handplanes, tools

To not restore a block plane

looks like a pretty nice vintage block plane, right?

I have had this block plane for about two years now after I bought it at a flea market (back when there still were flea markets… ).

In my workshop I initially avoided it because it needed some work before becoming operational. Yesterday I decided to have a go at it.  I though perhaps it would be useful as a rough “scrub” block plane, for roughing out chair legs.

The plane was in fair condition to begin with. Though it didn’t have much rust at all, it was in need of some work.

The block plane looks nice in a picture.

However (and I should have realised this from the beginning) the block plane itself was of very mediocre quality.

The 1.5mm thin blade had sharp edges at its back, making the plane painful to use:

Ouch, sharp edges!

I filed the corners round which made a minimal improvement.

Then I sharpened the blade to razor sharpness, only to find that the blade did not fit in the plane correctly. The lever cap presses down on the blade in the wrong spot, making the entire thing skewed.

Things don’t line up…

All I could think was, why would anyone ever manufacture such an crappy tool, and why did I just waste my precious time on it? It probably never worked correctly to begin with.

I know there are vintage quality tools out there worth restoring. But this certainly was not one of them. It’s a pity I don’t own a forge so I could at least melt it and blacksmith it into a large black C for Capitalism.

A typical example of a tool-shaped object, but vintage. Cost-cutting has been done for a long time, I was just surprised to see how low the quality of this vintage tool was.

Burn the witch!

At least I didn’t pay a lot of money for it. But I wasted time on it, which is in some way worse. Then yet I learned something and will make sure to never attempt restoring something not worth restoring…

-Rudy Everts

2 thoughts on “To not restore a block plane”

  1. I’ve had a number of block planes over the years. They all had pros and cons.

    Then I lucked out and found someone selling their small Lie Nielsen block plane (and a few other LN tools) on Craig’s List. I immediately contacted the seller and was the first person. So I arranged an exchange later that day on my lunch break.

    I’ve never thought about another block plane again. Well, except when I found one of the older cast iron (instead of the current cast bronze) LN block planes for sale at an estate sale for $50 and bought that one as well (for my son).

    Seriously, I couldn’t care less about my other block planes anymore. I need to just sell them.


    1. I couldn‘t agree more about Lie Nielsen handplanes, they are wonderful. I have the 60-1/2 and recently added the 102 to my arsenal. It is all I ever want to use. Great that you got so lucky on craigslist – I had to buy mine at full price (but they are totally worth it!).

      Liked by 1 person

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