Stanley #5 Restore, Getting Closer

At this point I’m just about done with the “restoration” of the #5 Stanley.  I should get the recommended “semi-gloss black Ford engine paint” delivered tomorrow, all I need to do is paint the frog and body, and re-assemble it.

I picked up a replacement rosewood knob and tote from  At the same time I’ve been playing with the original handles.  After stripping the black paint I sanded them with 220, then soaked them overnight in a mix of danish oil and mahogany gel stain.  This is the result.  I’m in the process of applying a few thin coats of wiping varnish to build up some gloss, but they aren’t too bad.  They look better in person than in this picture.  The other knob and tote are the Rosewood replacements I got.

I lapped in the sole, of course.  The bottom looked flat when I checked it with a straightedge – I couldn’t see light anywhere – but it was pitted and ugly.  I started with 80 grit, then 180 and 220.  I may do a bit more before I paint it, but I think it’s more than OK.

Next I attacked the blade and chip breaker.

Remember the before picture?

I stripped the rust, painted the back of the blade with blue Dykem and scribed a 7″ arc.  I want this blade to be cambered for roughing in stock.  I have another blade and chip breaker from Ron Hock that I’ll also use in this plane.

Then off to the grinder.  I use a Burr-King belt grinder, here with a new 40 grit belt.  There is nothing like a Burr-King.  They aren’t cheap, but they are powerful, smooth and accurate.

I ground the edge until I got an even space around the line, then worked it down right to the line.  The tool rest is set at 90 degrees to the belt/platten for this step.  The blade never got past warm.  After I had the curve ground in I used a worn 220 slack belt (no platten) to put a shine on the edge.  I used the width of the shined edge and the width of the bevel in the next step where I grind in the bevel.

I set the tool rest to 25 degrees to grind in the bevel.  I made light passes, checked the the heat in the part after each pass and checked my progress.  I wanted to have an even bevel and to take the edge down just leaving a “shine” on the cutting edge, without any appreciable thickness and certainly no sharp edge.  This is just the rough grind.  Sorry about the focus.

Next, the back of the blade needed to be flattened.  Since the blade was pitted I started with 80 grit, then 180, 220, 400, 600 and 1,000 grits.  Before and after, you can see how nasty it was to start with. I had to free-hand sharpen the blade, but it wasn’t too bade.  This blade is for rougher work, to either follow a scrub plane or to use instead of a scrub plane.

I test fit the chip breaker to the iron, and there was a big gap.  I had to bend the chip breaker a little so the the edge would even touch the blade.  Then I lapped it with 220 until I hade an even shine across the edge.  That gave me a nice tight fit.

I think this is going to be a nice plane when I’m done.  If I had to pay myself for the labor to restore this plane I think I would have been miles ahead to just buy a new lie-nielsen.  Luckily I do this for fun and it’s been an enjoyable project.


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