Thursday, January 21, 2021

Don't Be Afraid to Rehab Those Old Tools

Some collectors talk about maintaining an old tool in as unchanged condition as possible.  Not being a collector, I like the tools that I have to be users.  In November of 2019, I wrote about becoming the new owner of a Sandusky Tool Co. #92 round plane.  Its catalog number is "92", size "8"; the iron is 1 1/8" wide.

Sandusky #92 round, used to cut a 1 1/8" radius hollow

"92" was their catalog number for non-skewed round planes

While trying to put off projects that I should really get to, I decided to rehab the plane.  The sole and iron were not all that close to the shape they should be.  So the first thing to do was to mark on the toe and heel a vertical line 5/8" from the left side of the plane.  Then mark an arc with 1 1/8" radius close to the sole.

Marking the proper shape for the sole

After planing the sole to these marks, I started on the iron, marking the shape of the sole on the iron with it installed in the plane.

Colored the flat face of the iron with a red sharpie and then marked the sole shape with a scribe

This is not the result of the above marking:
I had done this earlier to get an idea of what I was up against.
You can see how out of shape the iron's edge was.

It took a bit of grinding and honing to get the iron to match the shape of the sole.  But after a few iterations, the shape was right and I sharpened and polished the iron.

The iron gleaming

Here's the sole and iron all cleaned up ...

... and here's the shape it cuts - nice and clean with a sharp iron

Well, I may never need a 1 1/8" radius hollow cut into a workpiece, but if and when I do, I'm all set to go.  [Update: I actually used it this week to hollow the outside of an experimental box I'm making.]

I didn't do much to this plane, so you collectors out there can breath easier (not that this plane is all that collectible).  But for the rest of us, if you've got a tool that can be put back into use, don't be afraid to alter it.  These tools want to be used!