How to clean wooden planes

Help Support

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Established Member
2 Oct 2021
Reaction score
I have recently acquired some wooden moulding planes. All seem to be in reasonable condition, but they are pretty grotty as regards the dirt and grime they seem to be embedded with. I believe that a good cleaner and conditioner for the wood would be an equal parts mix of: Boiled Linseed Oil, Meths and White Spirit. However I'm open to, and would appreciate, other members thoughts on any alternative way of cleaning them.
To primarily remove various types of grime such as general dirt, grease, the odd blob of paint, that sort of thing, I suggest you use either white spirits first, or meths as a second choice, and steel wool, 0000 grade, or a coarser grade if appropriate. Once clean you can follow up with a few coats of boiled linseed oil, two or three maybe. The mix you've given is a pretty standard one, and all I'm suggesting is it might be worth concentrating on cleaning first followed by adding a bit of protection later. Slainte.
Last edited:
I used a combo of meths and white spirit with wire wool to clean up a plane I bought. Worked fairly well
I've long stopped bothering about anything other than crud that your fingers stick to and now give them a good buffing with one of my dirty clean up rags.
The golden burnished old finish sits nicely with me 😍
Cheers Andy
Agree with Andy.....wipe off any sticky crud... wipe on some teak oil... then just admire that patina of age & woodworking. Would def not scour off that history of use & affection with steel wool. Sharpen & use..... enjoy
Remember as well, the really dirty bits tell you where and how to hold the plane in use as that is how they got dirty in the first place
Extra fine steel wool doesn't scour anything and won't take off any patina. I like to get the crude off so that I don't end up contaminating my stock. But I'm sure there are many ways to get it done.
I've used extra fine steel wool and microcrystalline wax. Probably sacrilege but got good results
As a few have mentioned extra fine steel wool and spirit or turps cleans it without removing the patina. Paint spots usually scrape off with a bit of old bank card. Resort to metal if that does not work. It's up to you how far to take the cleaning. I like them to look their age but also look cared for.
I am all for ye olde look but sometimes they feel tacky to hold like that one did when I got it. Sorry did not take before pics. Thats about the look I aim for where you can see an aged colouring but also see the wood grain.