Rons Primitive Skills

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Friday, November 11, 2011

Refurbishing a vintage wood working plane

I own and use a variety of small planes in my carving and primitive woodworking projects. Nothing makes for a nice smooth ax or adze handle than a sharp plane. I use them for a lot of different jobs. I recently bought an X-Acto #29 plane on eBay for a couple bucks. It was in good shape when I received it but there was some surface rust and the blade was badly nicked. Obviously it sat in a dusty corner for many years. These were made in the 1940's up until the 90's. The latest X-Acto plane doesn't look at all like these. I don't know if they switched to plastic in later years, but the old ones like this were made from Bakelite, one of the first plastic materials. These planes came in some of the better kits and in later years I believe they were sold separately.

First off was to take the plane apart and put some 320 grit carbide paper to the sole and get rid of the rust. Fortunately, it is just a mild case of surface rust from setting around neglected for many years. Next I used some lite machine oil on a rag and wiped the surface of the plane body. This brought it back to a nice shine. Other than the Bakelite body, the sole and iron are made of steel. The cap is some kind of nonmagnetic alloy like pot metal and the adjusting screw is brass. I threw the iron away because I managed to pick up a killer deal on about 20 brand new ones quite a while back. They're still in the original wrappers and marked X-Acto #29 Made in U.S.A. That's part of the reason I wanted a #29 plane.

As it came in the mail. 3 3/4" long and the iron or blade is 15/16" wide. Body is 1 1/2" wide.

All the parts. The iron is a new one.

The sole after a good sanding. I haven't done the ends yet.

A nice shiny polish on the sole.
End view.


Mostly finished and put back together.

The more common cast iron mini block plane. These were made by Record, Stanley, and many others and are easy to find. They come in a lot of different shapes and styles. This one has only the marking "BL". 3 5/8" long by 1 1/4" wide. Iron is 1" wide. This one was made by Great Neck Tools.

Oh, and happy Veterans Day everyone!

1 comment:

DeanO said...

Ron, I understand and have seen that there is a great interest in collecting old planes. I'm glad to see that you not only collect but use these old beauties. Who knew? I should have held on to some of my Granddad's tools. (and bought Apple stock)