Scrub Plane Conversion

I have heard a few including Paul Sellers endorsing the use of a dependable number 4 as a scrub plane.  The suggestion is to grind a good camber on the blade, open the throat a bit, and back off on the chip breaker.  I don’t have a scrub plane yet, so it is time to press an old plane into new service.  There is a big woodworking project coming my way, and a scrub will come in handy.

My subject is an old Stanley No. 4.  I picked it up from ebay and did a rough job restoring it back in the day.  It was my first plane ever, poor thing.  In addition to a scub conversion I wanted to try repainting them.  The black coating on hand planes is called japanning.  The process is a little lost, but some have come up with similar modern substitutes.  I might get into that at some point, till then, I am going with a very modern alternative.  One of my work friends has had some pretty good results using engine enamel.  This is the tack I will take.

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The plane got cleaned and scrubbed as much as possible.  A lot of the original japanning still remains, so this might not be the best candidate.  With the dirt and loose pieces off I taped the sides and plugged all the holes with cut up q-tips.

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The results were ok.  I only used one coat and didn’t bother with the primer.  Next time I will scrub more of the paint off and do multiple coats of enamel.  A lot of traditionalists will probably be unhappy with the paint, but rust is a real issue around here.  Time will tell if the coating holds or not.  Till then, lets move on to the scrub portion of this show.

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I used a 3″ radius to set a pencil line across the back of the blade.  Free handing on the power grinder got the shape close.  A camber roller on my veritas sharpening jig helped hone the rough shape into a nice edge.  The frog mating surfaces got their paint sanded back off, and the throat was filed to allow a bit more clearance.

Assembling the whole thing with the chip breaker moved way back I find a bit of a problem.  The depth setter doesn’t fit well with the chip breaker set so far back.  I could try to grind the chip breaker’s edges a bit to get it all to fit better but I will hold off.  That would be a point of no return.  Tapping with a brass hammer will have to do.  Let’s try it out!

DSC_0407 Resized The planing results were pretty good.  Setting the depth is a bit tricky, but it appears to work as advertised.  Working diagonal to the grain I get thick short curled shavings.  You could thickness a board faster than with a standard jack and trim an edge down in short order.  I approve.

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