Monday, March 3, 2014

An unexpected recovery

 In a ebay purchase of tools I found a very old transitional plane in poor conditions. This plane (may be Union) was very like to the Stanley 122 Liberty Bell, planes made across the XIX and XX century. This planes are called "Liberty Bell" because have the famous bell engraved on their lever cap (is a screwed type lever cap) and tell us about a transition era from wooden to metal planes. They have a wooden body (frequently beech) but a metallic frog as well as the typical regulation systems of metal planes.

The plane lacked of blade, cap iron and lever cap and had the body deeply split in more than one point. The knob was damaged as well as its screw (cracked head). Moreover someone put several big screws (completely rusted) into the body, so I had to make some holes for eliminating any trace of metal. 

Fortunately, the cast iron part was save, so I tempted a desperate recovery.
The action was radical: I sawed out the damaged parts and added a new piece of beech in order to have the right plane width. On the left side a beech patch was added for covering the holes I made.

Then I re-glued the body and chiselled out the seat and the cavity for the depth adjusting lever. A new sole was necessary. I used a piece of ash.

I used a woodie blade and cap-iron, so I had to move the threaded hole for cap-iron screw and create a slot for the depth adjusting lever.

The cast iron part was de-rusted with a vinegar bath and repainted with a black epoxy two-component varnish.

The knob was restored, as well as its screw: It was repaired by a welding. 
For the lever cap I choosed of making a wooden new one and used a brass wing screw for it.

A color treatment completed the job.
Honestly, I thought this plane was good as firewood and my satisfaction was big when I saw soft shavings to come out from a hundred-year old plane. 

Now this plane can shine again together with its more lucky sister!


  1. Nice to see another tool saved and put back to work.

  2. Thanks Ralph! A wooden body is often easily repairable. This is a clear advantage of woodies.