The handful of you who witnessed the incident during the Midwest Woodworking wood sale already know that my block plane spontaneously disassembled while I was using it to check out some 8/4 incense cedar, with the various components flying out of my hand and scattering themselves across the concrete floor.
Surprisingly enough, I couldn’t find any signs of damage afterwards. There was a nick in the front adjusting knob, but that may have been there already. Anyway, once I got home I decided that it deserved the full spa treatment after an experience like that.
I disassembled it as far as I could, lightly went over the sole and sides with some 400-grit silicon carbide paper to remove any incipient rust, then cleaned everything with soap and water. After everything was good and dry, I sprayed the bare iron surfaces with Boeshield T-9.* Once that was dry, I wiped it all down with a cotton cloth to remove the excess.
Then it was just a matter of putting all the pieces back together in the correct order, honing the blade, and verifying that I hadn’t screwed something up and it still worked. Speaking of honing, I’ve been experimenting with some freehand honing techniques recently, and while the jury is still out, one thing I’ve decided to permanently add to the regimen is a final stropping. I bought a couple of Genuine Horse Butt strops from Joel Moskowitz, and—as he advises—use the rough side of the leather with some micro-fine stropping compound.
I suspect that the slight round-over produced by the stropping acts sort of like a micro-bevel, and helps toughen the edge. The net result is that the edge seems to last a bit longer between sharpenings.
*I’ve also used TopCote (now apparently called GlideCote). Boeshield has gotten better reviews with regard to preventing rust; TopCote is less messy to use.