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Thread: Refurbished Stanley #4 1/2 Smoother

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Tokyo Japan
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    15,807

    Refurbished Stanley #4 1/2 Smoother

    I've recently fell in love with most every hand plane, while I respect the Japanese hand plane, or "Kana" I find them too finicky for my daily use in the shop. I love the new breed of hand planes, Lie Nielsen or Lee Valley's wonderful Veritas planes, I really do enjoy getting an old plane and bringing it back to life.
    Recently I bought a Stanley #4 1/2 smoother, this is a short, but wide plane, and as the name suggests, it is used for smoothing, some of the last and finest cuts you make with a plane.

    I bought the plane used from, Rich Sorby for $50, good price, thanks Rich, the shipping was $55 to Japan, IIRC. The plane is in decent shape, with only a few minor problems.

    First and foremost the sole was not flat, you can see in the pic below......


    I used a marker to color the sole of the plane, then I rubbed it back and forth on a piece of thick glass that had #180 sandpaper, you can see the low spots as they still have color on them.


    After about 30 minutes and a couple of changes in sandpaper, this is what I got, I'm quite happy with that!

    The other problem is that the tote, or handle at the back is cracked.....




    It is a nice clean break, so I just made a small jig to hold the tote together while the glue was drying.....



    In the end it came up great, nice flat sole, repaired tote and a sharp blade.

    The blade is one thing that I will change, I have a new blade on order that is manufactured in Canada with a matching chip breaker, these are made by >IBC< this will cost another $85. Total I'll have $190 into this plane, but I think it will preform as well as a new Lee Valley or Lie Nielsen #4 1/2 smoother, which cost $325 plus another $50 for shipping.


    Yes, I think this turned out well.
    Cheers!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Delton, Michigan
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    17,475
    i have seen those IBC irons stu and think that you will be leased with it..good deal for all involved
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Central NY State
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    3,374
    Nice rehab Stu. Did you refinish the tote and knob also? Some steel wool and BLO or shellac can work wonders. Another little trick is to mix up some fine rosewood dust with epoxy and fill in any gaps at the break in the tote, makes the repair even more subtle.

    You are going to enjoy that plane.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    St. Louis, MO
    Posts
    583
    I love my rehabbed old planes. I like the new LV planes as well, but often the better value is in bringing an old tool back into service. The aftermarket A2 or O1 blades with a stiff chip breaker make a huge difference as well. That plane should be a really sweet user.
    Enjoy.
    paulh

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Cape Cod, Ma.
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    1,553
    Really came out great Stu! She looks like she is ready for another 75 years!
    He who laughs last, thinks slowest

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Amherst, New Hampshire
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    10,604
    Very nice Stu

    OK here is a really dumb question. Why is it so important to have the back perfectly flat on a plane or chisel??? A sharp blade isn't enough ??
    I've seen so many posts about it but never understood why it was necessary.
    Last edited by Bob Gibson; 10-06-2011 at 09:42 PM.
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    RETIRED(!) in Austintown, Ohio
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    5,323
    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Gibson View Post
    ...OK here is a really dumb question. Why is it so important to have the back perfectly flat on a plane or chisel??? A sharp blade isn't enough ??
    I've seen so many posts about it but never understood why it was necessary.
    If the back isn't perfectly flat and mirror-surface smooth, then any grinding or honing that's done on the front (bevel) will be erratic. If the back is convex, then the edges might be very sharp, and the middle will be dull. If the back is concave, then the middle of the bevel might be sharpened before the outer edges even touch the stone.

    Having said all that... It's the 'perfectionist's' point of view - but aren't we all perfectionists when it comes to out tools?
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    ABQ NM
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    From the looks of that last photo, I'd say you got it working just fine, Stu.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Tokyo Japan
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    15,807
    Thanks all!

    I'm liking it, but original blade sharpened up nicely, but I know from using modern replacement blades how much nicer it can be yet, so I ordered one of the IBC Rob Cosman blades from Woodcraft on the 12th of September. The order is still "Processing".... I replied to their email about shipping options, and I've now sent them two other emails asking what is going on with my order, still no response. I've always had great service from Woodcraft, but something seems amiss
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

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