.

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it's definitely worth doing a good tune up and sharpening to. it'll teach you a lot about how a handplane works. if nothing is seriously wrong with it it will probably be a fine working tool, well worth keeping sharp and at hand.

I hardly ever use oil on a stone. if water is too thin a fluid I'll use a drop of dish detergent. if the stone has been used with oil already the detergent will over time clean it up.
the stone that comes with a set of sears chisels is likely too coarse to be useful.

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Jack Fearnley wrote:

Everybody else has covered most of the questions, so I'll ask you this one. What kind of "very small plane"? Block plane or bench plane. PLEASE don't clean it before we find out. It *could* be a horrible mistake.
Dave in Fairfax
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Dave in Fairfax wrote:

Please note, the plane I am cleaning is a large old No. 5 bench plane. I only described the plane in the Craftsman chisel set to help you identify the set and therefore the stone that comes with it. The chisels and plane in the set are brand new and I am not cleaning or restoring them. I may, of course, sharpen and hone them once I am smart enough to do so.
I hope this sets your mind at rest. Again, thanks to all who responded with advice and encouragement. Jack Fearnley
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Jack Fearnley wrote:

Glad to hear it. I had this horrible flash of you cleaning up a #1 with muriatic acid.
Dave in Fairfax
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An estate sale I was at yesterday had two #8s, one corrugated and one not, for $30 each. Unfortunately I already have a #8, but I paid $60 for mine :-).
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lgb wrote:

You're allowed to have more than one of any givne plane, I think it's a law, in fact. Lord knows, I do.
Dave in Fairfax
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Yeah. What's wrong with having three #8s? One of them would have been corrugated, after all.
Too much is just about enough, right?
Patriarch
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On Sun, 12 Jun 2005 22:44:43 -0500, Patriarch
Gravitational collapse in the tool cabinet.
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Patriarch wrote:

Andy Dingley wrote:

Well, yeah, there is that. I go for reinforced shelves and lots of them. I generally get about 12 planes per shelf then start laying block planes on the heels.
Dave in Fairfax
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Patriarch wrote:

Too much is barely enough! 'Course SWMBO looks at me funny sometimes. I like to have my planes set up just slightly differently in each group so that I can switch easily without having to change settings. LOTS of planes are a requirement, not an option. 'Sides, if you're slightly larger than average a #6 feels like a #5 so #7s & #8s are a gimme.
Dave in Fairfax
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Dave in Fairfax wrote:

Mae West said that too much of a good thing is wonderful!
Josie
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firstjois wrote:

I would never disagree with a lady. Or Mme West.
Dave in Fairfax
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