Stanley # 5 crack repair

I have recently been refurbishing several of my father and grandfather's planes. So far I have resurrected a Miller's Falls #14 ( 1950+) which was really in good condition. Also a Sandusky Tool Works wooden sole plane with iron top and frog which works well (About a #4 size). However my last project, an older Stanley #5 (20's - 30's) has had much abuse and I discovered small cracks on both sides of the throat. The crack on one side runs up the cheek 1/4" and the crack on the opposite side runs on the sole toward the back for 1/4". I guess it must have been dropped quite often. I have no metal working experience. Is it possible to weld the cracks closed and grind the sole flat again? I have hired several welders to repair some cast iron before with poor results. I have been thinking that I might use some JB Weld to fill the cracks but realize this will probably not work well. I really need to keep the plane for sentimental reasons but would like to use it carefully also. Any ideas? Anyone know where to buy a #5 sole without cracks?
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All over eBay, they're cheap enough. A cracked sole can usually be salvaged by brass or bronze brazing. It's a pretty forgiving process.
R
R
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You should be able to find a replacement at Bob Kaune's site[1].
[1]: http://www.antique-used-tools.com
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JJB Weld will work fine, to a better level than welding it by anyone other than a competent welder with specialist experience in repairing cast-iron to the standards necessary for plane bodies.
It's also a very expensive process to weld one-offs, as it's increasingly difficult to buy handful quantities of the nickel rods necessary to do it. Minimum order locally to me is 60.
As it's a commonplace #5, check eBay for a replacement sole (but check the age, type and frog variations to check that it will fit). JBWeld would also make a good repair.
Don't weld this one, if it's sentimental and it's your first attempt. Go through a stack of junk spokeshaves first until you're good at it, then practice some more on planes with soles. news:sci.engr.joining.welding is a good resource.
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I think you're wrong on this one, Andy. I can't imagine JB Weld doing anything other than a cosmetic repair. The cracks are only 1/4" long, so they must be tight. I may be mistaken, but I don't believe that JB Weld has any great wicking ability. The superglues do, and they might penetrate and add a tiny bit of strength. Really tiny.
As you say, welding cast iron is tricky but it can be done. Brazing would be easier. Either would add mechanical strength to the piece but may also warp it enough that re-flattening would be necessary. The questioner said he has no metalworking experience, so he's going to have to get someone else to do it.
It's a common plane, available pretty cheaply used. If it has sentimental value, hang it on the wall and just look at it. If he wants to use it, do so. If the cracks grow, it's time to hang it on the wall and buy another used plane. The used plane should be cheaper than a professional welding or brazing job.
John Martin
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On Mon, 26 Nov 2007 16:05:25 -0800 (PST), John Martin

I'd bevel them out with a Dremel first, whether I was welding or glueing.
JB Weld is actually less viscous than most other two-tube epoxies (for small scales, less than the filler particle size). If you degrease first, you can get some useful wicking with it.
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My main concern with JB Weld is that many people (not you), on seeing the "Weld" in the name, think it must be as strong as welding. In my experience, it's no better or worse than most of the other filled epoxies. Welding it's not.
Drilling a stopping hole at the end of the crack might make sense. Veeing would make sense if welding or brazing, but I don't think even a vee'd out JB Weld repair would be more than cosmetic. If he does want to vee it before welding or brazing, I'd suggest filing, chipping or milling instead of grinding with a Dremel, though.
John Martin
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I appreciate the excellent advise I have received on my cracked sole. I first contacted Bob Kaune at antique-used-tools.com and was offered an exact replacement # 5 base/bottom for a reasonable price. I then discovered that my cousin, a welder, has access to airless/gas brazing box at work and friends that have lots of experience repairing this problem. I will get the base back Friday and will post a photo of the repair if possible. BTW, I have used JB Weld to repair a very cracked large motor housing and cracked bearing socket on a 5HP motor that has a lot of stress on it and is still operating perfectly after 4 years. It's great stuff in my book.
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Why would that help?
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As I said before I know little about metal working. As I was told the brazing process has problems with oxygen causing poor bonding/fusing? of the brazing material with the metal object. This is why you need to fully apply flux before brazing in air. The airless (oxygen less) box is filled with an inert gas that prevents the problem of an incomplete dirty bond. Most industrial brazing is done in an airless environment which seems to produce a stronger and better looking braze. http://www.inductionatmospheres.com/brazing.html offers a much better explanation of this process than I can. Is the Great British Woodshop still being produced in the UK? I really enjoyed David Free's work I glimpsed on internet TV.
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Not at all.
Vac or inert gas brazing is done to reduce the need for an applied flux, or to reduce the need to remove vitrified flux after brazing. For production (particularly of UHF electronics), this is worth bothering about.
For general workshop hacking, apply a paste of powder flux and that will do the job perfectly well. No need for a controlled gas atmosphere. Maybe these days a few people are getting The Fear about the constituents of fluoride fluxes and possible HF production, but that's stretching things.
In fact for cast iron (but not planes!) you can practically do it fluxless anyway. The free carbon in cast iron has flux-like behaviour in that it absorbs free oxygen quite effectively.
The main issue for cast iron, and _especially_ for a plane with a hopefully flat sole afterwards, is pre-heat and controlled cooling. Not the atmosphere.
(And I'd electrically weld with with a nickel rod, not braze it anyway).
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How bout gas silver brazing? Haven't done it on a plane but a couple small broken parts on a typewriter. I have an old bailey that has a crack in the sole- been there and not grown in the time I've had it. Not heavily used but considering the time it's been around I'd say it's having an easier life now than when it was in it's prime. Pat
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Depends a bit on what you meant by the term, US terminology for brazing is largely wrong compared to Europe (there are good metallurgical reasons why).
A silver alloy instead of brass will give you better wetting and may well be useful for repairing fine cracks around a mouth. Use the right alloy though - there are some aimed specifically at CI repair. As they're 56% silver, they're not cheap either. It's an interesting idea though - working below brazing temperatures could well be useful for reducing distortion ("silver brazing" is a misnomer).
For a plane body that's already in two pieces, I can't see any advantage to it.
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Whose plane is broken in half? The OP's just has a couple of cracks by the mouth.
On the subject of precious metals, a buddy owns a pawn shop and has a sign out front with the current price of gold (he updates it frequently). I visited him and mentioned that the price had gone up noticeably in a week's time, and he told me to look at what's happening to the price of rhodium: http://www.kitco.com/charts/popup/rh1825lnb.html That stuff has _got_ to be on Viagra!
R
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From what I've seen, own and have read about - cracks at the mouth that run up the sides are common failures on the #4 and #5. I have two #4's, one of which I did not notice the cracks at all when I bought it at a flea market. I've used this one rather rigorously on occasion and so far, no ill effects nor have the cracks expanded. I do not intend to braze it even if it breaks. It was all of $10 as I recall.
The second #4 had cracks in the same area but were brazed at some point in its life. After flattening the sole and a good sharpening, it's a user too.
If the sentimental value of your plane exceeds the cost of another used plane, then leave that one as is and purchase a user for yourself. You'll find good #4's for less than $20.
Bob S.
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