In the last post, you’d have seen the plane that I recently
bought at a local market. It was a great find; I'd been thinking about
getting a No.4 for a while. My main plane has always been a No.5 Jack which was given
to me whilst I was still at school, so I guess that I’ve been using it for
around 40 years (gulp!). I just fancied something to fill in the gap between
the Jack and my block planes.
As you can see it was quite rusty and unloved; therefore it was
stripped down completely, every part cleaned up, handles re-polished etc.
The sole of the plane was cleaned up and flattened by
rubbing it against some abrasive paper stuck down to keep it flat.
The blade needed a couple millimetres ground off its end as
it had been poorly sharpened by its last owner. The back surface of any cutting
tool should be a mirror finish to enable you to get the sharpest edge. Below
you can see how the back surface is gradually improving by using a sharpening
I use three grades of stone, with the final honing being
done on a hard black Arkansas stone which gets you a surgically sharp edge. I
like to test its sharpness by seeing whether the blade will shave the hairs off my
The cap iron also needs to have a very clean edge, to
stop any shavings getting wedged between it and the blade.
And after a few hours work, we have a very well set-up plane
with just the right amount of patina to show its age. I’ve no doubt that I’ll
be using this plane for the rest of my life!