Rebuilding planes – Part 2

Following on from Part 1

As I stripped down the Acorn No. 4 first I’m starting to reassemble it first.

The tote handle seems to have stuck together nicely and even the knob looks ok …

Glued tote handle and knob from Acorn No. 4

… so I started trying to straighten the screw that holds it to the sole:

Straightening tote screw in jaws of folding workbench

I used an offcut of veneered MDF to protect the jaw on one side and a small offcut to apply pressure to the other side to try and reverse the bend.

I probably should have binned the offcut long ago but it turns out it’s the perfect dimensions for my folding Workbenches
so I’ll definitely keep it now!

I’ve got it a bit straighter, but it’s not perfect …

Acorn No. 4 tote screw after straightening

… and the screw is pretty corroded so I’m thinking of buying a Faithfull tote screw to see if that will replace it.

Acorn No.4 tote screw corrosion

The knob screw is also pretty bent but as it’s close to one end I wasn’t able to do much about it.

The screw was rotated a half turn between the two photos below, which gives an indication how bent it is:

Bent Acorn No. 4 knob screw

Bent Acorn No. 4 knob screw view 2

Unlike the tote screw and the tote & knob screws on the Stanleys the knob screw is a countersunk head, so attempting  to replace that with a Faithfull part will not work unless I also modify or replace the knob too.

After derusting the plane blades are coming out pretty black in places:

Plane blades after derusting

This decreases to a dull flat grey with the application of a bit of elbow grease with a scouring pad.

I noticed when I placed the Acorn on my granite surface plate that although the base of the sole is pretty flat, the right side isn’t great and the left is really quite bad.

Acorn No. 4 sole on granite surface plate

I’m not too bothered about this – assuming the Stanleys are or can be made nice and flat and square I plan to use this for rough work and break up my first plane (a Draper)
to use the handles on a push block.

At this point I applied a bit of tool wax to the bare metal areas of the sole, blade and chip breaker and buffed them with a cloth. (Any areas where friction between parts is beneficial were not buffed as much, leaving them a bit less slippy)

I refitted the frog by eye and touch – having since checked it with a straight edge and the blade itself, it seems my fingers are a pretty good judge of level 🙂

The frog has a small chip where it meets the mouth, but I don’t think it’ll make much difference.

The sole has paint over areas which look like they should be ground to meet the frog and the mouth looks pretty unevenly ground:

Poorly fitting Acorn No.4 frog

Compared to my Draper this is a precision instrument, but the Stanleys blow it away!

The tote handle went on easily with the (mostly!) straightened screw and the knob seems to have gone on ok despite some pretty pronounced leans during tightening!

Next I fitted the depth adjustment knob to the back of the frog taking care that the little fork located on it correctly.

After linking the chip breaker/cap iron to the blade (bevel down) with the cap iron screw I then located the blade on the lugs for both depth and lateral adjustment on the top of the frog.

Acorn No. 4 plane partially reassembled

I then fitted the lever cap screw and located the lever cap on it.

I’m not sure whether there’s some special way of tightening the lever cap screw to ensure the lever on the cap can still be flattened whilst applying optimum pressure to keep the blade and chip breaker in place.

I just kept tightening until I couldn’t engage the lever any more, then backed off a bit until I could.

Acorn No.4 and tool wax on granite surface plate

The blade has a pretty pronounced convex grind and I didn’t sharpen it yet as I wanted to compare before and after a go on the Tormek

I’ve adjusted the blade by eye and had a play on an offcut. It doesn’t seem too bad, so I’m hopeful it’ll be even better once it’s sharpened.

I’ll probably go into a bit more depth with the adjustment following this guide once it’s done.

My aim was not to make a shiny masterpiece that I’d be afraid to use, but to do a quick overhaul of a fairly decent tool so it can be put it back into service and I’m very happy with how it’s turned out.

It’s not a collectors item, just an old tool that’s given someone years of service and will no doubt give me years more.

Next time I’ll hopefully get one or both the Stanleys rebuilt and do some sharpening …

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