I've found a few Stanley Baily planes (#3 and #4 - Type 16 i believe),
and I'm going to clean them up.
I understand that many collectors are against refinishing the original
japaning. However one planes japaning is flaking off and has exposed
metal where there shouldn't be any exposed.
What is the thoughts on redoing the finish on a plane at this point
and how does it affect it from a collectors eye (I understand that
these are fairly common, however I've stared the restoration and find
it fun and may continue a real collection).
You are correct in that most collectors find refurbished planes to be of
little value....but I think you're talking about an everyday user so its
most likely not "collectable" any way...
There are recipes on the internet for japaning a plane...but personally
if its a plane I am tuning up to use, I will just get a can of rustoleum
( color of your choice ( I like Hunter Green )) and have at
it...painting anything I don't want rusting...
They are fun to tune and use...you may want to upgrade the blade as
well...it really does make a difference in how the plane cuts..
Have a good time hope this helps...
I noticed on a sellers site linked from "The Electric Neanderthal"
that the going rate for a #4 Stanley in decent shape of my vintage
seemed to be about 90-100 USD. Is this really?
Makes me glad I only paid 38 shipped for mine. Had to derust it a
tiny bit, but not so you'd notice.
I've restored several old planes for my use. I like them to look
good, but I'm not trying to maintain their "value" for future
There are formulas out there for re-japanning planes. Lot of work, in
The suggested Rustoleum paint is another route. Looks good and stops
I decided to walk the middle line. I clean the plane well, usually
using citric acid, then "restore" the missing japaning with black shoe
polish. The liquid type that is meant to cover scuffs. The paste wax
doesn't have enuf dye in it. I put on a couple of coats, let it dry,
polish it with a brush, then add more clear wax when I do my final
waxing of the plane. Looks "appropriate" to the age and condition of
the plane, and seems to hold up.
If you are interested in restoring old tools you might enjoy the "Old
tools" listserv. Lots of good information and experience on cleaning,
restoring and using hand tools. I can't get the site without loosing
the message, so I'll add it as an add-on to this thread. I've learned
Just a little grease, and a gentle push down the slippery slope of
tool coll-- coll-- that is using.
Who was able to feed his sawdust addiction yesterday due to clement
The Old Tools (Galoots) list serv can be reached at
(For some reasons this doesn't show as a link.)
I suggest you try it. There's a lot of information in the archive
messages about plane restoration.
You will find that you are among quite a collection of gentlemen if
you participate. And then there's the rest of us.
I had the same problem recently, for a plane that was my fathers, and
still gets a LOT of daily use. I got a can of the epoxy "Alumihyde)
(sp??) from Brownells, the gun supply outfit. I was using it for some
gunsmithing projects -- aluminum ejector housing on a Ruger revolver
that I was working on. It sticks to most anything. Nice semi-matte
finish. I've used it on quite a number of tools. Just my 2 cents...
If you want to maintain the maximum collector value of a plane (or most
any antique) then all the advice I have seen says to not do anything
to the finish other than clean what is there.
However, if you are planning on keeping the plane as a "user" without
caring about collecter value (and a common Bailey #3 or 4 would not have
much value to a collector anyway) then you can do what you want.
I like to clean up, derust, and finish my user planes. I have found that
rustoleum machinery black is looks pretty good and is difficult to
distinguish from the factory finish.
Better to be stuck up in a tree than tied to one.
Larry Wasserman - Baltimore Maryland - lwasserm(a)sdf. lonestar.org
I tried the method listed above with recipe of asphaltum, boiled
linseed oil, and turpentine. You should be aware that the process in
somewhat involved. You paint this mixture on the plane and let it set
for a few days. Then you need to bake the finish to its final
hardness. My wife was not excited about sharing her oven with smell
of the turpentine and asphatum, turpentine, and everything baking
off. I thought of getting a small toaster over for this but it
wouldn't be large enough for the larger plane sizes. The finish, once
done, is much more durable than paint. You also have the enjoyment of
having an authentic finish that would be hard to distinguish from the
original. The mixture was easy to make and I keep a bottle of it on
the shelve for whenever I want to do something new. I assume one
bottle will last me a lifetime. The supplies you need to make the
mixture are available from online art supply stores.
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