Turn a Flea-market Find into a Super Handplane

Christopher Schwarz’s new DVD, “Super-Tune a Handplane: How to turn a flea-market find into a fast, accurate and smooth-cutting tool,” is now available in our store for pre-order. I watched the two-day shoot for this video (ya know, just to make sure he got everything right (ha)), and I now feel confident that I can clean up and tune up my grandfather’s vintage No. 3 to get it in fine working order (which I guess means I can spend the money I’ve been *squirrelling away for a shiny new brass No. 3 on something else). First order of business: Order some citric acid powder.

Chris shows you what to look for when you’re shopping for a soon-to-be-user tool (and gives you an idea of a reasonable price to pay), then:
• Breaks the plane down to it’s smallest parts for cleaning, if needed
• Gives you various options for removing years of gunk
• Shows you how to assess and address a variety of common problems with vintage (and some new) tools
• Shows you how to reassemble the newly cleaned and fixed up parts to better-than-new standards

Then, he shows you how to “super-tune” any decent handplane, new or old, to incredibly high standards. (And the one tool Chris recommends fussing over the most is the smooth plane, because that’s the one that touches the wood last).

This DVD is the perfect way to save yourself $325 – if you’ve been coveting the same plane I have (minus the DVD cost and the going rate of a salvageable flea-market plane), and bring an old tool back to life. Or, turn a less-than-premium new plane into one that works like you paid a lot more. Order your copy of “Super-Tune a Handplane” now!

 — Megan Fitzpatrick

* Do not use the interwebs to look up the correct spelling of this word; the first listing under Google should not be viewed at work. Or while eating lunch. Or perhaps never.

9 thoughts on “Turn a Flea-market Find into a Super Handplane

  1. JWatriss

    Squirreling for a LN #3? Well, I might if it was the high angle 3…

    Oh, wait. Money… You’re saving up money…

    Yeah, well, I’d probably do that, too.


    Happy Thursday.

  2. pauls

    Citric acid may be found at home brew supply places and health food stores. I get mine from a decent wine and beer store.

  3. is9582


    While it’s great to tune an old tool so its in tip-top-shape, certain aspects of the plane for which I anticipate you’ve been saving, are worthy of addition if not replacement. The thickness of the iron and chip breaker work wonderfully to eliminate most chatter, and the thickness of the castings minimize flexing. I, too, have some very early 20th century planes in my kit, and they are a blast to use, but the wish list plane can take you to different places.


    1. Megan FitzpatrickMegan Fitzpatrick Post author

      No doubt – but I already have a No. 4 and No. 7 from that line. And they’ve a tool coming out soon for which I don’t have other options…

      1. ghumphrey

        Any hints on the tool that is coming ut soon? I will start saving, too. I have an addiction to that line of planes. Thanks

        1. Megan FitzpatrickMegan Fitzpatrick Post author

          Nope; not my news to announce. That was a tease. A mean one. But do start saving.

          1. woodgeek

            Um, would that new tool be their plow plane, the #52, the compass plane or (ever the tease) the chamfer plane? 😉

  4. Gene

    I found citric acid powder (which I plan to use to make my own Mozzarella) at Jungle Jim’s. I think it was in the Indian section.

    1. wb8nbs

      I am an electrolysis person. Have over a dozen planes restored using that method. It’s easy, five gallon bucket, couple of steel strip electrodes, handful of washing soda and an old battery charger. 1 to 3 hours. I scrub the electrolysed (is that a word?) crud off with a brass barbeque grill cleaning brush which leaves a faint yellow tint on the iron. I think it looks antiquey (is that a word?). One prev. poster stated you get a better blade with a $300 designer plane. True, but you can buy that same cutter for less than forty bucks, and that might be worth it just to not have to spend two hours flattening and grinding a rusted Stanley blade.

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