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Unusual number 6 restoration

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Unusual number 6 restoration

Postby Mike G » 03 Sep 2019, 09:10

Don't get me wrong........the number 6 itself was absolutely bog standard, nothing special about it at all. What was unusual was the extent to which I had to go to restore it to working order. But let's start at the beginning.

Due to being away for a few days and leaving multiple bids in on Ebay in my absence, I found myself in possession of one more number 6 than I'd wanted to buy (for my son in law). I gave him the good one, having cleaned it up and sharpened it. No great story there. That left me with this beauty:

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A bit of a clean up, flatten the bottom, and she'll be fine in an hour, I thought....... Well, an hour later:

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That was literally an hour of rubbing the thing on 60 grit, 80 grit......whatever I could find to scrape off the high points. I was miles from getting it flat. It was not only badly bowed end-to-end, but also twisted. God knows how it had got in such a state. Luckily, believe it or not, I have friends, and one of my friends has this bit of kit:

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A computer controlled milling machine, fitted for this job with a brand new cobalt cutter. He spent a couple of hours making brackets which could hold the plane rock steady, then truing everything up, measuring the material to be removed, and so on. All very engineery, but gratifying to know that we were going to be removing the very least amount of cast iron possible:

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He also measured the amount of casting we had to play with, and it was very thick. With the blade in (but retracted, of course), and everything tensioned up, he ran the first cut:

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To add to the complications, the length of travel on the machine was just a little short of the length of the sole of the plane, so I was going to be left with a a step at the heel end which I'd have to deal with myself manually.

It took quite some time, maybe 45 minutes, but eventually it looked like this:

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I know! It looks dreadful. The thing is, that was absolutely flat, with no discernible edges between those stripes. I couldn't feel anything, and pushing the bristles of a fine brush across it produced no flutter. This was just what the cutter left as "grain" in the casting. I took it home, and just a couple of minutes on the sandpaper-on-granite and I had a normal-looking flat bottom to my plane:

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I cleaned this stuff up in the usual way:

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And in no time it was working beautifully, albeit with a monster camber on the blade which I'll ease a little over time:

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Re: Unusual number 6 restoration

Postby TrimTheKing » 03 Sep 2019, 11:11

Very nice Mike, functional and usable without any bells & whistles. :eusa-clap:
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Re: Unusual number 6 restoration

Postby MJ80 » 03 Sep 2019, 11:21

Genius, a pal of mine is an engineer and he laughed when I told him the story of the old number 7 my father bought me. It was so twisted on its length as well as being worn I had it hidden in a corner for a good 10 years before I was brave enough to tackle it. It took me literally days sanding and even resorting to the file to get it flat. Anyway after I had finished he told me about a final surfacing machine they have at work which does the same job that I was more than welcome to use.
Looks great Mike, my number 6 is the go to plane.
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Re: Unusual number 6 restoration

Postby Woodbloke » 03 Sep 2019, 11:24

TrimTheKing wrote:Very nice Mike, functional and usable without any bells & whistles. :eusa-clap:

Agreed, nice job and without that über posh machine from the old firm, you'd still be there at the bench till Brexit day (whenever that is :D ) I'd bet a pound to a pinch of 'snuff' that your No.6 dated from the 70's when British plane making was at it's 'finest'...I know, 'cos I bought a couple at the time - Rob
I no longer work for Axminster Tools & Machinery.
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Re: Unusual number 6 restoration

Postby Mike G » 03 Sep 2019, 11:43

Personally Rob, with no evidence at all to support what I'm saying, I reckon it might be a few decades older than that.
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Re: Unusual number 6 restoration

Postby MY63 » 03 Sep 2019, 12:16

You have started me thinking I have been considering investing in a new hand plane for some time.
Your post reminded me I have a large plane in my garage which turns out to be a number 5 Stanley

Image2019-09-03_12-01-17 by my0771, on Flickr

Image2019-09-03_12-00-55 by my0771, on Flickr

Image2019-09-03_12-01-07 by my0771, on Flickr

I bought it from a local market some years ago for about £5 certainly not more than £10 as I only ever take £10 it stops me buying loads of TAT.

It appears flat and level with a square just needs a clean up more money saved I might see if I can find something a little smaller next.
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Re: Unusual number 6 restoration

Postby Woodbloke » 03 Sep 2019, 16:40

Mike G wrote:Personally Rob, with no evidence at all to support what I'm saying, I reckon it might be a few decades older than that.

I'm no expert either Mike but Record's were universally appalling during the 70's when the bean counters took over in Sheffield, but as you say, it might be even older. The main thing is that you've got a good 'user' now :D - Rob
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Re: Unusual number 6 restoration

Postby Andyp » 03 Sep 2019, 17:56

Kind of irrelevant but if you are interested in dating this might help

http://www.recordhandplanes.com/dating.html
cheers

Andy
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Doing my best to achieve Wabi Sabi
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Re: Unusual number 6 restoration

Postby Mike G » 03 Sep 2019, 18:16

Andyp wrote:Kind of irrelevant but if you are interested in dating this might help

http://www.recordhandplanes.com/dating.html


Brilliant. Thanks Andy. Mine definitely matches the first lateral lever type, dating it 1931 to 1939, and the first frog type (1931 to 1956). All the other parts confirm these dates, and show that the plane is likely composed of all its original pieces (ie nothing cannibalised from elsewhere). Fair to say it's about 80 or 90 years old.
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