Semi modern Stanley England No: 4 ½ wide bodied smoothing plane, fully refurbished and in good used condition, ready to use. Probably around 20 years old, pre how they are now built. When refurbishing planes, we do not merely clean them to make them look good, they are restored to a level that ensures they are actually ‘in plane to 0.025mm’ sharpened, fettled & honed and all the components are thoroughly cleaned so that they move freely. Our planes are specifically reconditioned to satisfy professional tradesmen who will instantly know the difference between buying one of our planes over general other used ones.
What does this mean?
Refurbishment includes the following to upgrade it for suitability for ‘fine woodworking.’
Note: All planes will take a shaving if sharp – It’s what they do to the surface that counts!
- Our soles are lapped flat and tested with a feeler gauge on a Laboratory Grade AA = (40 + diagonal squared/25) x .000001″ (unilateral) grade precision granite surface bed.
- Flattening of the back of the iron, sharpened and honed with a primary and secondary bevel. 85% lacquered to help resist surface rust in humid environments. (Removed on the back when fettling)
- Chipbreaker refinement to ensure the leading edge is as flat as the iron to form a seamless connection between the two components. The curved top is refined to ensure smooth clearance for shavings. 98% lacquered to help resist surface rust in humid environments. (Removed on the from leading edge when fettling)
- Lever caps will have their chrome removed if it’s flaking and clear lacquered to help protect it. Loose chrome will and can inhibit shaving escape.
- All other components are cleaned, checked for period and compatibility.
- Paint replaced if needed to tidy the plane up, handles stripped of old lacquer, repaired if needed and recoated. A clean plane helps with general cleanliness of the hands when handling wood.
All this is done to reduce or eliminate chatter and tear out which means far less work with those cabinet scrapers. Efficiency, quality of your end product starts here and why there is a market for premium quality planes.
This refurbishment process can take 1 ½ hours – 3 ½” man hrs depending on the size of the plane with specialist materials & equipment and much experience. We have carried out this process many hundreds if not thousands of times over the past few years, so take it from us this sounds much easier than this brief description.
We have seen many online tutorials online showing the lapping process being carried out on anything from MDF to a floor tile. The accuracy of the sole affects why fine shavings (1000th of an inch) can feather out to no shaving at all, constant depth readjustments and use of sanding, scrapers etc. Inconstancy between planes also causes further unnecessary work to achieve the final results.
Fettling involves creating two perfectly flat surfaces and refinement of the connection between the two components, this should not be touched once achieved. A plane bought from a novice rarely (never if I’m honest) has this refinement and due to their lack of appreciation of the importance and will usually need an experienced hand to correct it, especially if there is a twist or uneven leading edge to the chipbreaker.
I have extended our descriptions to highlight the efforts needed to match our standards and to explain why as prices rise for general used planes it has caused us to spell out the difference between what we do and others.
Yes, old tools possess good qualities but it takes time, knowledge and skill to make them apparent. It’s not just the plane you are buying!
We have yet to find a plane that we have bought in that we couldn’t improve its performance, these are rare, regardless of how clean they are.