So here we go, starting out with this 1930s Union No.5 Plane i found in my grandfathers attic. The blade was dull, everything as far as alignment was horribly off. So lets get this bad-boy making fine shavings again.

First take the blade off, and the frog.

What you NEED to do to make sure that the plane works, is make every contact-surface as flat as possible. the bottom, the plate the frog sits on, and the blade support, all must be flat on the contact surface, or your blade will not sit evenly and you will **** up what you are planing.

First i flattened the bottom, when it comes to tools, there is no such thing as "flat enough", so you need a high-dollar jointer table, or something along those lines, cast iron and FLAT. i clamp a piece of 100 grit wet/dry sandpaper on to the table and go to town, the bottom was pitch black and rusted, now its a fine silver metal :

Almost flat :

Now that you have the base flat, you have to square the sides (assuming you know how to use a plane and what to use it on, you should not have to ask WHY you need to square the edges).

I took mine to a 12'' disc sander and got most of it done, then strapped some fine sand paper to my jointer wall :

Next thing you have to do is sharpen the blade, there is a specific tool to do this with that you can buy online for 20-50 dollars, its a little roller thing with ceramic wheels that you attach the blade to and it holds it at the right angle to sand with, once you have sanded so that the burrs go over the other side of the blade, you sand the point this a little bit to bring it to a fine edge :

I rub polishing compound on a piece of leather and i rub both side of the blade on it slowly with good pressure until the blade will cut a hair off of my arm with no force.
Re-assemble after everything is flat, or close, and adjust the frog so that the blade sits on the FROG and not the base, then slide it back as far as it will go. do your best to make sure it goes on even, you dont want to plane more wood off of on side than the other, that defeats the purpose of using it.

Now, go make some fine wood shavings!

You can get these bad boys on ebay for around 20 bucks, the stanley ones are a little bit better, i recommend those. Try to get a Bi-metal blade (laminated hard steel and soft steel). Japan-woodworker has them for fairly cheap.
Thanks. Why were you banned BTW?
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if you don't mind spending the money, a small granite surface plate is the best surface to use. they are made to about .0001" flatness which is more than you'll ever need. you can stick a piece of lapping film onto the plate with a squirt of water from a bottle (the surfaces of the plate and the lapping film are so true that the water sticks them together) or you could just tape a piece of wet/dry onto the surface plate and use that... either way, it's better than any metal surface because granite doesn't have machining imperfections like steel and iron tend to have from milling or production grinding. if the table were precision ground, i'd say OK but for the most part they're just face milled or production ground which usually gives you either a dish or an arch in the surface.

a 12"x18" granite plate is 40 bucks


come to think of it, I should just take my planes to my buddy's machine shop and surface grind them... that would rock
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Last edited by nuthinbuttrubl8 at Oct 30, 2008,
You can also use a thick piece of plate glass.

I have lapped a cylinder head on plate glass, and the the top of the CPU in my PC along with the bass of the heat sink.
yea but granite is easier to get than thick pieces of plate glass around me... works all the same, though
Support your local luthier!

Timpson Guitars and TDM Pickups rock ;D

I make guitars and pickups. I also make sh*t that'll blow you the f*k up as well as things that will rebuild you - I have the technology
^its ironic...theres no granite naturally in jersey, yet its easier to get here than glass.....someone explain to me why a granite countertop cost less than new windows....

anyways, LP, u just saved me from wastin some cash on a new plane...ill just fix my current one! thanks!
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the best place to find planes (if you feel like spending the time to restore them) is at a garage sale or englishtown auction. i saw a bunch there the other day but i have all decent stuff already... still needs a little sprucing up tho. they work just not 100% perfect.

i have a whole video based tutorial on plane setting i found once...

Support your local luthier!

Timpson Guitars and TDM Pickups rock ;D

I make guitars and pickups. I also make sh*t that'll blow you the f*k up as well as things that will rebuild you - I have the technology
I have an old plane like that. Not nearly as large, it's about 2" wide.

It was my great grandfathers hahah! My dad came across it while cleaning my Grandpa's apartment the other week.

Still sharp as a razor!
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