A Complete Overhaul on a 604-1/2 C

I’ve been trying to put together a set Stanley Bedrocks for quite some time now.  I’m slowly replacing my Type 11 Baileys.  I recently picked up a 604-1/2 from a galoot on the Old Tools List.  I knew this one would need some work when I bought it.  Here is the picture I saw at the time of sale.


Photo by D. Brown

Now normally I like my old tools to look old, so I usually keep the restoration to a minimum, but this old girl had been ridden hard and put away wet.  I wish I had taken some pictures before I started the cleanup, but unfortunately I didn’t.  I prefer us to use scocthbrite pads to remove rust, but it was just too heavy on this plane, so I tore her down and dumped everything in a tub of citric acid.  it took a good six hours of soaking and brushing with a wire brush to reveal that there was only about 20% of the japanning left.  At that point I decided to strip and repaint it. Citri Strip took care of the remaining japanning, but I had to resort to Naval Jelly on the worst of the rust spots.  I have never repainted a plane before, but a bit of Googling suggested that Dupli-Color engine enamel in semi-gloss black would give a close approximation of the original japanning that Stanley used. I masked everything off on the body and frog and gave her 5 coats.  The side walls had some pitting and of course the citric acid left that grey lifeless look, so I lapped them starting with 80 grit working down to 180.  The sole was nice and flat, so despite the pitting, I didn’t do much to it.  Just a few swipes on some 120 grit.

I put the Hock iron and breaker from my type 11 in there and she takes nice wispy shavings.





All in all I’m pretty happy with it, but I guess I should refinish the tote and knob.  As for the brass, I just can’t bring myself to polish it, I like the patina brass develops.

Now that winter is coming on I’m getting back in the shop, so hopefully I’ll be blogging a bit more often.  The next post will have some woodworking content.  Thanks for stopping by.








Saw Sharpening Class

I don’t consider myself an expert saw sharpener, but I can hold my own with a saw file.   When Chris Schwarz was in Anchorage teaching last spring, I heard one of the students ask him something about saw sharpening.  His response was something to the effect of; ask Jonathan to teach you, his saws are sharp.  I took that as a complement so Saturday (9/20) I am teaching a saw sharpening class through our local club; Alaska Creative Woodworkers Association.  Yup, there are nine folks in South central Alaska who are crazy enough to pay $20 to learn how to sharpen a saw from me!  Of course lunch is included, so maybe they are just coming eat.  There is one spot left, if anyone wants to join us.

Even a poorly sharpened saw cuts better than a dull one!


Estate Sale Finds

It was a beautiful fall day here in Anchorage today, so I decided to hit an estate sale.  The ad I saw mentioned Foley Belsaw equipment, so I figured it was worth checking out.  There was a real mickey mouse outfit running the show, and it was definitely the slowest most disorganized auction I have ever been to.  I ended up spending the whole afternoon, but I think it was worth it.

Here’s what I came home with.

An unused set of USA made Simonds files.


Five boxes of USA made Simonds saw files


Two boxes of USA made Nicholson double cut saw files.


A Starrett micrometer complete with instructions.



A set of leather punches.


Some blacksmith tongs.


A forge blower.  I’d love to learn to blacksmith one day.


Last but not least a Foley 385 retoother. Not that I really need another one but for $10 I couldn’t leave it behind.  Did I mention it came with 2 carrier bars and 5 ratchet bars!!!


The fellow had both a Belsaw and a Foley saw filer, neither of which sold.  There were several other pieces of Foley equipment including a chain saw sharpener, and a grinder, and most of them sold.  There was a Foley freestanding 1″ belt sander that I was interested in, but I quit bidding at $50 and it sold for $70.  If I had a bigger shop, I would have kept on bidding.  It sure looked like a nice sander for sharpening edge tools.

Thanks for stopping by.

Stanley 358 Mitre Box

A number 3 frame with a 28″X5″ backsaw.  This is a sweet tool.  With a sharp saw its almost as fast as a power saw, but no where near as messy or dangerous!  I needed to get some baseboard put down in the bedroom, so I pulled out the 358, cleaned it up a bit a tuned it to cut square and plumb.  This is the fist time I have used it.  Back in 2007 Dad was interested in making picture frames and was looking for a good mitre box.  We found this one at Bill Phillips Tool Barn in New Tripoli, Pa.  Bill must have bought this one at a good price, because he only asked $50 for it.  My wife and I bought it for Dad.  Flash forward to 2014 and Dad is no longer making picture frames, so he gave me the box when I was home to visit last March.  Thanks Dad! The Simonds saw is spotless, with a perfect etch, a nicely blued spine, and nary a chipped horn on the handle.  The box is 100% complete, it even has the often missing length stop and rods.  I noticed Patrick Leach listed a length stop for sale this week in his September 2014 tool list for $50.  When I saw that I knew I got my moneys worth on this box!

Stanley 358 Miter Box

Stanley 358 Miter Box

Simonds saw for a Stanley 358 Mitre Box

Simonds saw for a Stanley 358 Mitre Box

This box has adjustments up the wazoo, which let you dial it in for very accurate cuts.  The table has numerous detents at all the common angles and of course can be adjusted to dial them in perfectly.  The uprights can be adjusted so the saw sits and cuts plumb and the guided can be adjusted so there is no lateral play in the saw.  I’m really impressed with this box.  I was able to slice off consistent 1/8″ thick slices of the pine baseboard I was working with.


I can’t imagine what a box like this would cost to manufacture today.  The 1934 Stanley Catalog lists the 358 at $29.50.  That might have been a weeks wages for a carpenter back in the 30’s.  According to the US Inflation Calculator that is $524.51 in today’s dollars!

Thanks for stopping by.