Saturday, October 24, 2020

Plane Repair

Stanley Part No. 12-005-8_3-1-03
Blade adjustment thumbscrew bolt

Thanks to my friend, Bob Bain, who provided the necessary bit from an old plane that was getting binned, my beloved Stanley #3 is back in action.

It's one of my favourites, being very light and handy: though too short and narrow for straightening boards, its diminutive size makes it great for getting into slight hollows, and being so small and light it's not very tiring to use.

It was the very first plane I bought myself, and it needed quite a bit of reconditioning then — it had obviously been pretty roughly handled at one time, and both handles had bits smashed out of them, which I patched.

Also, the blade adjustment screw bolt had had its threads munched up, and the brass adjustment thumb-screw itself was very stiff and difficult to use. I used it in this state for years before deciding I really should do something about it.

Stanley use a weird semi-proprietary format for this bolt: it's a left-hand 9/32" 24 TPI American unified form, for those who need to know that sort of thing. Good luck laying your hands on one of those at your local hardware shop, or a tap/die to make your own. Stanley do still sell them as a kit with the knurled brass knob, but they're not cheap, and by the time postage from the USA is taken into account, they're way too expensive. 

Fortunately, they're interchangeable between all Stanley (and Record, I believe) Bailey-pattern planes, and they're so common you're very likely to be able to pick up a junker second-hand for less than the price of the bolt/screw kit and cannibalize its parts. Which is essentially what I did, except that Bob provided the bits for free. Good man.

For what it's worth, I got the new (old) screw out of its housing by cutting a slot in its end with a hacksaw and just unscrewing it with a screwdriver. You could probably do it by grabbing it with vice-grips or something, with some kind of padding on the jaws, but I didn't want to risk damaging the threads.

Friday, October 23, 2020


320 x 260 x 160 mm

I made a box for keeping some gaming stuff in out of some bits of scrap pine tongue & groove and a couple of bits of 4mm plywood.

All in all, I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out. It's more of a utility box than a piece of heirloom furniture, but it will do the job I want it to do without looking too much like an old beer crate or something.

I used a piano hinge for this box. I'd bought the hinge quite some time ago for another project; I don't even remember what any more, but whatever it was, I didn't use it then.

It should make for a good, long-lasting lid that can take a bit of abuse. Not that abuse is very likely, but you never know.

Monday, October 19, 2020


Here are some bits and pieces from one of my most recent sketchbooks.

I like to write little notes to myself, aides-memoire, about new tools or media or whatever, and my impressions of them.

I also write quite a lot of absolute bullshit.

Brush, fibre and ball-point pens

Parker ball-point

6B graphite pencil

Ball-point birds (mostly)

Another Dresser


On to the next project, another dresser restoration.

I've stripped the old varnish off the cupboard door on the right, and the little top curved-faced drawer, and given them a coat of finishing oil. It brings up the colour of the rosewood veneer beautifully, and the whole thing will look pretty luscious, I think, when it's all done. The old varnish is pretty faded and stained, so good riddance to it.

It's going to be a bit trickier than the last restoration though, as there are quite a few fragments of veneer missing, and I'm not sure where to go for replacement stuff. The handles will need attention too; there's only one of the drawer handles that hasn't been broken in the lifetime of this piece, and there's absolutely no chance of being able to buy exact replacements. I'll probably have to make something.

The mirror from this dresser has been transferred to the one I just finished. Whether it gets transferred back again is an issue for a future time.

Friday, October 9, 2020

Recent Productivity


I inherited this old rimu duchess from my friend Sarah. It had had a pretty hard life; the old finish was pretty beaten up, and there were quite a few stains and things that penetrated quite deeply into the wood, but the fundamental structure is still sound. I stripped it down with card scrapers and re-stained it dark to hide as much of the crap as possible, and I replaced the old handles with these ones that I found in amongst my clutter. They're nothing fancy, but I think they suit the form of the thing quite well.

I also scraped down this little side table, also rimu, that Annette found. She has plans for it, I don't know precisely what, so this is as far as I will take it, and the rest is up to her.

I put together this cradle for my Makita electric planer, so that I could lock it into the vice and use it after the fashion of a jointer. It's too small for real accuracy in that respect, but with the addition of a fence I'll be able to use it to get board edges square and that sort of thing. I've used it very seldom, so maybe this will make it a bit more useful.