So I got the thing for, like, $5 at a local flea market. It was *completely* rusted. Seemed like a nice challenge for my old-tool revival propensity.
I threw it into a bucket of old motor oil for a few weeks. After retrieving it and using an impact driver to loosen the rusted-together screws, I cleaned off the gunk, then subjected all parts to my Dr. Frankenstein apparatus, my electrolytic rust-removal rig (OK, all it is is a big honking DC power supply, no cool sparks and buzzing noises or anything).
Anyhow, to make a long story shorter, the plane is now back together and actually able to fulfill its life aim. But not without some extra fooling around.
Most of the plane cleaned up surprisingly well; the body is actually pretty smooth. But some parts were so rusted that they actually were pitted. Of course, the plane iron was one of those parts, especially just under the chip breaker.
After grinding the iron, the edge was quite rough because of fairly massive pits. What to do? (Apart from getting a new plane iron, that is.) I needed to remove material from the top of the iron to get under the level of the pits, just at the leading edge. My tool of choice here would have been a belt sander (well, sure, a milling machine, but I'm talking about the sort of tools a DIYer might have.)
After reviewing the tools I actually have, it seemed to me that a few passes with a cut-off blade might just do the trick. I only needed to remove a couple "thous" of metal, right?
So I adjusted the blade so it was just barely kissing the work. After a few passes on a piece of scrap steel, I took a deep breath and started pushing the plane iron through the saw. Made a bunch of parallel passes, starting at the very edge. And just as I had hoped, the wheel gradually wore so that by the time I was about an inch or so away from the edge, it was barely spitting sparks anymore.
Looking at the iron, the parallel cuts were pretty evident, but they were nice and even. The next phase called for a lot of elbow grease. I ground the top of the iron on my big piece of sandstone charged with valve-grinding compound. Little by little, shiny areas appeared near the front edge.
The final result (so far) isn't perfect. There are still some pretty deep pits, though they're pretty well back from the edge, and there's one nick in the blade. But the plane can still sing its song and cut a nice shaving. It's slated for rough carpentry work for the time being. Then I figure the next time it needs sharpening, I'll do a little more cutting and grinding on the blade.
It's actually a very nice plane. Nice and heavy in the hands, no chattering or other nonsense.
Save the Planet
Save the Planet
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