Fore Plane

Jointer & Fore Plane Restoration

Jointer & Fore Plane Restoration

It’s amazing how one person’s trash can really be another person’s treasure. This Stanley No. 7 jointer and Union No. 6 fore plane were given to me by my neighbour. He’s a carpenter and a strictly power tools kinda guy. These were collecting rust at the bottom of a toolbox for several years before he gave them to me. For him it was getting rid of some junk, for me it was an early christmas. Also, it meant I had an excuse to spend several hours at one of my favourite activities – plane restoration.

Union No. 6, Fore plane, plane restoration

Union No. 6 fore plane. This one was in pretty bad shape.

I love No. 7 jointer planes – they can be set up to perform so many different tasks. I’ve often used a jointer as a smoothing plane with beautiful results. Setting it up as a scrub also speeds up the scrubbing process a great deal. The No. 6 often gets a bad rap as a pointless plane – not quite as small as the No.5 to be an all purpose plane, but not quite big enough to be a jointer. I disagree. The extra length and width of the No. 6 makes it a perfect jointer/jack combo. But I am a bit of a plane fanatic, so I’d be hard pressed to find a plane pointless.

Plane restoration, Rusted plane, Fore plane

That’s a century’s worth of accumulated sawdust and grime. No wonder the frog screws wouldn’t budge.

Both the planes were in pretty bad shape – the No. 6 in particular probably the worst shape I’ve seen a plane in with all parts intact. It took some work to get the frog off – the screws were jammed in place. It took a lot of soaking in WD 40 to get the screws off after several hours of trying. The No. 7 came apart pretty easy.

No. 6 Plane parts, vinegar

Plane disassembled and ready for the vinegar bath.

There are a number of ways to get the rust off a plane – evaporust, sandblasting, electrolysis and vinegar. I typically use vinegar. It’s cheap and environmentally friendly. I soak all the parts except the tote and the knob in vinegar for a day or two. Yes, I throw the brass parts in there too. I’ve never had any damaged in the vinegar. Adding a bit of salt can speed up the process too.

Stanley No. 7 jointer plane restoration

The No. 7 completely restored!

I then scrape most of the rust off using steel wool and some WD40. For difficult to reach spots I’ll use a wire brush in a drill. I use WD40 to prevent flash rust. After drying the all the parts, I then use sandpaper (180 grit and 220 grit) to remove any darker oxidised spots and to clean up the metal further. I then tape the exposed parts of the plane off and apply three coats of engine enamel. Some folks like to bake the plane in an oven, but I find this unnecessary. There’s always some bleeding of the paint which needs some clean up to look out for.

Union No. 6 and Stanley No. 7 restoration, Jointer plane, Fore plane

The Union No. 6 and Stanley No. 7 ready for another lifetime of service.

I sand the tote and knob down in increasing grits, followed by a couple coats of shellac. Rosewood tote and knobs darkens a lot, so oils are not the best option. I then reassemble the plane and flatten the sole and the sides on a granite block with some sandpaper stuck on top. The bottom of the frog and the frog receiver may require some treatment using a flat-file to get them to mate perfectly to reduce chatter. I then buff the exposed metal surfaces with some metal polish and some paste wax. All that’s left is to sharpen the blade, and I have another couple of lifetime tools to add to my collection.



Posted by Prairie Artisan Woodshop in Restorations, Tools, 2 comments