Another episode in the saga of my refurbishing an old Millers Falls plane.
So I got the thing for, like, $5 at a local flea market. It was
rusted. Seemed like a nice challenge for my old-tool
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
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
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
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
Click to see the full signature.