Bob Smalser's da man!
Everything you'll ever need to know. Bob was a regular contributor to the forum, but apparently somebody pissed him off sufficiently that he hasn't be around in the last several months. Too bad. Hope he comes back. In the meantime, you can google "Bob Smalser" and you'll get tons of articles he's written for fine woodworking magazines.
I have several just like it. I think the most important thing would be that the base be flat and true and it probably is, sharpen it and use it. I usually use fine steel wool dipped in trups just enough to moisten it and give the body a good cleaning. You irons look like they have a bit of rust on them, hopefully not pitted too much, very fine sandpaper and a wipe down with a bit of light oil. I wouldn't worry too much about looks, sharpen that blade and use it. Lots of good tutorials on Youtube too.
Not purely a wood plane, but rather properly a transitional. Its between a jack and a jointer in size. First thing to look for is if the wood around the mouth of the plane is in good shape, the is the wood on either side of the throat or each side of the blade solid.
Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.
I would take it apart, clean up the metal work on a wire wheel, then saturate the metal with tung oil. While the tung oil is given time to penetrate any tiny little pitting I would joint the shoe if it needs it then scrub the woodwork with steel wool and tung oil. The handles appear to have been painted. I would scrape and sand any of that paint off and use the oil there as well. Once the wood is cleaned up wipe everything clean and let the whole thing dry out for a few days. If the wood soaks up the oil, which it may very well do, especially on the end grain areas, keep applying more until it won't absorb any more.
It's going to be beautiful.
OK.... Call me a grinch.
They really don't work very well, and aren't the least bit valuable.
Cleaned up and polished they look nice on bookshelves or mantle pieces.....
Never trust a man with a clean workshop.
The sole will be the part effecting how well it works so first of all look critically at that. If and when you condition it be aware that wood you remove there will increase the size of the mouth opening and when it gets overly wide the plane wont work well at all. It can always be brought back in order with an insert laid in at the front of the opening.
Smalser will know how and he comes and goes as he pleases............
But now, it's argument time!
Beware the wire wheel, if used too enthusiastically you will be able to see the results for ever. There are other (chemical) techniques for removing rust that are a lot gentler.
Personally, if it was me, I'd check it out to see if it was worth the time to tune it up as is. If not (worn sole, degraded mouth), I'd use a light oil on all of the screws and metal parts then give the whole thing a good soak in boiled linseed oil, then put it back up on the shelf.
Transitional planes, they look cool, but nobody makes them anymore......take the hint.
We don't know how lucky we are....
Thanks for the ideas, suggestions and instructions. I'll take a closer look at the plane and figure out what I want to do with it.
Building Gardens of Fenwick, a Welsford Pathfinder
Karen Ann, a Storer Goat Island Skiff
Beware of Tung and Boiled Linseed oil unless you want a soft coating on the wood. These planes are better off with a coat of paste wax rather than oil. The bare metal components can be protected with Camelia oil which has been used on Samurai swords for the last two thousand years to prevent rust. I do have a working collection of old planes that I treat in this manner. One note is that if the throat is too big you will have problems creating fine chips. In that case, the throat will need to be adjusted by making an insert to close the gap a bit. This can be tricky work and if you are not comfortable with making a major adjustment, I can walk you through it.
Lots of info on transitional planes: http://www.supertool.com/StanleyBG/stan4.htm
There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.
Moderate cleanup, sharpen and use. If it is crap give it up otherwise you have a plane. Mine work, I use them.
In reading this term " transitional" plane it gives the impression of transition from full wooden planes to metal planes to me, and I think this is not the case because these hybrid planes were being made/sold long after metal planes were well established - even up till the 50's or 60's I think, though I'm no plane expert. Personally I think they are interesting but ill-conceived novelties and for all practical purposes would choose either one or the other, metal or wood, but ok, that's me.
Here is a sole with an insert, the blade is backed up so the opening is wider in the picture than it would be when properly set for use.
OK, these planes may well be better off with a coating of wax on there but the characterization is surely backwards. The oil will penetrate into the wood and the extent to which it coats the wood depends on the number of applications. More will certainly at some point build up on the surface but less will leave no cohesive barrier between your feel and the wood surface. At the same time wax creates a surface covering more readily and a definite barrier, so to the feel there will be less contact with the wood. I do agree that neither linseed oil nor tung oil are the right thing to use for protecting metal. Linseed oil is the best wood finish but takes long to get dry feeling - we won't go into boiled linseed oil as a wood finish in and of itself. Tung oil, given to us from the East, has the advantage that it is faster drying and gives better protection against moisture.
Last edited by Ernest DuBois; 04-19-2013 at 03:38 AM.
I jointed the bottom of the wooden smoother plane I inherited from my father. One light pass to true up the sole, didn't widen the throat too much. Works fine.
Il colore del cielo, la forza del mare.
So in terms of leveling the sole, because it is wood and it moves, I will use a length of good quality linen backed sandpaper, 80 grit, from a roll and clamp it to the top of the table saw and methodically rub the plane, with the blade in position but backed off only as much as need, back and forth, always watching the scratch pattern developing until it is uniform over the whole surface. Typically, the last part to be sanded will be right in front of the mouth opening.
Do you know Don Wagstaff?
And yes, "Transitional" planes were the commercial transition from wooden bodied planes to cast iron bodied planes.
Hand planes were traditionally made from Beech, Hornbeam, and other hard, heavy, smooth woods. Then there were the very high-end steel and brass infill planes, but your average tradesman really couldn't afford these. As the technology of casting got better, and the end results became stronger, the ability to make reasonably priced cast iron planes became more possible. But for a while, it was cheaper to build the bodies out of wood, and the mechanisms out of iron..... Hence the transition from wood to iron. And they had all the problems of both types of plane. The wood bodies would swell and shrink, as well as wear unevenly. And the iron adjusting parts would clog, and rust, and crack if dropped on a hard floor.....
But they do look nice polished up.
Never trust a man with a clean workshop.
Actually it's a cocobolo plane. CoR plane, What is it?
Its just a difficult thing to wrap my mind around the notion of a transition that was so drawn out, if we see that even the romans had metal planes and today in Germany in particular wooden bodied planes are nothing exceptional. Transition seems a little over simplified.
Cor = College of the Redwoods. James Krenov's school of woodworking where the plane in your picture looks like it came from. There looks like there's another two in the background of the picture as well.
The sole of the plane in your picture looks like it's made of "Ironbark", with the mouth infill made from Wenge.
Don Wagstaff is the photobucket account the picture comes from...
Never trust a man with a clean workshop.
Some of those "transitional" planes came with tapered and laminated heavy pattern irons with a chipbreaker, they work very well in a Bedrock Stanley or Bailey iron plane.
Save the Iron...
Oh, right. Well, there is a direct connection in fact, without going in to the boring details, I was there for a short time back in '98 in connection with my training and saw in person these very special planes mainly for doing the kind of veneer work Krenov was known for and that the college really has pioneered. While up there I went out to Ron Hock's place and stocked up on blades that were difficult to come by over here back then and at home again, went further in making myself some of these and other planes, which I still enjoy doing from time to time in search for the ever more perfected tool.
Like I wrote, that plane is cocobolo with an ebony insert. Here's a few more I have made in the meantime.
As for the rest well, identity is a funny and ephemeral thing at best and particularly here in the intenet. But we all know that without my repeating the obvious.
(Being serious about wood)
And not to draw the topic to myself but in the face of a (nother) direct challenge I'll take up the opportunity. This is some of the work that such planes are a help in making.
All the wood I have resawn mostly from found pieces on my old bandsaw, the ebony of the iris was given me by a Belgian friend whose uncle smuggled it in the wing of his plane out of Congo.
These were of course some practice pieces.
This is a piece in progress just now though interrupted till I get the new workshop in order and my workbench, Kirchner planer, Beuving table saw and thickness planer and Panhans bandsaw set up again. It could be a while though because while I have hewn all the timbers for the walls I still need to get more proficient with my kreuzaxt before getting any further into the joinery since setting myself the challenge of doing the timber framing as much as possible strictly using axes.
Fitting the top which is self sawn dousse veneer on a solid glued-up core with thick edge banding to accommodate the form of the same wood, laminated oak curved panels veneered with a marquetery veneer of 2000 year old oak pulled out of the Rhine River, splined onto the legs which are double morticed and tenoned to the upper and lower rails.
That plane if a Stanley is universally called a transitional. Given the abundance of decent to nice Stanley #5 and 6's available cheaply I can't see rehabbing that plane. If you get the iron derusted, without pitting and get an acceptable shaving further work may be justified.
Borrowed from another site:
"The scrub plane is unusual in that it doesn’t fall neatly into the traditional English system of classifying bench planes. Rough stock was prepared first with a “fore plane,” which is a metal or wooden plane that’s anywhere from 16”to 20” long and has an iron that has a significant curve to its cutting edge. Then you refine the board’s surface with a jointer plane followed by the smoothing plane.
The scrub plane doesn’t jibe with this English system. The scrub is between 9-1/2” and 10-1/2” long and its iron is even more curved than what I’ve seen on fore planes. In fact, the scrub plane outwardly resembles the German Bismarck plane – a wooden stock plane with a horn up front that’s about the size of a smoothing plane and is used for removing stock quickly in European workshops."
Your plane could easily serve for either of these purposes without worrying too much about anything but a sharp well shaped iron.