Restoring Vintage Planes For Gifts

One of the pleasant tasks I undertake, one I am sure I share with many of you, is restoring vintage tools to both infuse new life into them and then impart them to loved ones who will appreciate and use them.  Given the addition of a son-in-law to the family almost four years ago (we had two daughters who are now interested in skilled trades but were too busy being dancers and valedictorians and eventually summa cum lauds to join me in the basement shop when we lived in the same house those many years ago) I almost always have a project of three in mind for him as he continues building the tool inventory of his own.  He is pretty well set for metalworking tools, he was trained as an engineer after all, but I can be most helpful in the woodworking department.

As has been my custom for a couple decades I buy block and bench planes inexpensively at flea markets and auctions, then restore them to sublime condition.  My guidance for this often  comes from RalphB over at The Accidental Woodworker, whose blog is truly a tutorial on the subject of plane restoration.

My usual starting point is to browse my collection of aged beauties to see if there are any compete and intact candidates.

Then I dismantle the candidates to confirm their completeness and intact-ness.  If there is a damaged element and I can plug in a replacement part from another damaged tool I am now ready to proceed.

A third preliminary step is to examine and even flatten the sole because if the sole is damaged beyond repair there is no point in going any further.  Planes with unsalvageable soles become parts donors.

This past fall I picked out a few candidates for the Lt. Cdr. as Christmas gifts and set to work on them.

Stay tuned.