Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Restoring an adjustable sash plane

A couple of years ago, my dad gave me an adjustable sash plane made out of beech.
It was kept in the attic of his workshop, so he wasn't using it.

It has been eaten a little by insects, so the first thing I did when I got it was to paint it with Gori 22/7 which is an anti insect wood treatment. It smells like petroleum, but it also contains some kind of chemical that should kill the insects.
After that treatment I have kept the plane in a tool chest for a couple of years. Now I decided to bring it on board for restoration.

There are no makers stamps on the plane, and I sort of suspect that it was made by a local joiner who might also have been using the plane later on.
I base this mainly on an observation of the side escapements for the shavings. They lack the finesse that I think would come from a "professional" plane maker.
The stock selection is also suggesting that it is a user made tool. The stock of the moulding side of the plane has got two small knots in it, and again I doubt that at professional plane maker shop would have used a less than perfect piece of beech for making a plane.

The blades are made by H. Crookes of Sheffield and are in remarkably good condition. I cleaned the blades using a rotation wire brush before putting the plane away, but I think I will try to clean them using an acid solution to remove the last bits of rust.
There is a little bit of pitting, but nothing that can't be ground away.

My restoration plan is as follows:

- Clean the irons using a bit of emery cloth followed by a bath in an acid pickle.
- Sand off the lacquer from the plane bodies.
- Straighten the soles of the plane.
- Adjust the wedges.
- Sharpen the irons.

To make sure that all the insects really are dead, I am going to put the plane on top of one of the heat exchangers for the heat recovery systems of the engines. They keep a temperature of around 100 degrees Celsius (boiling point of water).

Adjustable sash plane

Side escapement from the moulding side.

Side escapement from the rabbet side.

Profile of the plane.


  1. I read a blurb from someone doing a plane restore that he throws the plane in the microwave for a series of short times to kill bugs. He wrote that it gets the adults and the eggs. I never googled that because I haven't run into any bugs with my molders yet.

    1. That's an excellent idea. I think I'll have to try that with one of the other moulders I have brought with me.
      I don't know how long bursts it will take, but I suspect the moisture content in the insects and the eggs are higher than in the wood, so that they heat up first.
      I also got a wooden moving fillister from my dad, and I painted them both with the insect repellent. Sadly this stuff keeps on smelling, so my Roy Underhill tool chest that had the most fantastic smell of Sitka spruce when opened now smells like old petroleum because I have kept the planes in there.