The Worst Plane Blade

Every once in awhile I’ll come across a plane blade that is so heavily pitted and corroded, the best thing to do is to simply throw it away. This blade that came off a Stanley No 6 plane was no different. The problem was that I didn’t have a replacement blade to go with the plane I was restoring, so I was forced to see if I could get the blade to work again.

The first thing I did was take the blade over to my 8″ speed grinder and grind the face and back of the blade to remove the corrosion. I paid special attention not to heat the blade up too much so, I occasionally cooled it off in a bucket of water. Fortunately, the blade’s face had about a 1/4″ of metal at the bottom that wasn’t pitted, so I was hopeful I could still get a good edge out of it.

I took the blade over to my Tormek and ground a 25 degree bevel on it and honed the face flattler on the side of the Tormek grinding wheel the same way as I did with my 8″ speed grinder.

After the grinding was finished, I took the blade over to my water stones and sharpened it just as I do with any other blade. When I was done, there was a clean line of light at the tip of the cutting edge so I was hopeful it could achieve a nice cut.

Placing the blade back into the plane, I tuned it up, and sure enough, this crappy blade cut pretty well. I took out my dial calipers, and the shavings measured .002″ thick. The blade will eventually need to be replaced, but at least the plane can function properly now.

The plane performed so nicely, I used it to flatten my workbench.

Repairing a Rosewood Knob

Sometimes when buying a plane, all the parts will be in good shape until you look at the front knob and see a big chunk missing from the bottom. I’ve repaired dozens of totes over the years, but I’ve never really tackled a knob as it looked like a big pain in the ass. So, I decided to give it a go and see how it turns out.

The first thing I did was shave the broken area smooth with a bastard file. It didn’t have to be completely clean, just good enough to hold some glue.

Then I took a piece of cocobolo scrap wood and glued it to the surface of the break. I paid careful attention to the orientation of the grain so the repair would look nicer. I used Gorilla Super Glue Gel as it works well gluing all type of rosewood woods together.

Once the glue dried, I cut off the excess with a dovetail saw and shaved the thick areas away with some chisels and gouges.

I wanted to shape the new area perfectly round with the rest of the knob so I created a little holding jig to be used on my lathe.

I measured the inside diameter of the knob’s mounting hole with inside calipers and transferred that measurement unto outside calipers, then turned a tenon to the measurement. Then I stuck the knob onto the tenon and stabalized the top of the knob with the lathe live center point.

With the knob spinning nice and true, I carefully used a round scraper and gently turned the new piece of wood concentric with the knob. After a few minutes, and a little bit of sanding, the knob was finished.

I noticed that the knob had split just a little bit while it was turning, so I applied more super glue gel to the bottom of the knob to stabalize the wood.

The final step was to apply a couple coats of shellac to the knob and stick it back on the plane. Because the piece of cocobolo was a little lighter in color than the rosewood, I colored the cocobolo darker with a black Sharpie marker then wiped off the excess with some fine steel wool.

The end result came out fine. The knob looks complete and you can only notice the repair if you really look at it. In fact, the knob on the right was also repaired the same way, and you can hardly see it. Looks like I’ll have to start repairing more knobs from now on.

The Encyclopedia of Shaker Furniture

Yesterday I went to an antique show in Columbus, Ohio when I stumbled upon this book in one of the booths. When I first saw it, I thought the book was huge so, I browsed through it to see what was in it.

After looking through the pages for a few minutes and seeing the book originally sold for $125.00, I decided the $20.00 the guy wanted for it was too good to pass up.

I’ve had several books on Shaker furniture over the years, but none are as comprehensive as this one. The first 85 of 576 pages in this book goes into detail of how the Shakers came to be, their daily life, the tools and practices they used, and the different types of furniture each community made. There were over twenty different Shaker communities during the 18th and 19th century with a few of them only lasting a few years. The book talks about the different design and building practices the Shakers brought to their community as no one was born a Shaker. When you compare the furniture of one community to another, you can see suttle design differences between the two.

There must be over 1000 pictures of furniture along with the dimensions and descriptions of each piece. If nothing else, it makes an excellent reference book on Shaker design.

The book is so nice, it’s no wonder why it still sells for over $100 on eBay and Amazon. If you can find one that’s affordable, get it, you’ll be glad you did.

Here is the Introduction from the author himself to get a better understanding of the book’s purpose.

Lie-Nielsen vs Stanley No 140 Plane

Apparently, Hell has frozen over as I bought a Lie-Nielsen plane. I never thought I would own one as restoring old Stanley’s is my gig but, I found this at an antique mall and couldn’t resist even though I already own a Stanley No 140 Rabbet Plane.

The two planes are very similar to eachother with the biggest difference is that L-N is a low angle plane. The other differences is that L-N has a thicker blade made from A2 tool steel, a cutter on the side to slice the wood fibers when using it across the grain, and a fence. This plane’s fence was missing so, I contacted Lie-Nielsen to see if a replacement fence could be bought. They told me to send them a picture of the plane to make sure it is the current version they produce. After they saw the picture I sent, they informed me that their fence probably won’t work as my plane is the earlier version. Oh well, I never wished my Stanley No 140 had a fence so maybe I would never use it anyway.

The planes are nearly identical in size as well, with Lie-Nielsen being a touch smaller. However, the Lie-Nielsen is a little bit heavier since it’s made of bronze as opposed to cast iron. The Lie-Nielsen feels much nicer in your hand. You can tell the difference in quality between the two as soon as you hold it.

I wanted to see the difference of how each plane cuts, so I grabbed a piece of white pine and chopped a rabbet on the end. I then planed the rabbet clean with each plane.

The Lie-Nielsen cut extremely well as it shaved the wood fibers like butter. Lie-Nielsen planes are extremely well made and worth the extra money if you’re not interested in restoring old Stanley planes.

My tuned up Stanley No 140 also cut the wood fibers well. Not quite as nice as Lie-Nielsen but well enough to get the job done. You can see the shavings between the two planes are nearly identical. My Stanley No has user made bronze lever cap. It works so I never replaced it with a real lever cap. I’m cheap!

So, which is better? Lie-Nielsen wins hands down however, the price of the plane is nearly triple than that of a Stanley No 140 plane. You can find old Stanley No 140’s on eBay for around $100-150. Lie-Nielsen lists their No 140 for $385 on their website but is currently out of stock. Some used Lie-Nielsen No 140 planes have sold on eBay for over $500.

Whether or not the Lie-Nielsen is worth the extra money is up to you. Honestly, if I was a professional woodworker, I would buy Lie-Nielsen planes and depreciate their expense on my income statements. Being able to depreciate your tools is one of the nice benefits of being a pro. It’s no wonder why Lie-Nielsen tools are on backorder.

Repairing a Stool

Back in the summer, my wife bought a stool for $5.00 at an antique show. I honestly forget which show it was as we go to one every weekend. The stool was in decent shape, it just had a broken rung which is why it was only $5.00. She asked if it could be fixed and I told her I could fix it pretty easily.

The first thing I did was clean out the hole the rung sat in with small drill bits and awls. I then cleaned up a bit of the glue residue with a small wire brush.

I needed a rung that was 3/4″ in diameter so I grabbed my shaving horse and went to work. I hardly use this thing so anytime I get a chance, I jump on it. Shaving horses are a blast to use.

I used my drawknife and spoke shave to get close to the final diameter, then I used a scrap piece of wood with a 3/4″ hole to check final dimension. I could have just bought a 3/4″ dowel, but where’s the fun in that?

I removed the rung from the other side of the chair to determine the length my piece needed to be. I then glued and installed the rungs back into the chair while using strap clamps to hold everything tight while the glue dried.

The seat needed to be reglued a bit as well so some glue and clamps did the trick. When everything was dry, the stool was sturdy as a rock.

I thought Anita might have painted the stool, but she decided to keep it natural. She didn’t even stain the new rung dark to match the other rungs. The stool looks nice as a plant stand and for $5.00, I’m not complaining.

Shelf Support Brackets

The past few weeks I’ve been building a display cabinet for my wife out of ash. Things have been going well with the build and when it came to adding a way to hold the adjustable shelves, I wanted to use an old method that I’ve seen numerous times on antique furniture.

It starts with a couple of pieces of 1 1/2″ wide wood laying out 1″ diamter holes down the middle. The holes are 3″ apart on center. I taped the two pieces together so that when the holes are bored, the pieces mirror eachother.

I then ripped the pieces apart in the middle giving me four brackets that are similar to one another. I then installed each piece in the corner of the cabinet with glue and a few 23 gauge pins. This gives me perfect alignment when I install the shelf brackets.

The brackets are nothing more than a 1″ wide ash with a roundover on each end. I decide to add another 1″ piece of wood onto the stretcher. This gives me the opportunity to adjust the height of the shelf inside the cabinet by one inch. It’s helpful if the shelf needs to be a little bit higher, but I don’t want to move the stretcher three inches to the next notch.

Overall, I love the look of the wooden shelf dividers. I’ve done the 1/4″ holes drilled up and down the sides with brass pins for years and was never a big fan of them. To me, this looks a bit more authentic.

World’s Longest Yard Sale 2021

Last week, my wife and I spent the days traveling up and down US127 for the World’s Longest Yard Sale. It’s something we’ve down for the past seven or eight years and we have an absolute blast doing it. We get up at 4:30am and drive 150 miles to start our day in a different part of the country to see what we can find. After 1200 miles in my truck and five days of picking, this is what I came home with.

As much fun it isto pick, it’s frustrating that I can’t find as many Stanley Bailey planes that I used to. Even nice planes that are out of my budget were few and far between.

I was able to find a couple of good deals on miter boxes. One is my favorite Stanley No 150. It’s great little miter box for cutting wood that too small to cut with a powered miter saw. The other is a Miller’s Falls No 70 miter box along with a Disston saw. Both will take some time to restore but I’ll eventually get it done.

I also picked up a blacksmith post vise. The price was too good to pass up. The jaws are a touch small at 3 1/2″ wide but it’s a perfect size for a woodworker who needs to do a little metal working from time to time.

The other things I picked up were some large jaw Bessey clamps for $8.00 each. (I couldn’t whip out my wallet fast enough). Then, I found some old Fine Woodworking magazines and old testbook for a few bucks. One thing that’s great about woodworking is that the old books and magazines are still relevant because wood is wood and steal is steal. Been that way for thousands of years and it’ll be that way for a thousand more.

Overall, I’m happy with my purchases, I’m just getting a litttle nervous about not finding any decent tools on the yard sale anymore. I know damn well I haven’t bought them all.

Dowel Joiner from the 1980’s

Many years ago, I went to The Woodworking Show in Columbus, Ohio and bought this Dowel Crafter jig after seeing it being demonstrated.

I can count on my hand how many times I used it over the decades. There’s really nothing wrong with it, I just never got excited about dowel joinery.

The concept is simple. You draw a line on two mating boards and use it as a guide for the jig. You mark one piece “X”and the other piece “O”.

You then line up your mark with one of the alphabet letters on the jig and clamp it down. Then you flip it over and drill your holes through the circular black guides. The two guides spin and lock in place with a nut depending on how big of a dowel you’re using. Once you drill your “X” hole you repeat the process for the “O” hole.

You now have four holes that correspond with eachother. Next you can either use dowels or in my case, make a dowel with my Stanley No77 Dowel Making machine. I then cut the dowels and punch them through my Lie Nielsen Dowel Plate so they are the perfect diameter. When sticking them in the holes, they line up perfectly, giving me a nice tight fitting and strong joint.

This jig can also make dowelled miter cuts but you have to do it bass-ackwards. You first take your two pieces and mark your line. Then you drill your holes just as before. The jig had plastic 90 degree dowels you could buy as a kit. You can see how many plastic dowels I have used over the past 35 years.

After the holes are drilled, you cut your 45’s on the miter box and glue them together. The joint is remarkably strong. By far the strongest miter joint I’ve ever made.

You can buy this jig on eBay for about $20 but good luck finding the 90 degree plastic dowels. I love using this jig so much that I went out and bought a Festool Domino. Go figure. I hate dowel joints!

Oddball Smoothing Plane

I bought this plane on eBay this week. Probably the first plane I bought on the bay in two years. The seller said it was marked 904 and was similar to a Stanley No 2 plane. When I opened the box, I immediately saw that it was actually the size of a No 4 plane. It’s my fault for not paying closer attention to the pictures and not doing my research. I looked over the plane and saw no makers mark of any kind. To me, it looked like it was made by the Sargent Tool Co.

When I took the plane apart, I saw that the frog on the plane was identical to early Stanley Bedrock plane. I knew it wasn’t a Bedrock because it would say “Bedrock” on the bed. The only other plane company that made planes that I knew of that had a Bedrock style of frog was Vaughan & Bushnell but all their planes had flat side walls similar to Bedrock planes.

The lateral adjustment had a twist on the top. It reminded me of a Sargent plane but I don’t think Sargent ever made planes with a Bedrock style of frog.

The back of the frog was similar to all other Bailey style planes on the market back in the day. The one thing I noticed was that the threaded rod for the brass knurled nut was really long like that of an Ohio Tool Co plane. Was this an Ohio Tool Co plane?

The only identification mark on the plane was 904 on the chip breaker. Since I thought it was a Sargent or Ohio Tool Co plane, I researched “904” for each company and came up empty. Sargent’s No 4 size planes were labeled 409 not 904.

The blade had no marking on it. The only unique feature it had has a polygram shaped hole at the bottom. So, I went back to Vaughan & Bushnell and searched “904”. Sure enough, I found an early example on the internet of a Vaughan & Bushnell No 904 with round sides. Mystery solved. Why Vaughan & Bushnell didn’t mark their planes is anybody’s guess but mine would be that they sold their planes to hardware companies who would then label the plane under their own brand name. Similar to that of companies who use to make tools and sold it to Sears to be sold under the Craftsman brand. Maybe this plane was packaged in a box with the hardware store’s brand on it.

I sharpened the blade and put it to use. After a quick honing, the plane performed well. It’ll make a nice user however, I’m still kind of pissed it was sold as a number to 2 size plane. I overpaid for it but that’s my fault.

Why didn’t I do this 25 years ago?

I’ve owned this Kreg jig for over 25 years. In fact, I believe this is the first style of Kreg Jig that was ever sold. I bought it at The Woodworking Show when they were worth going to before the age of the internet. It’s worked well over the years, but I noticed that I would have to back the bit out to remove the shavings before I could reach the final hole depth. Wasn’t a huge deal but it did make drilling pocket holes tougher.

Then yesterday I went to Lowes to buy more screws when I decided to buy the small kit that came with a new drill bit for $20. My bit was duller than shit from years of use and I wanted the single pocket jig anyway for drilling pockets in narrow wood. The bit itself is about $14 so the kit was a no-brainer.

I noticed the new jig has a relief hole right behind the metal collar to allow for chip removal while my original one didn’t have that.

So, I took my jig to the drill press and drilled a couple of 11/32″ holes behind the metal collars. Stupidily simple.

Sure enough, the holes worked perfectly removing the chips. Twenty five years of using this damn thing and it could have been so much better had I just thought about the chip removal issue for a minute.