On a recent rust hunt, I happened across a Stanley #4.
The very reasonable price and three patent dates behind the frog motivated me to have the nice lady open the display case.
Once it was in my covetous little hands, I started ticking off the distinguishing characteristics of a vintage Type 11.
I’ve been burned before. So before forking over good tool money, I made sure that all the parts were present and in good working order. Check, check, check and—here’s my check.
At home I took a closer look.
The experiential archaeologist in me likes to look over how the previous owner configured my new plane.
Wow. Either a youngster gave cambering the ole’ college try, or an Irish workman decided to do it first thing in the morning on March 18th. The cap iron was also set a country mile (3/16”) from the edge. Let’s see. A course camber and set to the iron, plus paint streaks and drops everywhere, plus some plywood chips ensconced under the frog. To me that all adds up to a lifetime dedicated to general purpose work.
That left a cosmetic layer of rust, tarnish, grime and dust everywhere.
The disassembled parts plopped into Evaporust. Everything else was treated to steel- and brass-wire brushes, cue tips, mineral spirits and that Spice-Girls-fluorescent-pink naval jelly rust remover.
After that, I followed the plane rehab regimen that I detailed in my restore of a #3. That includes lapping the iron, sharpening it with a hint of camber and polishing the leading edge of the chip breaker to a mirror finish.
The sole was in pretty good shape. A total lapping time of five minutes through the grits was all that was required.
I left the sides alone other than to remove some rust to reveal the patina beneath.
With the cleaning and sharpening complete it was ready for the test.
My minimalist rehab must have been sufficient, because it only took a few minutes to dial in some solid, smoother performance.
Mmmm. Billowy, gossamer shavings. That’s good, but what kind of finish does it leave on a piece of cherry?
Nice! A glassy-smooth, reflective, no-sandpaper-needed surface.
I’m satisfied with that. More so, considering that I only spent 30 minutes on tuning activities.
From display case to my shop. This one’s a keeper.