Restoring Stanley No3 - advice please.

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Stan

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I have been asked by a friend to restore their father's Stanley No3 plane. ( A type 13, 1925 - 1928 ). They don't want a worker, but something that looks good for a keepsake. I'm glad about this because it is in rather a state and I think just making it pretty will be much easier.

The handle is completely broken at the bottom ( like that when I got it guv, honestly ). The back edge of the break had crumbled away slightly allowing moisture inside. Result? The bolt securing the handled has rusted solid into the sole as per pics 3 and 4. The top of the bolt was so corroded it sheared off as I unscrewed it. Copious amounts of release agent, tea ( applied to my interior, not the plane's ) and bad language have failed to get it off the sole. The bottom part of the handle comes off so it can be glued etc.

20220610_112942.jpg
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Dark staining in pic 4 is WD40 release agent. I managed to undo the frog adjustment bolt, amazingly.


As far as I see it I have two options:

Option 1 - quick and easy
Clean up the bolt leaving it in situ. Paint or seal it to preserve what's there and then glue or wedge the restored handle back on. As this will be a keepsake not a worker, it does not have to be strong enough to cope with being pushed around. Owner to be advised that it is not strong enough to use as anything more than an ornament/paperweight.

Option 2 -
Saw off the bolt close to the sole. Drill out the hole and cut a new thread for a replacement bolt, if I can find one.

Is there an option 3? 4? ....

I don't intend to replace the missing lever. Original paintwork will be kept to maintain its character.

Thanks in advance for your help.
 

steve355

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I did almost the exact same thing with my father in laws no 3 a few months back, luckily he let me keep it and it’s now one of my go to planes, imho if it isn’t a worker, it isn’t really restored, with a bit of tlc these planes last forever. Go for it, when you get that first perfect shaving you will be very satisfied.

The only bit I got wrong was spraying it. they were originally japanned, not painted. I should have re-japanned It or left it. It looks great but I know what I did.

I’d say drill the bolt out carefully (if you really can’t shift it, lots of tricks) and restore the thread with a tap. You’ll have to get the right one.

Steve
 

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steve355

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What difference between japping and painting?

Completely different. Japanning is basically a mixture of powdered bitumen and turps, it is applied and then baked on the oven. It’s more like enamelling than painting, it leaves a very durable brownish-black coating. Very common in Victorian era metalwork.

I haven’t done it myself, I bought all the stuff after spraying the plane but haven’t found a project to use it on yet, There are some good vids on YouTube.
 

Orraloon

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You have a job on your hands there. Looks like its been out in the weather at one time or submerged. The handle repair would best be done by trimming the broken ends and sandwich a slice of wood in there then trim up. As for the rod looks like its more rust than metal so a replacement may be the best option if you can find one. The thread is not standard as stanley had their own so finding the right tap will be hard. I would try and unscrew the old one if possible. You will have to derust the whole body so after a vinegar bath the rod may be more inclined to shift. If not then the usual methods of penetrene spray and some heat if required.
The cracks on the front knob will not be easy and a replacement may be a better option there too. Hope the front rod is better than the back one. If you have a lathe perhaps turn a new one.
The rest is just the usual plane restoration and has been covered so many times its hardly worth going over again.
I was going to say just get an old #4 for parts then I thought better check the handles are the same but in fact my #3 has a taller handle than the 4. May be because they are different vintages and my 3 is a USA made one. I had also been wondering about the dip on top of your handle and perhaps it was to allow the lateral leaver to swing in which case it may not be the origional handle. Guess I am raising more questions than answers here so over to any others who may have something to add.
Regards
John
 

Jacob

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Bin it and find another one on Ebay?
If you get it back into good condition it will hardly be the same plane anyway!
Or it it's just a memento, stick it together with araldite, dip it in linseed oil and put it in a glass case?
 
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steve355

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Bin it and find another one on Ebay?
If you get it back into good condition it will hardly be the same plane anyway!
Or it it's just a memento, stick it together with araldite, dip it in linseed oil and put it in a glass case?
Nooooo it’s in almost perfect condition! Just needs a bit of a sand and a polish.

Ok, so the tote and knob are probably not quite pristine but these can be made or bought on eBay for not much.
 

steve355

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Stan

I had a rummage around and I have a spare bolt which was for a no 4 but fits a no 3.

You can have it free of charge if and only if you promise to restore the plane to proper working condition. These are antiques and fabulous tools. They don’t deserve to be ornaments or “binned” by people like Jacob ;-)

By the way there are excellent videos on YouTube re how to make totes and knobs by Paul Sellers and Stavros Gakos (who does it amazingly as usual).

Steve
 

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cmoops2

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I have been asked by a friend to restore their father's Stanley No3 plane. ( A type 13, 1925 - 1928 ). They don't want a worker, but something that looks good for a keepsake. I'm glad about this because it is in rather a state and I think just making it pretty will be much easier.

The handle is completely broken at the bottom ( like that when I got it guv, honestly ). The back edge of the break had crumbled away slightly allowing moisture inside. Result? The bolt securing the handled has rusted solid into the sole as per pics 3 and 4. The top of the bolt was so corroded it sheared off as I unscrewed it. Copious amounts of release agent, tea ( applied to my interior, not the plane's ) and bad language have failed to get it off the sole. The bottom part of the handle comes off so it can be glued etc.

View attachment 137401 View attachment 137402 View attachment 137403 View attachment 137404


Dark staining in pic 4 is WD40 release agent. I managed to undo the frog adjustment bolt, amazingly.


As far as I see it I have two options:

Option 1 - quick and easy
Clean up the bolt leaving it in situ. Paint or seal it to preserve what's there and then glue or wedge the restored handle back on. As this will be a keepsake not a worker, it does not have to be strong enough to cope with being pushed around. Owner to be advised that it is not strong enough to use as anything more than an ornament/paperweight.

Option 2 -Pau
Saw off the bolt close to the sole. Drill out the hole and cut a new thread for a replacement bolt, if I can find one.

Is there an option 3? 4? ....

I don't intend to replace the missing lever. Original paintwork will be kept to maintain its character.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Paul Sellers does a good video on bench plane restoration -
 

TRITON

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Japanning is basically a mixture of powdered bitumen and turps
I thought it was a lacquer like enamel. several coats. I'll look up tthe process. I guess its different for furniture as opposed to metal finishing.

Japan black. Traditional finish for iron or steels. Very interesting, i'd no idea bitumen was an ingredient.
 

Stan

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Thank you all for your thoughts.

@steve355
That is a lovely job you made of your plane - good inspiration for me. My innermost nerd/woodelf/whatever shies away from doing anything that seals this plane's fate. It has lasted 100 years so far. Even if I don't fully return it to working status, I don't like the idea of doing anything that prevents somebody in 50 years time from doing so.

Thank you for the offer of the parts, but I don't have the right size taps/dies. I have a good-size metric set, and a whitworth set is on order for something else. I think I will try making new parts from steel rod, probably in the nearest metric size.

@Jacob
{ winces in mental pain }
If if was just a case of getting a working No3 I would break up this one for spares and buy another. I think I will use this as an opportunity to expand my skills at minimum cost, with the aim of returning the plane as near as possible to original.

@Orraloon
I like your idea of gluing in a slice of wood. An exact match won't be possible, but a near match will become part of the plane's life history.
 

okeydokey

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Sorry for so many words (Ive time to spare at the moment) hope some of it is helpful to you.
Why not try and wiggle the bottom part of the handle off by picking out the rusty and debris - then when its off you may be able to get a pair of mole grips on the metal shaft/rod/bolt bit thats left applying some heat to the shaft and try to tighten/loosen you might crack the rust joint and move it/unscrew.
Then depending on how you want to play it -
and I see you have the brass nut that goes to the top of the handle remove it by unscrewing and tapping out from the inside at the same time

glue the parts of the handle together as it looks as if it's been used when broken the surfaces wont mate together (as they will have rocked against each other) so I suggest flattening both with a rasp/file/rub on sandpaper on a flat surface and if you've only lost a little in height glue all together - as in this case it doesn't have to work or be the makers original height. Or 1/8" wood slither shaped exactly to size before gluing both together. Maybe best not insert a slither of wood.
gently polish the brass nut don't go mad with it it doesn't want to end up gleaming at you
then the metal rod situation depends on if you've managed to get the end of the rod out - either accept Steve555 kind offer or just saw it flush buy a small length of steel rod (not too large diameter even a steel knitting needle would do) and drill a hole about the diameter of the steel rod and araldite it to the base. Put the handle over the rod and see how long you need - cut it off and then drill a similar small hole in the brass nut double check it all fits well push on and glue. So, you end up with a repaired handle with gently polished nut and fixed to the body.
Re the round handle at the front. It looks fragile and might collapse if you manage to undo the screw/bolt strongly suggest consider leaving as is perhaps infill the cracks with araldite crystal colour it dry's transparent. Then gentle polish the brass front nut. Then clean/sharpen other parts to whatever standard you feel it needs and I suggest a final clean/polish all over with renaissance wax polish.
 

thetyreman

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in my opinion it's not worth making a japanning solution unless you plan on restoring it to original working condition which you stated you aren't.

I would simply try and put it back together with some epoxy for the handle, and probably clean it up with boiled linseed oil and steel wool until it looks acceptable, that's the best you can do, personally I would restore it to working condition and accept steve's generous offer of the shaft at least, that will make it look more like a working plane.
 

steve355

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Thank you all for your thoughts.

@steve355
That is a lovely job you made of your plane - good inspiration for me. My innermost nerd/woodelf/whatever shies away from doing anything that seals this plane's fate. It has lasted 100 years so far. Even if I don't fully return it to working status, I don't like the idea of doing anything that prevents somebody in 50 years time from doing so.

Thank you for the offer of the parts, but I don't have the right size taps/dies. I have a good-size metric set, and a whitworth set is on order for something else. I think I will try making new parts from steel rod, probably in the nearest metric size.

@Jacob
{ winces in mental pain }
If if was just a case of getting a working No3 I would break up this one for spares and buy another. I think I will use this as an opportunity to expand my skills at minimum cost, with the aim of returning the plane as near as possible to original.

@Orraloon
I like your idea of gluing in a slice of wood. An exact match won't be possible, but a near match will become part of the plane's life history.
Stan - its a 3/16” steel rod - plenty on eBay. If you have BSW taps and dies coming just check the existing bolt with a thread gauge. It may be an American thread but they are almost the same as BSW. If you want to fit the brass screw on the top it will need to be imperial if you don’t want to mess with that.
 

IWW

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Stan - its a 3/16” steel rod - It may be an American thread but they are almost the same as BSW. If you want to fit the brass screw on the top it will need to be imperial if you don’t want to mess with that.
It's not 3/16" on any Stanley of that vintage, it's 7/32". You might get a thread on a 3/16 rod to hold, but it'll be rather wobbly, I suspect.

As for the pitch, it's 20 tpi and yes NC form, not BSW, but you can interchange them on a loose fit. What you really need is a "12-20" tap. These are available, but not carried by most providers of regular taps & dies. This mob in the US has them at a reasonable cost, but postage will add considerably to that. There is also the problem that the taps are regular taper and you really need a bottoming tap for the stud hole in the base. You can grind down a regular tap & pursuade it to do the job.

I'd not try to remove the stud if I were in your shoes, if it's thoroughly rusted in there's a high liklihood the rusted shaft will shear if you try to tun it, & that will create an even bigger headache for you. Leave it in situ & clean it up as best you can - if half the metal is still sound it will hold adequately as long as it's kept tight.

From the pics it looks like the break is too mangled to get a really good repair, if you manage to get the stump off in one piece you might be able to get it to glue up, but it's next to impossible to get good adhesion on an old surface like you have & in any case the repair will be obvious from 20 feet away (though you say you don't mind it being obvious). In situations like this I cut a clean surface on the remaining wood, glue on a piece of matching wood & re-shape the handle (This one was a bit easier to deal with than yours) :
RepRosewood tote red.jpg
The wood on your plane will be Brazilian rosewood, which is no longer legally traded, but other Dalbergias are still available & can be a close match if you select carefully.

I commend your approach of not doing anything too radical when you have limited experience of plane restoration. From what I can see, it's a pretty straightforward job for an experienced person, but without the sort of gear I have access to, it is not so easy. If you were within driving distance I'd be happy to help you out, but it's rather a long drive & a bit too much water in between us for that....
:)
Cheers,
Ian
 
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steve355

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There you go, Ian sounds like he knows what he’s talking about 👍

Mine is definitely 3/16. And Ian has just explained why it is indeed wobbly.
 

Agowood

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London tap and die company stock taps and dies for all UNC and UNF threads and their service has always been exemplary.
 

bazzason

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Any reason to not let all the metal parts sit in an electrolysis bath overnight? Would deal with most of the general rust without having to sand and remove material and perhaps help with that stubborn rod in the handle.
 

Scarlet Lancer

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It's not 3/16" on any Stanley of that vintage, it's 7/32". You might get a thread on a 3/16 rod to hold, but it'll be rather wobbly, I suspect.

As for the pitch, it's 20 tpi and yes NC form, not BSW, but you can interchange them on a loose fit. What you really need is a "12-20" tap. These are available, but not carried by most providers of regular taps & dies. This mob in the US has them at a reasonable cost, but postage will add considerably to that. There is also the problem that the taps are regular taper and you really need a bottoming tap for the stud hole in the base. You can grind down a regular tap & pursuade it to do the job.

I'd not try to remove the stud if I were in your shoes, if it's thoroughly rusted in there's a high liklihood the rusted shaft will shear if you try to tun it, & that will create an even bigger headache for you. Leave it in situ & clean it up as best you can - if half the metal is still sound it will hold adequately as long as it's kept tight.

From the pics it looks like the break is too mangled to get a really good repair, if you manage to get the stump off in one piece you might be able to get it to glue up, but it's next to impossible to get good adhesion on an old surface like you have & in any case the repair will be obvious from 20 feet away (though you say you don't mind it being obvious). In situations like this I cut a clean surface on the remaining wood, glue on a piece of matching wood & re-shape the handle (This one was a bit easier to deal with than yours) :
View attachment 137523
The wood on your plane will be Brazilian rosewood, which is no longer legally traded, but other Dalbergias are still available & can be a close match if you select carefully.

I commend your approach of not doing anything too radical when you have limited experience of plane restoration. From what I can see, it's a pretty straightforward job for an experienced person, but without the sort of gear I have access to, it is not so easy. If you were within driving distance I'd be happy to help you out, but it's rather a long drive & a bit too much water in between us for that....
:)
Cheers,
Ian
I very much like both methods, I have used both planting on a matching piece of timber and cleaning up and re-using the two original parts. I clean the two surfaces with a hard scrub of a wire brush, then I wash all in 98% surgical spirit indeed I use it for all delicate cleaning jobs down to welding.
 
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