Saturday, April 7, 2018

Stanley #7C Restoration, Part 1: Overview

Last fall I found this corrugated #7 at a garage sale.  Based on the Hyperkitten plane-dating website, I think it's a type 10, manufactured between 1907 and 1909.  Given its condition, the $50 that I paid was probably too much for it.
Stanley #7C in less-than-optimal condition
About 22" long 
It was quite dirty.  That in itself is not a bad thing and is easily fixable - I was just afraid it could be masking some more serious rust or corrosion issues.  Turns out it wasn't that bad.
The corrugated sole
I've never used a plane with a corrugated sole before.  You know the story: it's supposed to have less friction with a board being planed, but some people complain that the grooves on the bottom can catch an edge of your workpiece and cause uneven planing.  For me, it meant that I will need to remove less metal when flattening the sole - and that seems like a big advantage.

One of the first things you notice about this plane is the tote.  The horn is broken off and there is tape around the mid-section.  Turns out it was broken under the tape and a prior user hammered in a nail or two and wrapped it in tape to shore it up.  The tote fix will be the subject of another post.
The tote looking kinda rough
The tote was interesting - it seems to have a slightly different shape than other totes of that period.  In the following picture I have it next to a type 5 (1905-ish) Stanley #4 1/2 tote.  The #7C tote seems to be a little shorter at the leading edge and possibly is canted forward a bit more.  I don't know if that was intentional - I've never read or heard anything about totes of jointers being different from those of smoothers.  Any reader comments about that?
The #7C tote with a #4 1/2 tote behind it
#4 1/2 tote at left, #7C tote at right
This plane was horribly dirty, with wood debris and dust everywhere.
The frog in need of a good cleaning
Under the frog
Frog screws and washers
Some ham-fisted user was not very careful about the screws and probably used screwdrivers that didn't fit well.  The frog screw slot was a bit mangled, as was the slot of the lever cap screw (see frog picture above).  Even the screw that holds the cap iron to the iron showed signs of wear.
The slot on the screw looks rounded over
The tote nut also had its slot mangled.  I used a hammer to peen the brass into better shape.
Tote nut after peening some mangled brass back into shape
And talk about "patina".  This thing was loaded with patina.
Patina shmatina
I'm not devoted to patina.  I'm going to clean this thing up and that will be the subject of the next post.


  1. If you are thinking of getting a new tote/knob or barrel nuts, Bill Rittner @ sells them. Doz @ sells knobs and totes
    The Plane Collector on You tube has a lot of vids on rehabbing everything on a plane.

    1. Thanks for those websites, Ralph - I'll save them somewhere. But I think I can get this plane working with the parts I've got. I made a nice fix to the tote - just giving it a few coats of BLO and then I'll post about it.

  2. That plane is a lot better than it looks. The blade has plenty of steel left and doesn't look pitted. The frog and hardware have only superficial rust, and the main casting looks like it was stored in an outbuilding but dry otherwise.

    The sides and sole may clean up with scotch brite and mineral oil. Inside the casting looks pretty decent as well. Good luck.

    1. Thanks, Steve. You are right on all counts - I've done the work, just not reported on it yet. The part I wonder about is the japanning - it's missing about 40%. Not sure if I'll paint it or leave as is.

  3. The painting depends on how nice you make the rest of the plane. If you make everything shine like Ralph does, you can't leave 40% of the japanning off. If the plane looks clean but old it may work.

    I've toyed with the idea of no paint, only bluing and wax. One of these days I may do one.

  4. $50 was not overpriced, you have the good bones of a good plane design, should make a fine user. Add some of your time plus some cleaning and painting (?) supplies and you are still ahead of the game.
    Good luck and have fun doing it

    Bob, who always like to see an underdog rehabbed

    1. Hi Bob. I'm starting to feel the same way that $50 wasn't too much. The plane is cleaning up nicely (except for lack of japanning) and I think it'll be a nice user.

  5. BTW what you found under the frog is very typical ands why you should always remove the frog on a "new" vintage plane.
    And then again once in a while to check for accumulating crud.
    If left alone, it will cause rust, more so if the japanning is worn of thin under.


    1. Yeah, I know wood dust and shavings are hygroscopic and will lead to rust. That's why it's a good idea to take any user plane apart once in a while to clean it out.