A Quick Cleaning of a #4 Size Metal Handplane

My wife Cathy has booth’s in two antique stores. Recently she purchased the metal handplane shown in the photo below. I offered to check it out and make sure the various parts were in working order. Always love the opportunity to fiddle with a handplane.

The photo below shows the sole of the handplane. Started working on the sole with sandpaper when it dawned on me to take a photo of the sole. Still you can get an idea of what it looked like before I started sanding the sole.

Pictured below is what I used for a flat surface. It was cannibalized off of a jointer that was no longer in working order. Probably still going to power tool hell, or best case power tool purgatory. The dimensions of the top surface area are 8″ x 16″.

I used a spray adhesive to flatten sandpaper to my reference flat surface shown in the photo above. For sandpaper I started out with 120 grit sandpaper. I used the dulled sole surface as a guide for sanding. I figured when basically all of the sole was a shiny metal surface, that the sole had been reasonably flattened. Next I switched to finer grits, going in turn thru first 220 grit, then 320 grit, and then ending with 400 grit. Going up thru finer grits helped in removing scratch marks left by the 120 grit sandpaper which was initially used.

The sole after sanding is shown in the photo below.

The next three photos show the blade and chip breaker, both assembled and disassembled. The first photo below shows the pair of channel locks, screwdriver, and WD-40 used to break loose the screw that holds blade and chip breaker together.. The second photo is a close up of the blade and chip breaker. And the third photo below shows the blade, chip breaker, and screw disassembled.

Looking at the photo below, you can see that the frog (The red colored body) is not aligned with the mouth of the handplane (That’s the opening in the sole of the handplane). The front of the frog should be parallel with the mouth of the handplane. I went to loosen the two screws shown on the frog, but they would not budge.

So to loosen the two screws, I used the technique shown pictorially in the photo below. After spraying with WD-40, I used the screwdriver with a square shaft shown along with an open end wrench. This combination of screwdriver & open end wrench worked nicely at breaking the screws free. I just needed the extra leverage provided by the wrench on the square shaft of the screwdriver. As Archimedes would say, give me a place to stand and I will move the world.

Regarding the photo below, note that the handplane is sandwiched between two strips of wood. The wood is clamped to the work surface shown. Purpose of the wood strips is to keep the handplane from rotating, while the two frog screws are being broken loose.

Pictured below is the handplane disassembled down to its’ five main parts. The parts of the handplane from left to right are as follows:

  1. Frame
  2. Frog
  3. Blade
  4. Chip breaker
  5. Lever Cap

Shown below is the handplane reassembled. A lot more cleaning & adjusting remains to be done on it. However my goal here was just to insure that all the main parts were functional. That goal was achieved and it’s ready for Cathy to put it in her booth.

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Until next time, take care.

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