Several months ago, I received some old moulding planes that were cheap ($8 a piece) and worth a flyer from a seller in the midwest. There are 15 of them of them in the set and I finally got around to checking them out over the last several days. In the post on recycling “free wood” you can see them on the shelves.
Moulding planes were used for centuries before the industrial revolution brought iron planes by Stanley, Bailey, Sandusky, Sargent and many, many others. The planes above are from the 19th century so they are approximately 117 years old or more. Dirty, dusty and basically forgotten.
Here is a coffin plane (named because of it’s shape) which is used as a finish plane. The plane that is used last to produce the smooth as glass finish that not even sand paper can replicate by the way. Another view below:
As you can see definitely dusty and a crack in the heel ah oh. So I started the cleanup of the body only at this point with 0000 steel wool and mineral spirits.
Cleaned up nice wouldn’t you say, the wedge (not pictured) also cleaned up well and had no visible cracks or damage and actually fit suggesting that it was the original that came with the plane. The blade though needs a good clean and sharpening and that is next on the list. However, my concern is that the mouth of the plane is too wide (from use) and that the plane will go from being a finish plane to scrub plane. Still usable but not the original intent of the plane itself. After I sharpen the blade and get some test cuts in, I’ll determine whether to keep it as is or repair the mouth so it can be a finish plane again.
In looking at the rest of the planes there are 4 that also need repair which I wasn’t anticipating.
A pretty significant crack on the side of a horned scrub plane.
Rotten and missing wood on a nice Cove plane – too bad.
Work ahead? The good news is that after I contacted the seller even after these several months he refunded my money for the four planes that were bad no questions asked. Some of the blades are pretty good with this set of four so I may give restoring the bodies a go, nothing ventured, nothing gained now that they are effectively free. If it doesn’t work then time to make new moulding bodies or off to find another when I buy tools again.
Next time we will look at the sharpened blade of the coffin plane and see how it does.