My $1.00 Plane

A couple of weekends ago, I went on the World’s Longest Yard Sale on US 127 looking for old tools and other things to sell. Sunday, I ran across a guy selling junk just north of Cincinnati and saw this plane on a table. The guy told me that his prices were negotiable so I asked what he wanted for this plane. He told me $2.00, but I countered that I would give him a buck for it and he accepted. I really didn’t need it, but I wanted to buy something during the day. The blade was marked Van Camp which I believe was a hardware store back in the day however, the plane was more likely made by the Sargent Tool Company.


Every time I restore a tool, I start by sticking the parts in a tub of water with a cup of citric acid. I let the parts soak for about an hour and then wipe them clean once I take them out of the solution.


I took the time to fettle the bed since the plane’s body was so small. Honestly, I don’t think the bed was that bad to deserve to be fettled, but I was in the mood. I went through a series of wet sand paper grits, from 220 to 500 to 1000 grit.


You can see the smoothness of the bed when shown through the light. The bed doesn’t have to be completely free of pitting, just flat enough from front to back.


After the bed was fettled, I soaked all the parts of the plane with my custom solution of mineral oil, orange oil, and melted bees-wax.


Next, I sharpened the blade by using my Tormek sharpening system and a set of water stones. I was able to shave the hairs on my arm with this blade.


All tuned up, the plane takes nice curly shavings. Not bad for a buck.


For years I used this squirrel tailed plane. It works okay but the shavings are not that clean and it’s a pain in the ass to set properly with the screw and cap.


You can see the difference when you flip the two over. The area of the mouth is a lot tighter on my buck plane than the squirrel tail plane. The tight mouth keeps the wood fibers pressed down just until they hit the edge of the blade giving me a nicer shaving.


My new plane still fits nicely in the holder where my old squirrel tailed plane sat. Maybe I should have given the guy $2.00. haha



6 thoughts on “My $1.00 Plane

  1. Shel Sanders

    Tell us something we don’t know. Sorry to say that your tool restorations don’t hold a candle to those we see in hand plane restoration books, articles and high-powered blogs like Sawmill Creek and Handplane Central.

    And you haven’t rescued any rare or significant pieces.. still, your tool exploits are better than your futrniture creations. What put me over the edge finally is your constant bragging about your high end power tools by the likes of Tormek and Festool.

    My mother and the rules of polite society taught me that if you can’t make a positive contribution, don’t make one ar all.

    So with some regret, I am terminating my subscription. I think you are a nice well intentioned guy who does not do things that advance my knowledge.

    a positive comment, don

    1. Hey Shel, what gives bud? I didn’t mean to make this post about bragging about my tools. My intention was to show how easy it is to take a piece of junk and turn it into a nice user tool. The fact that I gave the guy only a buck for the plane is because I felt I really didn’t need it.
      As far as my restoration process, again my intention is to show how easy it is to make an old tool sing. Ive seen the videos of guys who fettle the frog with water stones and spend hours flattening the bed until it shines all the way through, but I think that’s going over board in most cases. My feeling is that the old guys didn’t do all that crap and they still got to tools to perform properly. Think of me as the Bob Ross of antique tool restoration.
      As far as bragging about my tools, Im just showing you my process. My Tormek is almost twenty years old and has a wobble in the stone I need to fix. When I bought the thing, it was half the price it is now. There are probably better sharpening systems out there today, but I’ve never used them so I don’t know. I never talk about my Festool tools as I only own a couple of sanders and the vacuum my wife bought me for Christmas because she wanted to use it when she sands the old furniture she repaints. You must have just seen the festool tools in background of my photos
      You gotta understand that I work fulltime so my time in my shop is dedicated to restoring tools and making stuff for my wife. We have a business together and she’ll have me make things to sell, like the farmhouse table and the Ohio signs.
      I’ve built higher end furniture in the past like a Pennsylvania secretary and windsor chairs, but that was years ago before I had this blog.
      However I understand what you’re saying. It may seem like Im just bragging about my tool purchases and make simple things that don’t require much skill, but that is where I am in life. Hopefully in the future I’ll be able to step up my game and build a Maloof rocker, but right now , I can’t even afford the wood.
      Man, after seven years, this blog finally has become fun! haha

  2. Someone who thinks Shel is an idiot!

    To Shel Sanders~. Maybe you should learn to spell and use correct grammar a**hole!
    Adios Bitchios! (Insert middle finger)

    1. I basically take a slice from a bees wax candle and throw it into a pot until it melts. Then I pour in equal parts of mineral oil and orange oil, stir it all around, then I pour it in a glass container. I wrote a blog about it years ago, but I might make a YouTube video to show how well it works.

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