I've recently acquired some old planes and chisels which need some tlc. Can anyone point me in the right direction for a guide to removing rust and restoring to their former glory?
Thanks in advance
Off line the old-fashioned book still reigns supreme for me.
Try Mike Dunbar’s ‘Restoring, Tuning & Using Classic Woodworking Tools’
Sterling Publishing – New York
My edition is quite a few years old, but it’s still the best guide out, in my opinion. I hope it’s still in print.
A good all round book that will take a wreck from the boot sale and turn it into a good working tool again. (Assuming, of course, that that it’s not too far past it). It covers all the wooden body planes, chisels, moulding planes etc. including an excellent chapter on re-tempering a drawn iron.
Sadly the supply of old tools in restorable condition is drying up compared to what it used to be.
My own technique is a hybrid and involves using waterstones.
For your exercise, to get excessive rust off and to re-shape a blade, you need to do some rapid metal removal in order to remove pitting from the backs and provide a good bevel. I don’t like grind stones for this as they draw the temper. However if the pitting is too deep I would abandon the tool. Many old irons had a hard steel plate forged on the back of a softer iron former and these can be very hard indeed to re-shape. You can usually spot the forge marks by eye.
Suggest you start with the coarsest stone you can, about 500 – 600 grit for shaping. This will remove surface rust and light pitting. If it is dead flat, you can use it to form the flat back and the primary bevel. Then follow in succession by 1000 – 2000 working up to 8000. The last one will give you a razor finish.
One thing omitted by Mike Dunbar is, if you are using Japanese stones, that they are relatively soft and need to be kept flat regularly. With prolonged use they develop dips that will transfer their profile in negative to your blade. To deal with this, you can get a very, very coarse stone that will flatten your waterstones., but even this goes out of true with use, so resort to a concrete paving slab to reshape the coarse shaper.
Apologies to all the oil stone and Tormek enthusiasts out there, but this method combined with Mike Dunbar’s wisdom has worked for me for many years.