Restoring a Handplane – Part 1

I’ve done a few planes before with good results so thought I’d share my process on one of the recently aquired wrecks. I chose the Record 5 1/2 because it looked quite bad initially but should come up well.

Here’s a couple of before pics

I start by taking it all apart and spraying it with compressed air to clean out any dust and old sawdust first.

Then all metal parts go into a tub of hot water (tap or kettle) mixed with citric acid. Citric acid is a food additive you can find for under $3 in the baking section of your local supermarket. I’d use about two tablespoons full for a tub this size.better). It cleans off rust without doing any noticeable damage to the metal, and is quick and easy to do.

You leave them to soak anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour, any longer isn’t so great as the acid will continue to work away at the metal once the rust is gone. The last shot for this first part of the article is of the same parts about an hour later. Notice the difference especially on the plane body. Anything that still looks brown aftert his time is less likely to be rust and more likely to be dirt mixed with grease and dust.

Take everything out, dry it throughly and coat everything with a light machine oil to stop it rerusting, as the acid’s just exposed the fresh metal to the air and you don’t want to have to start over.

In part 2 I’ll show you how to get the rest of it cleaned up with sandpaper and steel wool.


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