Wednesday 12 October 2016

Another Wooden Jack

The queue of unfinished tasks is getting longer.

Time to spent my shop time with small tasks these days.

One of these tasks was rehabbing another wooden jack.

There are a lot of things I would like to do, but somehow the shop time was little the last weeks. And if I had time I've spent it with some small tasks from the list.
Several planes are waiting for rehab. Some of them just need a cleanup and a sharpening. Others require some more work. So the one I will report about today.
Unfortunately I haven't made 'before' pictures. Anyway, lets see what's going on.

On our tours over the flea markets this season I have found another wooden jack plane (Doppelhobel in German). It was not in worst condition but had some major issues.

The sole was not flat and had some scoring
The back horn was loose
The coating was damaged
The body was full of paint residues
The iron was rusty and the cutting edge out of square
The chip breaker was rusty too

The above list sounds worst than it was. As I have done all this a few times this year it is already something like a routine.

That said I've started with disassembling the plane and cleaning it with some neutral cleaner. 
I have become accustomed to start with the sole. A straight edge showed that the sole was hollow in the middle and somehow out of square at one edge. Beside of that it had some scoring.
The hollow and the scoring have been too deep to just scrape them out. So I have planed down the sole with a #5 plane. Why that? A #5 is big enough to give a nice registration and it has got enough weight to plane down the hard wooden plane sole.

After doing that I have recognized that I have still two issues. The corners were broken and I have fixed it with rounding over the rough edges with a rasp and file. But one corner was broken too much, so I decided to fix it with a patch.

Therefore I've cut down the edge and glued on another piece of Beech.

Gluing on a patch
 It came out like this.....

Final patch

Yes, it is another sort of Beech, but I believe it will do it's job and is way better than a broken corner.

Next stage was to care out the body. As there had been too much paint residues, dings and dents and dirt I've decide to scrape down the origin coating and to replace it with a wax varnish.

The result looks like that.....

New finish

Although the body has got a new finish it doesn't look like new. That was not the goal. I wanted it to look used but to feel nice when touched.

Ulmia jack plane

Someone painted over the Ulmia medallion. Don't know why.  I could scrape of most of the paint.
After refinishing all the parts I have glued in the loose horn. I've used hide glue for this.

The back horn

Last but not least I have cared about the iron. I started with derusting trying out a new method.
Before I started to sand or anything else I put the iron into vinegar cleaner for one day. I've read in a motorcycle forum that the guys are derusting the bike parts that way. That went surprisingly well.
After soaking for 24 hours I rinsed off the cleaner with water and a bit of soap (for neutralization).
Most of the rust was gone and the rusty points have change to a black...mixture?...which was to sand off pretty easily. I'm really satisfied with the result. Then I've oiled the iron for rust protection.

As mentioned the iron was out of square. Question was how to fix that. Yeah I know, easy. Grind it square.
So I digged out my hand cranked grinder and ground the iron square holding it at 90° angle.

Out of square cutting edge

When it was squarish I have established a new bevel on sandpaper (120 grit) and the diamond stones (starting at 150 grit).

Then I have established a 30° bevel and a slight back bevel. And the last step was to polish the whole blade just for a nicer look.

New cutting edge

The very last task is to polish the chip breaker. In my case that's only a light sanding and then polishing it on the stones and to give it a nice polish on the strope.

Mounted chip breaker

Polishing the second iron and taking care that it is sitting pretty well makes the difference.

First shavings w. rehabbed plane

That was my plane rehab project. If you wonder why another one, I will give that one away to a friend of mine, who is not familiar with all this. So I spent this few hours.

The finished plane

Worth The Effort?

I have read the one or the other blog posts about German wooden planes. Some of the guys were asking if it is worth the effort or not, to rehab a plane bought second hand.
From my point of view it is. Let me explain why. 
I was skeptical  about wooden planes mostly because I did not know how to set them properly and first tries have been frustrating.
So my decision was clear not to spent 80 bucks for a new one. By accident I have found the first one on the flea market for under 5 bucks. Man, nothing to lose.
So I have invested some time and effort into my first wooden jack plane (and part 2 here). Since I had set it up properly that's my daily user. I'm not using it for every task. But as I'm working a lot with soft woods it is my plane to go for and a joy to work with.
All that said, I'm for sure not the wooden plane specialist. But guys if you have the chance to get one cheap, buy it. Spent a few hours in your shop and you will see how rewarding that will be.
If you have questions then I would be glad to answer it. Don't hesitate to get in contact.

Let me know about your experiences with western wooden planes.

Stay tuned!


  1. Hi Stefan!
    Great rehab!
    I also feel great about wooden planes. I got a few, all came free or at a very low cost, so nothing to lose like you wrote.
    But in the beginning it was hard figuring out it work and now it's almost embracing remember those frustrating/ignorance moments. :)
    My most used ones are the scrub and the jack (English pattern).
    But when comes to the last smooth pass I rely on #4 Record metal one because of the advance mechanisms... or at least until I get Primus smoothing one from Ulmia or CE (that price is holding me back)

    1. Olá António,
      Thanks for your words.
      The same for me. Starting to use it had a learning curve. But honestly it was the same with metal planes. I'm still using my metal planes. From my point of view it is easier to work harder woods like Beech with a heavier plane.
      I found some wooden smoothing planes too. But they are still waiting for their rehab.
      Until now I haven't seen any ECE primus plane on the flea market. I think that is because they are mostly in the hands of professional woodworkers and they won't give it away.

  2. Stefan,

    Good write up. The horned German planes are some of my favorite wood stock planes and can be a joy to use. A wood stock scrub plane wins over a metal scrub every time except if trying to clean up a glue line. The hard glue can groove the sole of a wooden plane.


    1. Hi Ken,
      thanks for your kind words.
      I'm with you. The wooden scrub plane was a real enrichment of my plane set. It is a fixed part in my working process now and eases the process of rough board work a lot.
      With all the finds I had, I was always wondering what the heck people are doing this their planes. Scoring or grooves will be often found on the sole. Now as you mentioned cleaning glue lines things become clearer.

  3. Hi Stefan, getting a wooden plane in this style has looked interesting for a while, so thanks for your experience and the advise on how to prepare it. I'll start watching ebay again - hopefully a few have already made it to the US.

    1. Hi Jeff,
      glad that I could inspire you a bit. Don't know how wide they are spread in the US. But a few readers of the Blog coming from the US, are reporting about their ECE planes.
      So I guess you should be able to find one.
      Let me know how things will go.

  4. My grandfather had bought a Stanley transitional plane somewhere in the 1930s that had been manufactured in 1910. Recently, my dad and I were in the garage and I sharpened the blade and tried it out. Wow! I really liked the light weight and the feel of wood on wood. It felt like I was using a Ferrari. I can really see why wooden planes are still in use. Plus, they often go for excellent prices.

    1. Hello,
      thanks for your little story. That sounds great.
      I haven't touched one of these transitional planes but seen them a few time on several blogs. I like pretty much that the wooden sole of the plane is burnishing the surface while planing. That gives a great finishing.

  5. Schönes Projekt. Ich bin auch großer Fan von Holzhobeln geworden, die sind einfach besser in Hand ( ja, ja, ist Geschmackssache)
    Eine Frage: womit hast Du den Hobelkörper bearbeitet? Schmirgelpapier? Stahlwolle? Schaber?

    1. Hallo Wolfram,
      vielen Dank. Ich finde das Gewicht einfach sehr angenehm. Da ich keine Maschinen habe und somit auch das Holz von Hand abrichte, wird so ein Metallhobel schnell schwer.
      Den Hobelkörper habe ich mit einer Ziehklinge vom Klarlack befreit. Die Stellen die ich mit der Klinge nicht erreichen konnte habe ich mit Schmirgelpaper (120 u. 240) bearbeitet. Anschließend habe ich den Körper zweimal mit Clou W11 Wachslasur farblos gestrichen. Und als letzte Schicht Möbelwachs mit feiner Stahlwolle aufgetragen.
      Viele Grüße

  6. Hallo Stefan

    Sehr gute Arbeit mit das Hobel.
    Wenn ich an der Schiff bin, anwendet ich auch ein Holzhobel (ein Dana). Ich habe zwei blätter dazu, ein mit ein radius als Schrupphobel?(ich kenne nicht das richtige Deutsche Wort) und ein Eisen für anwendung als Putzhobel.


    1. Hej Jonas,
      mange tak. Dein Deutsch ist aber weit besser als mein Dänisch. Schrupphobel ist das richtige Wort dafür.
      Der Holzhobel mit zwei Eisen ist eine gute Idee zum Reisen.
      Das spart auf jeden Fall Gewicht.


  7. I'll try the vinegar trick when I run out of Evaporust.

    1. Hi Ralph,
      I read about the Evaporust in one of your posts a while ago. Then I tried to find a similar product in Germany. There are some out there but bottom line most of them are based on citron acid. So it came that I found in a forum that the grease monkeys are using citron acid or vinegar. But with vinegar essence you have to make sure to use a neutralizer (soap) afterwards. Vinegar cleaner is not as high concentrated. But you will need some patience.

    2. I cab highly recommend the vinegar acid for de-rusting plane irons. See my Video

    3. Wolfram, great video. I'll try the trick with the oven cleaner next time.

  8. Hi Stefan
    Good job and write up on your plane rehab. These older woodies take a bit more time to get the hang of it, adjusting the blade with judicious taps, but it will quickly become second nature. Its both fun and fast once used to it :-)

    There are ECE and German horned planes in these parts, LV sold them for years. They are often referred to as Continental planes, or Germanic horned planes etc. I have a few... of course :-)

    Grosse (no idea what that mean but it look like a greetings :-)
    Bob and Rudy

    1. Hi Bob,
      yes you are right. It took a while to figure out what light taps are :-) But from the moment of understanding this, I was getting familiar with setting the iron pretty quick.
      Languages are going to be pretty international this time.
      I like that.
      Your assumption is right. "Gruesse" means greetings or regards.
      All the best,