Hand Plane Restoration Help

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beloitdavisja

James
Corporate Member
My Father-In-Law recently gave me an old hand plane that belonged to his father-in-law (my wife's grandfather), Ted, who passed away last year. It's been in a shed for decades, and obviously has a lot of rust.


I had the idea that I would restore the plane so that it looked nice, get Ted's name engraved in the side of the plane, and gift it to my mother-in-law (Ted's daughter) as something they could display on a shelf in their house as a remembrance. The goal here is to make it look nice, it does not need to function.


My problem is that despite my best efforts, the rust is returning. Here's what I've done so far:

  • Wire Brush to loosen & remove surface rust
  • Vinegar & Salt bath for 3 days
  • Rinse & soak in water with baking soda
  • Using a brass wire brush, removed rust
  • Dry and clean with paper towel & denatured alcohol
  • Re-painted plane bed gloss black (decided against japanning since it's only for display so it doesn't need to be that durable)
  • Sanded chip breaker, iron, sides and bottom using random orbit sander at 150 and 220 grit
  • Used a buffing wheel & buffing compound to buff the sides & bottom, although it didn't seem to do that much


My problem is that after sanding, the plane looked nice enough (clean, but not glimmering), but after less than a week sitting in the shop, all the bare metal is starting to show a rust color again, and I'm frustrated. Do I need to apply some sort of sealant after sanding? Do I need to a more aggressive sanding?

Does anyone have any suggestions?
 

Charlie Buchanan

Charlie
Corporate Member
After removing rust you need to treat the surface with a rust inhibitor lubricant or just a good coverage of paste wax. CRC 3-36 is what I use but if you have some paste wax that will work.
 

beloitdavisja

James
Corporate Member
I'll give it another sanding and then a coat of paste wax and see how it looks.

Charlie - Does CRC 3-36 leave any sort of residue? Since it's going to be displayed on a shelf, I wouldn't want anything to transfer to the shelf or hands if someone was handling it.
 

Rwe2156

DrBob
Senior User
I'll have to disagree on the wax. I know a lot of guys use it but I've had tools coated with wax still develop rust underneath.

The problem is moisture on the surface. Applying wax over a previously pitted surface won't work well because there is moisture there.

My recommendation is spray it with a rust remover, rinse and then dowse in copious amounts of WD-40. This will disperse the water.
After that, any type of light machine oil like 3 in 1 or will keep the moisture off.

You could also put it in a display case with a dessicant.
 

bob vaughan

Bob Vaughan
Senior User
Since the plane's future will be ornamental, a baked-on automotive clear coat may be worth considering for optimum rust prevention. A local auto body shop can advise on the practicality of this venture. Chrome or nickel plating is a little over the top.
 

Charlie Buchanan

Charlie
Corporate Member
I'll give it another sanding and then a coat of paste wax and see how it looks.

Charlie - Does CRC 3-36 leave any sort of residue? Since it's going to be displayed on a shelf, I wouldn't want anything to transfer to the shelf or hands if someone was handling it.
3-36 dries pretty quick and does not leave a greasy or wet surface. I dampen a rag and wipe over the whole surface especially where the hands contact the metal. I have never noticed any residue that you could feel or any interference with finishes. First thing after honing a blade I wipe it with 3-36. Keeps freshly honed surfaces rust free.
Wax also works well--that might be best for display tools but you really have to work it in to any rough pitted areas and then polish it off when it hardens.
After you put any kind of water or water based rust remover on you need to make sure it is completely dry before waxing.
 

Frank Berry

New User
Frank
After the first year of having my Jet table saw it began to show signs of rusting on top of the table so i got some advise to clean and then hit it real good with some WD40. I followed this advice and about three or four weeks later the rust not only returned, it came back with a lot of friends. It seemed my entire top was covered with surface rust. I called Jet and asked for some help. He asked how I cleaned the top and what I put on and I told him. He imediately told me to get the WD40 off the saw and never put it back on again. Once I got it cleaned, he told me to use a good coat of wax on the top. Rub it in real good to get it all and then wait for it to dry and then wipe it all off several times using clean rags each time. I had nothing to lose by following his suggestion and did just what he had told me. I have never had any rust build up again. Once a year I do my normal tear down of the dust bag under the saw (contractor's saw) and did usual vacuuming and inspection of the blade lift and belt tension and then do my cleaning and waxing of the top. No more problems for me and I will never use a spray on the top again. The guy told me when using the spray, it will trap the moisture and will not allow it to dry therefore causing the rust on the table top. That's exactly what had happened the first time.
I say to each his/her own. I use a good coat of wax all the time on my tools.
 

bluedawg76

New User
Sam
it's funny how different people's experiences are. For me, wax is awful -paste wax, paraffin wax, just no luck. I easily get rust. WD40 does well, but the residue I don't care for. They (WD40) actually make a dry lubricant (PTFE I thnk) that I use for my TS and jointer surfaces (and bike chains). Should work fine on a plane. As others mentioned, once you get the rust off, you've got to treat/coat it.
 
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