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Refinishing Stanley Tote

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Michelle_K

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Hi all I am in the process of restoring a Stanley plane. Restoring planes and chisels is a real hobby of mine and i am always trying to improve my process. Most of the process goes ok until I get to the tote and knob. My question is what do people use to make it look original or as close to original as possible. The best finish I have seen is a min wax stain used by some YouTube’s but it is not available in the UK. So I wondered if anyone had found an alternative. I have tried some shellac but didn’t get the result I was hoping for.

Thanks everyone.

Michelle
 

AndyT

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Doesn't it depend on the age?

Older ones with rosewood handles just need some oil or nothing at all.

Post WW2 you'll often find beech, but covered with a dark, tinted varnish which crazes and flakes off. If you scrape the old varnish off you get a pale handle which may not match the other one. In that case, I'd be looking for a nice dark stain such as a strong mix of vandyke crystals, which will let you apply more than one coat, until the side grain and end grain match. Then either some shellac or a modern high-build oil finish such as Tru-oil. I've never investigated an equivalent tinted varnish. There are so many options.

But for user planes, it's all about personal taste, what you have to hand, and how many more part used bottles of stuff you can tolerate!
 

Trevanion

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Like Andy says, Van Dyck Crystals are great because you can vary the strength of the stain when diluting with water to suit your preference and the crystals don't really ever "go-off" as such and you can mix as much as you need rather than buying full tins of stain.

I'd use something like boiled linseed oil on top as it burnishes nicely with hand use but pretty much any wood oil will do, I'd avoid varnishes as these will just give you blisters with actual use.
 

custard

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Incidentally, the type of Rosewood that was used for tools before the second world war isn't, for all practical purposes, commercially available today.

Here's a typical pre-war tool handle made from Indian Rosewood,

Rosewoods-05-Indian-Rosewood.jpg


On the right of this photo you can see what passes for Indian Rosewood today. It's still very nice timber but it's basically low altitude, fast grown, plantation wood. On the left is some of my (sadly diminished!) stocks of original forest grown Indian Rosewood, slow grown at higher altitudes. It's at least 50% heavier, much darker with luscious purple tones, unmistakably harder, and so oily it makes gluing a real challenge. As Andy mentioned, it's best with zero finish, just a few generations of regular handling is absolutely all it needs!

Rosewoods-01.jpg
 

Michelle_K

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Incidentally, the type of Rosewood that was used for tools before the second world war isn't, for all practical purposes, commercially available today.

Here's a typical pre-war tool handle made from Indian Rosewood,

View attachment 90688

On the right of this photo you can see what passes for Indian Rosewood today. It's still very nice timber but it's basically low altitude, fast grown, plantation wood. On the left is some of my (sadly diminished!) stocks of original forest grown Indian Rosewood, slow grown at higher altitudes. It's at least 50% heavier, much darker with luscious purple tones, unmistakably harder, and so oily it makes gluing a real challenge. As Andy mentioned, it's best with zero finish, just a few generations of regular handling is absolutely all it needs!

View attachment 90690
What stunning rosewood!
 
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