Interesting Woodworking Link

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Episode #14 - Stanley Bench Plane Restoration Part II


My Stanley Bench Plane restoration project is progressing well. All parts have been cleaned of rust using the electrolytic rust removal process described in the prior blog entry. I was really impressed with how clean the parts were after the electrolytic de-rusting process. As a reminder, this is NOT a plane with intrinsic collector value. I am restoring this “user plane” to be used on my bench. Before using any of these processes make sure you do not de-value your plane if it has value as a “collector plane”. The plane body came out of the electrolytic bath sparkling clean. I decided to remove the blue japanning for a couple of reasons. First, I really like the clean smooth look and feel of the cast iron. Second, as this is a user plane, I wanted to see how well I could clean the iron as a reference for any future projects. I had initially planned on reapplying the blue japanning, however, I am now considering keeping the utilitarian look of the raw cast iron. I will most likely “Parkerize” and wax the plane body for protection from rust. The black plastic tote and front knob were cleaned, waxed and lightly buffed. Next step is lapping the sole and sides followed by replacing the plane iron and chipper with a heavier set from Hock Tools. Check out The Craftsman Studio for another source of great tools and Hock Blades!

For comparison, this is how the plane looked before beginning restoration.

Plane body after electrolytic de-rusting and stripping blue japanning.

Close-up of plane mouth and front knob.

View of the plane sole after electrolytic de-rusting.

Close-up in front of the tote showing product numbering.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Episode #13 - Stanley Bench Plane Restoration Part I

Part I - Electrolytic Rust Removal

Step #1 – Cleaning & Rust Removal

A trusty friend in need of some TLC!

Download PDF Electrolytic Rust Removal Instruction Sheet

I have been inspired by a number of resources to start using my hand planes and start on the slippery slope of a hand plane collection. Not the least of whom has been Wayne, hand plane guru. Of course, I have also explored a number of websites including Phil on the other side of the pond and Matt from Matt’s Basement Workshop and Patrick's Blood and Gore.

Most importantly I have come to realize I need these planes to achieve a higher degree of fit and finish. Plus I like the quite sounds of hand tools and the feel of a thin shaving of wood peeling out of the plane mouth. So the focus of this entry will be an old, but not so valuable, Stanley bench plane that has lived in my carpenter’s box for perhaps 25 years. I used and abused this plane for coarse fitting work on decks and fences. I also used it to hand plane a bunch of clear vertical grain construction redwood for a bed that I made for my wife and I almost 25 years ago.

I am hoping I can revive this fellow to take a place on my bench for future work building furniture and cabinets. Along with my small Stanley block plane, these will be the nucleus of my plane collection.

Today I disassembled the plane and started to experiment with electrolytic rust removal on the plane iron and chip breaker. I plan on replacing these with a Hock set (thanks to Wayne for this link!) in the near future. The reason I am spending time cleaning these is because I am going to use them in a multi-sized dowel-cutting jig. Also, I want to see how well this process works before dunking my plane body in the bucket!

The cool thing about this project is that I already had everything in the shop!

Use a brass brush and a 3M grey abrasive pad for final cleaning. Some residual stubborn stains were removed with a bath in glycolic acid. I used Kaboom Shower, Tub & Tile Cleaner.

After the acid bath I rinsed the parts in fresh water and ran them in the electrolytic solution for 15 minutes to neutralize the acid followed by a second rinse in plain water.
After completing the de-rusting and cleaning process all parts were treated immediately with BoeShield T-9 to prevent rusting. WD-40 would be a good alternative to BoeShield T-9.

Refurbished plane iron and chipper
The plane body is next!

Rusted cap screw

Cleaned cap screw after electrolytic
rust removal and gentle buffing
with a brass brush


  • 5 gal plastic bucket
  • rebar pins for anode grid
  • copper wire
  • wire nuts
  • large alligator clips
  • Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (sodium carbonate)
  • 6/12 volt battery charger
  • brass brush
  • 3M grey abrasive pad
  • WD-40
  • BoeShield T-9
  • Drill holes near edge for twisted wire loops
  • Secure rebar with twisted wire
  • Connect rebar anode grid with copper wire & wire nuts

Twisted wire and wire nut securing rebar
to wall of 5-gal plastic bucket

View inside bucket of rebar
secured to wall with twisted wire

View of rebar anode & copper cathode wires

The BLACK (negative) lead is connected to the part being cleaned
The RED (positive) lead is connected to the rebar anode grid

View of the plane iron & chipper
hanging in electrolyte solution
suspended by copper wire

Close-up of rusted plane iron ready to be cleaned

  • Before starting, review the Material Data Safety Sheets (MSDS) for the recommended products
  • Use common sense – if it doesn’t feel right don’t do it!
  • The gases generated are oxygen & hydrogen
  • Do this process in a well-ventilated area away from sparks or open flame
  • Wear gloves and safety goggles / glasses
  • The electrolyte solution is mildly alkaline and could irritate your skin and eyes
  • Wash any sprayed electrolytic solution off your skin with plenty of fresh water
  • Despite some recommendations, DO NOT use stainless steel for the electrodes as the results produce a toxic solution containing hexavalent chromate. Hexavalent chromate is a poisonous and hazardous material that requires special handling and disposal.
  • Click here for a good discussion of why NOT to use stainless steel

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Episode #12 - Thin Stock Ripping Jig

This thin stock ripping jig is modified an article in the 2006 WOOD Magazine’s Best-Ever Woodworking Jigs, Homemade Tools, & Shop Organizers (pgs 6-7).

My jig is made from cherry & cherry plywood and is finished with tung oil, lacquer and wax.

I will be working on a project soon that will require ripping matching thin stock for edge banding plywood. After reading this article, I thought this is the perfect solution to quickly make a consistent quantity of edge banding.

The jig was made from materials from my scrap bin – cherry and cherry plywood. The hardware is from my “miscellaneous nuts & bolts” jar. The only item I purchased was the Miter Slot Hardware Kit from my local Rockler store. You could easily substitute a hardwood runner as illustrated in the Wood Magazine article. I just liked the idea of being able to lock the jig down for multiple cuts.

Making the Thin Stock Ripping Jig

My jig is basically the same as the article with the following modifications.

A small wooden knob was added the slide rail to make fine adjustments easier.

The hardwood miter slot runner was replaced with a Miter Slot Hardware Kit ($3.99) runner from Rockler.

Visit - Woodworking Superstore!

The tip of the registration bar is a 10-24 socket head set screw mounted in a 10-24 threaded Pop-Rivet insert. A compression spring holds the screw in position once it has been set for the saw blade.

The scale is made from a paper inch ruler downloaded from Paper Rulers.

After trimming the ruler to size it was clear coated with spray shellac and glued in place on the registration bar. The Plexiglas cover is from an old broken drafting triangle.

Using the Thin Stock Ripping Jig

The jig is easy to use. Just place it in your miter slot. Adjust to zero with the head of the socket screw just touching the saw blade.

Slide the jig to the rear of the miter slot as far as possible behind the blade. Loosen the large adjusting knob and set the jig to the desired thickness.

The photos that follow will help illustrate the set-up on the saw.

With your stock against the rip fence, slide the fence until the stock is just touching the socket screw.

The saw is now set to rip thin stock of the desired thickness. Now all you have to do is move the fence over each time, touching the socket screw, and rip another piece of stock of the same thickness.

Remember . . . Be Safe!

Use a zero clearance insert &
push block with this jig.

Don’t forget, always use the appropriate
safety gear, blade guards & push block!

Episode #11 - Fibonacci & Furniture Design

The Fibonacci Sequence
1 • 1 • 2 • 3 • 5 • 8 • 13 • 21 • 34

I have been fascinated with The Fibonacci Sequence and The Golden Rectangle for some time. I finally got around to building a Fibonacci Gauge that was featured in WOOD Magazine.

The gauge maintains a constant proportion of 1:1.618 between the points. It is used to help determine visually appealing proportional dimensions. I am looking forward to using the gauge in future projects.

Follow the text below for some interesting history, a fun video from WOOD Magazine demonstrating the Fibonacci Gauge, and some online resources. This was a fun afternoon project which provided some much needed therapy and piece of mind!


Constructed from thin cherry cut-offs from a prior project and finished with 2 coats of Tung Oil and 4 coats of lacquer rubbed out with wax. I found the solid brass binding posts in a little hardware store in Sisters, Oregon.


Leonardo of Pisa, known as Fibonacci [pronounced fib-on-arch-ee], was the “greatest European mathematician of the middle ages”. His full name was Leonardo of Pisa, or Leonardo Pisano in Italian. He was born about 1175 AD in Pisa (Italy), the city with the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. Pisa was an important commercial town in its day with links to many Mediterranean ports. Leonardo grew up with a North African education under the Moors. He traveled extensively around the Mediterranean coast meeting with many merchants learning their systems of doing arithmetic. He realized the many advantages of the “Hindu-Arabic” system over all the others. Fibonacci was one of the first people to introduce the Hindu-Arabic number system into Europe. This is the positional system we use today which is based on ten digits, a decimal point and a symbol for zero.


The Golden Section, also called The Golden Ratio, The Golden Mean and The Divine Proportion was discovered by the Greek mathematician Pythagoras. Later, an Athenian architect using the Golden Section in building design came up with Phi, the number 1.618. Fibonacci made the next leap when he published a book in 1202 called “Liber Abaci”. He introduced a math problem where a pair of rabbits were placed in a field with the provision that they could not escape or die. At the age of 1 month the female gives birth to 2 new rabbits (1 male, 1 female). The female rabbit does this each month for 1 year. How many rabbits would there be at the end of the year? The answer to this question contains a series of numbers (1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55…..). This series of numbers is called the Fibonacci Series. If you look at the ratio that occurs after the number 3, you will see the number 1:618, which is the Golden Ratio.

Fibonacci devised a series of proportional relations [ 1 : 1 , 1 : 2 , 2 : 3 , 3 : 5 , 5 : 8 , 8 : 13 . . . ]. If you look closely, you will see the Fibonacci Sequence. This set of ratios, arrived at by adding the 2 previous numbers together to give the next number the new series, is been used in many aspects of life from architecture, finance, biology and engineering. Nestled in the Fibonacci series are the ratios 5:8 and 8:13 which are the classic “golden section” proportions.


The Golden Section or Fibonacci Numbers can be used to derive pleasing dimensions for any piece of furniture. For example, you have been commissioned to build a table for a client. You decide to use the Golden Rule to help determine construction dimensions that will be pleasing to the eye. The client requires the top to be 20 inches deep. To make the top into a Golden Rectangle, multiply 20 by 1.618 – the result is 32.36 inches. Rounding this to 32.5 yields a Golden rectangle measuring 20 inches x 32.5 inches. Interestingly, if you draw a square within your Golden Rectangle, the remaining rectangle will also be a Golden Rectangle. This principle can be used to scale all the other elements of the table. Ultimately, common sense and your eye should rule over the Golden Section. The Golden Section is a tool that you bring to the bench much like a finely tuned plane, razor sharp chisel or that special dovetail saw.

Construction of a Golden Rectangle
1. Construct a unit square.
2. Draw a line from the midpoint of one side to an opposite corner.
3. Use that line as the radius to draw an arc that defines the long dimension of the rectangle.

Some Interesting Online Fibonacci Resources
Fibonacci Gauge and How to Use It Woodworking Plan Featured in the November 2006 issue
YouTube - WOOD Magazine Fibonacci Gauge Demo
The Golden Mean Gauge
The Golden Number Grid
Fibonacci Numbers and The Golden Section in Art, Architecture and Music

UPDATE: 19 April 2008
For another review of proportional design check out Karson's well written blog entry Golden Mean, Golden Ratio in Constructing Items at Lumberjocks. Karson takes us thru a practical application of proportional design using The Golden Mean to dimension the parts for his Greene and Greene Bookcase entry for the Lumberjocks Bookcase Design Challenge.

Below is a short video clip posted on YouTube from WOOD Magazine demonstrating the Fibonacci Gauge in furniture design.