The weekend’s project:
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A Record 5½ jack plane, bought off ebay for £26. In dire need of cleaning up.

2016-04-08 21.04.41aQuite a bit of the shipping costs seem to have been spent on vintage english sawdust and spider legs. Step one: disassemble completely, see how bad it all is.

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Okay. It’s all quite mucky, with a lot of surface rust, but, no major deep rust pitting, no cracks in the cast iron base, the handle and tote are both intact without any major chipping or wear, and nothing is seized up with rust. And after a quick dust-off with a stiff brush, the worst of the sawdust is gone and nothing nasty is revealed:

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The plan at this stage was for everything ferrous to go into a white vinegar and salt bath, as laid out by Fine Woodworking. Thing was, I couldn’t find a container both long enough to take the plane and not so wide that I’d need ten gallons of vinegar to submerge it. And then…
2016-04-08 21.20.10aWhat? It’s a vinegar bath isn’t it? In went the ferrous bits, over went a cup of salt and then out to the shed to pour over the five litres of white vinegar (quite cheap, this – asia market sell the stuff for €3.50 per 5-litre plastic can).

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And that was Friday night. Leave this to bubble away in the shed till Sunday morning (and when you open the shed door on Sunday morning your nose and eyes will tell you why you did this in the shed), then take everything out of the bath, empty and rinse it, then fill with clean water and baking soda and put the tools back in it.

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Leave for 10-15 minutes, then remove everything from that bath. Pat dry with some paper towels, then give everything a rub down with 80-grit sandpaper and a bronze wire brush. Oh, you know those cheap bronze wire brushes you can get off ebay or aliexpress for a dremel?

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Yeah, they’re crap (even the nylon one at the far right didn’t last). The fullsize one bought off lidl a while back did just fine though. Then a sharp knife to scrape the old shattered varnish off the handle and tote, followed by 80-grit paper and a wipe down with some paper towels and a coat of boiled linseed oil, file a little off the end of the tote’s mounting screw to reduce the size a little (even loosening the other end of it wasn’t helping) and get everything reassembled and aligned properly, and that’s the end of the job for the weekend. Next weekend, sharpening.

2016-04-10 15.22.37aBut at least it looks a bit better now.

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