Authored By: – RS Woodworks
Part 2 –> Part 3 Coming Soon
With having finished my shooting board, I decided to restore this mitreplane to use with it. Nothing wrong with the LN #62, but I love bringing my antique tools back to life. This mitre plane was an eBay buy some time ago. I got a good deal on it because it has some broken out pieces near two of the dovetails. It has a very thick sole and beautiful dovetailing. A nice large toe area and extended rate section also. It’s quite similar to a Robert Towell infill mitre, but there are some differences and I don’t believe it was made by him, but who knows.
These mitre planes were not originally made for shooting mitres. You can do your own research and there is a good article on “Tools for Working Wood” on this topic. As such, the sole and sides were not made perfectly sure to each other, and I would have to do that work to make it so.
Please follow along in the picture comments.
The mitre plane as I received it. Large toe area and fairly heavy casting, especially the thick sole.
The wedge is not likely original, and is, quite frankly, terrible. It’s very large and might be ok using this plane as a block plane, but will need to be reshaped.
The plane came with a couple bites missing from two areas of the left rear dovetails.
I believe the plane was probably dropped at some point. There was a high spot at the centre of the heel, and the sole was badly out of flat. Referenced on my flat granite top, I could slip a 4 thou feeler gauge easily under several spots.
I start flattening the sole with a large but smooth(ish) file. I mark the whole area with a red marker, and then file in an X pattern to hit all the high spots. Here you can really see the low areas.
A fine old Nicholson file.
Because I’m going to use this plane for shooting, I also have to work on the right side. To flatten it and get it to 90* with the sole. It was not flat and started at about 89.7* to the sole. It doesn’t have to be flat across the whole side, as long as there is enough reference surface to run on. Most of the material would be removed from the sole, as it is far thicker.
After finishing filing, I have the squareness very close. The rest will be done with sandpaper on a flat granite surface.
After filing to get out the majority of the high spots, I turn to a flat granite surface with sandpaper. I just use some extra rolls of 100, 150, and 220 grit I had from when I owned a drum sander. (Glad I got rid of that thing.). The sandpaper is adhered to the granite with 3M spray adhesive, which holds it tight but it not too hard to peel off when it’s time to change the paper. I’m a firm believer that the iron and wedge should be in place when doing this work, with the iron retracted some of course.
I sand up to 400 grit, then clean the surfaces with mineral spirits.
I removed the rear infill but the screw for the front infill is filed flush and there’s not enough slot left to remove it with ruining it or recutting it, so I’ll leave it in place.
Please see the picture comments for more.
Beginning to sand on 100 grit adhered to granite.
Starting to get the required areas flat, toe, heel, and full width across the front of the mouth. We can see how fine the mouth is on this plane.
The same process is followed on the right side of the plane, so it can be used for shooting. The dovetails are becoming more clear.
The sole is nearly there. You can see there is two low spots. I could keep going to remove them completely. But there comes a point where it’s no longer worth the extra work as these areas will not affect use
The dovetail joint on the sole, where the mouth is created, is tongue and grooved together. This is a typical feature of Robert Towell planes, but others did the same I believe.
With the side and sole sanded to 220 grit, I now have a perfect 90* corner. The Wixey gauge is accurate but I double check everything with a machinist square.
Here is the sole now sanded to 400 grit and cleaned off.
Even though I didn’t flatten it and make it square to the sole, the left side of the plane is also sanded to 400. I’m not going to bother trying to fill the missing bits, as it doesn’t affect use and anything I do will likely make it uglier
The right side. There is still a low area in the top centre, but the majority of the surface that will ride on the shooting board is flat, coplaner, and square to the sole.
With wedge, blade, and rear infill removed. The infill is very dark and tight grained mahogany. It is stained from the iron and I will leave it as such.
The bridge looks purposely textured to me. It’s different than the rough casting on the inside of the plane.
The beautiful dark stained mahogany front infill. The cove and bead profile is amazing.
Mr. HHW probably loved this plane, but it looks like a 6 year old scratched the initials into the infill.
This is as much as I will clean up the rear infill. The inside of the casting was gently cleaned as well. The bed is dead flat and coplaner, so I won’t muck with it more.