Restoring wooden handplanes


I’ve recently written about restoring a Record 5 1/2 handplane. It’s mostly metal like the majority of western planes we see nowadays. There are still a lot of wooden planes around though and I got four in that lot of planes I traded for recently, so thought I’d share what I’d been doing to get these back in working order.

Firstly, here’s what they looked like when I got them. Only three are shown, the last needs a handle remade so will get done later on.

The first step was to take them apart – a little sideways tap on the wedge with a wooden mallet is usually all it takes to get it loose then you can remove the blade and wedge. In terms of the blade, deal with it exactly the same way you would for a metal bodied plane – citric acid bath, then sandpaper through the grits to bring it back to life.

With the bodies, they were quite dirty so got a wipe over and a light sand to start with.

After this, they get another wipe down to clear the dust then I start to work linseed oil into the bodies. You can see the difference right away.

I wasn’t overly happy with the finished result on the one above, it was quite dirty to begin with so I think it needed more sanding than I gave it so will redo it when time allows. The other two came up quite well though, and are already taking good shavings.

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