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Thread: Can this plane be saved

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Can this plane be saved

    I know, I know... no pics, didn't happen. I'm trying!

    So, last June, I was up in connecticut, while my doorlink was at a conference. I had young James, not quite two, in tow, and we went to see an experienced and respected woodworker who I had only met online. He took us to a local store, where we bought two planes... a fairly recent jack plane and a very old woody. The idea was we'd spend a little time getting them working, and he'd show me a little about planing technique. As it happened, young James wasn't patient enough for us to do all that (he kept going for the man's lathe chisels, leading to no little consternation), but I did get a quick lesson in how to plane a board.

    So the old woody has lingered in the corner of my shop for quite a while. And today, I thought since I successfully tuned a worthless plane, based on all of your advice, I thought I'd see if I could do something about the woody. I got it down off the self, and started taking it apart. Here it is:


    Hope these pics are working. Oh well. Here's a pic of the plane bottom (I guess that's called the sole?)

    and another of the mouth:

    The rust on the blade and chipbreaker was incredible. I had to soak them in wd40 just to get them apart. Then I carefully went at them with with the wire wheel on the grinder. I thought that may be sacriligious, but figured there was little to lose. Once I got most f the worst of the rust off, I tried to work on the blades bevel, with my sharpening guide, on emery cloth. It was beyond hopeless, I decided, after 20 minutes of futility. So I carried it over to the trusty ridgid belt/ ossicilating sander, with a fine belt mounted. Ten more minutes. Mounted a coarse belt and went after it. Took a while, but the back *nearly* got flat. Back to the emery cloth, and then through several grits of sandpaper. It slipped out of the guide, and I had to start over. Finally, I told myself it wasn't sharp, but it *was* good enough to test. So I went after the bottom of the benchtop. It worked! Not well, but well enough to show me the blade will be worth futher effort. You can tell by the nature of the shavings it's not sharp enough yet...

    So now I'm wondering how to flatten the sole. It's all wood, can I take an incredibly thing pass on my jointer? The wood is filthy... should I clean it somehow? I tried to take a picture of the maker's mark on the blade

    but no luck. It says: W. Butcher. Warrented cast steel. There's a B with a circle around it, an arrow, and what looks like a german (kaiser?) cross, as well as a fleur-de-lis. The plane itself is 22" long, 3 1/2 wide, 3 1/4 tall. It's so filthy I can't tell what the wood is, but it's very heavy. There's some kind of stamp on the front of the wood (in the end grain), but until I clean it up, there's no way I can read it...

    Anyway, the good news: I made shavings with it. The bad news: the pics didn't insert, and I don't know how much more I should try to restore the old thing...

    Thanks,

    Bill
    Last edited by Bill Lantry; 02-14-2007 at 08:53 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    update

    Doorlink's eagle eyes were able to read the stamp on the front (head?) It says D. Colton on the top. Was colton a person or a technique? No idea.

    The big news: she was able to read the semicircular writing: "Corner Callowhill & Fourth St."

    So I pop that into google, and here's what comes up:

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/m..._n9181771/pg_2

    which has this text:

    "Israel White was one of the largest, if not the largest, planemaker in the Philadelphia area. He was from a family of planemakers; his older brother, George, and his father, Jacob, both preceded him in the business. On 9 January 1834, Israel was granted a patent for a plow plane. This plow plane was distinctive in that it had three arms instead of the customary two arms. One of these patent plows, the finest example known, sold at auction on 2 November 2002 for $31,900!"

    ...

    "Israel often stated on his planes and in print that the shop was at the corner of Callowhill and Fourth Streets. He probably described the location in this way so that anyone going from the city up to his shop would take the well-known Fourth Street up to Callowhill."

    Now, I'm not saying I've found some rare, ancient plane for 12 bucks in a second hand store. But it would be cool if it turned out to be one of his...

    Thanks,

    Bill

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Placitas, NM in the foothills of the Sandia Mt
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    688
    Hey Bill,
    I'm not an expert on this, I'm sure they will chime in later. FWIW, I found a number of planes on EBay with W Butcher markings. Just go to www.ebay.com and search for Butcher plane. One of the listings noted that William Butcher manufactured tools from 1820 - 1870, though the company may have survived his death. Interesting plane in any case. BTW, judging by the current price and the number of days left in the auction, I would guess some of those will fetch a nice price.

    To flatten the sole, I would suggest clamping some sandpaper (maybe cut open a belt) onto your jointer or other flat surface and gently sand it down. Sight it against a straight edge ever so often and don't take off more than you have to as this process will make the mouth larger.

    Belt sanders are fast, but they tend to put a dome on the blade. I would stick with sand paper for the rest of the journey.

    Does the blade chatter when you use it? If so, I would see if the wedge is fitting tightly and holding the blade uniformly. Same concerns with the chipbreaker.

    The pics worked fine except for the one of the blade that seems out of focus.

    Let us know how it goes and good luck!!
    Don't believe everything you think!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Placitas, NM in the foothills of the Sandia Mt
    Posts
    688
    Hey Bill, just saw your second post. It fits together well. W. Butcher was from Philadelphia as well.

    Given all this, I would wait for one of the gurus to chime in before I did anything more to the plane (like clean it). If it is collectable, the less you change it, the better.
    Don't believe everything you think!

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