In Tricks of the Trade

Old wooden planes are usually coated with a layer of grime that obscures their true beauty. I clean them using a homemade solution that removes the dirt and grease without damaging the wood’s patina. It’s made from common ingredients.

Make the solution from 1 part boiled linseed oil, 1 part Murphy’s Oil Soap and 2 parts Minwax paste wax. Pour 1/4 cup oil and 1/4 cup soap into a jelly jar. Then add 1/2 cup wax, a little at a time. Stir while you’re mixing—I use a paint mixer (a metal rod with small paddles on the end) chucked in a drill to speed up the process.

Apply the solution with 0000 steel wool. Rub it around a bit, then remove it with a paper towel. Repeat a few times, then polish with a rag and more solution. –Tom Caspar



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