Bob's New (Old) Favorite Tools of 2010

My
favorite tools for 2010 are a couple of vintage Stanley planes, a No. 5
and a No. 3. There isn’t anything special about either one, except for
recent history. My son gave me the No. 5 for Christmas last year, and it
was in near basket-case condition, covered in rust and with a tote that
was broken in two places and missing the horn. Shortly before Hunter went
off to college we were in the shop, and he used my Stanley No. 4, which had
belonged to my grandfather. He looked at it and said, “Wow, that’s a lot
nicer than the piece of junk I gave you.” I told him the No. 5 would
clean up as nicely, when I got around to it.

After
he left for school, I tool the thing apart, soaked it in Liquid Wrench
and made a new tote out of cherry. It was a lot of work, and the iron
had to be replaced as well. A former owner apparently thought it could
be used as a pry bar. Ron Hock to the rescue with a replacement iron, and
it was good to go. I have more hours in this plane restoration than I
would like, but it works very well and I’m looking forward to showing
the kid how it turned out when he comes home in a couple weeks.

While
I was working on the No. 5, I decided I should also get the No. 3 up and
running. I’d had it for a while, but hadn’t taken the time to make it useful. It too had a broken tote, but this was an easy fix, and it wasn’t
anywhere near as rusty. After I fixed the tote I decided to just
sharpen the iron and see how it worked. There isn’t a lot of life left
in the iron, but it sharpened up well, and after about 15 minutes
of flattening the sole it has turned out to be a great little smoother.
After all the labor for the first one, it was nice to get the second in
working order without much effort. In fact I feel a bit guilty about how
nicely it works. I may have to give Ron a call to get over it.

— Robert W. Lang