When I first dove into handwork, I could barely afford diapers, wipes and formula – never mind a nice Bed Rock or infill handplane (this was before we had premium bench planes).
So I bought all my planes at antique markets and fixed them up using techniques I had to invent for myself – many of them too silly to even mention here.
The point? I had to fix up (and mess up) a lot of planes before I could get my tools to plane anything and everything I put under them. I wasted a crapload of time doing stuff the wrong way. Eventually, however, I perfected my methods after I talked to machinists, fellow woodworkers and abrasive manufacturers to figure out how to do it correctly.
So I know how to tune old planes, not to mention the unmentionable junk from Groz, Anant et al. And earlier this year I put it all down in a DVD called “Super-tune a Handplane” that was produced by Popular Woodworking Magazine.
In this DVD I take an off-the-rack old Stanley plane and tune it to the highest level possible using home-center materials and basic skills. You don’t need to learn to scrape a sole like a machinist. You don’t need special dyes or tools – just stuff you can find at any hardware store.
In the DVD, I cover the following topics:
• How to purchase a vintage plane, including how to identify a solid candidate for restoration using a simple flow chart.
• How to disassemble, clean and de-rust all the parts using completely harmless materials you can find in the canning section of your supermarket.
• How to flatten all the critical surfaces, including the sole, the frog, the back of the iron and the sidewalls of the plane. You’ll need only some belt-sander paper, a floor tile and a block of wood to get results.
• How to decide if you need to upgrade to an aftermarket iron and chipbreaker.
• How to reassemble the plane, lubricate the key components and tune up the tool to take a fine shaving.
• Plus a lot of information on troubleshooting a tool that won’t take a good shaving – information you don’t see very often out there.
• And tricks and tips on planing boards that allow the tool to really do its job.
The plane I tuned for the DVD is a Stanley Type 11, which was made during the early years of the 20th century. This particular tool had good bones but needed a full restoration. At the end of the video, I can easily plane a row mahogany board with crazy interlocked and reversing grain — without tearout.
Tonight I took that same plane downstairs to my shop and put it back to work. It is indeed a super worker. And it took only a few hours of my time to bring it up to this level.
To demonstrate my confidence in the tool, I’m going to give it away to one of our readers in a little haiku contest. To win the plane, all you have to do is write the best woodworking haiku ever and post it in the comments section of this entry. Be sure to include your e-mail and real name – we cannot send you your plane if we cannot contact you. Deadline for entries is noon EST, Nov. 22, 2012.
Note that you will receive the plane with the tool’s original iron and chipbreaker. I use my Veritas breaker and iron (shown in the photo above) in my No. 5, which I also tuned to this level, by the way.
Oh, and if you want the DVD, it is being sold by Popular Woodworking Magazine at its ShopWoodworking.com site. You can pre-order the DVD for $24.99. Lost Art Press will not be selling the DVD, so ShopWoodworking is the best place to get it.
And one more detail, if you order through this link, I’ll get credit for the sale. No, I’m not an affiliate of the ShopWoodworking site or any other site. I don’t believe in affiliate logrolling. So I won’t get a percentage of the sale. But using this link will encourage them to do more DVDs like this one. Just saying.
In any case, fire up your haiku gene and win this plane. I’ll pay the shipping and feature the best haikus next weekend.
— Christopher Schwarz