The trouble with hand planes is that, in using them, they invariably get dirty. The consolation is, keeping them looking like new is pretty straightforward.

The bodies of our Veritas® planes are ductile cast iron and come treated with rust preventative. Remove this with a rag dampened with mineral spirits. Clean all machined surfaces, including the area under the nose and the toe itself, as applicable to your plane. Other plane manufacturers may ship their planes with lacquer on the blade, sole and cheeks. If this is the case with your plane, you should take it off.

 
 

We recommend that you initially, then periodically, apply a light coat of paste wax to seal out moisture and prevent rusting; this also has the added bonus of acting as a lubricant for smoother planing. Wipe off any wood dust from the surfaces that you will be waxing, apply a light wax coating, let dry, then buff with a clean soft cloth. At the same time, the solvents in the wax will remove any harmful oils left from your fingers that can lead to corrosion. This is especially important with planes that are gripped on the machined surfaces, such as block planes and shoulder planes.

If storage conditions are damp or humid, planes should ideally be wrapped in a cloth or stored in a sack, such as a plane sack. This precaution will also guard against dings and scratches. Keep in mind that both paste wax and a plane sack contain silicone that, if transferred to your workpiece, could cause finishing problems such as "fish eyes". To avoid this problem, use silicone-free products, such as Protec Tool Wax or TopCote® table and tool surface sealant, which are excellent alternatives to regular paste wax. However, before treating a plane with TopCote® sealant, wipe off any fingerprints with a cloth dampened with a small amount of light machine oil. Remove any residual oil, then apply TopCote® sealant to the plane's sole and cheeks.

Every so often, take the plane apart to clean and lubricate it where necessary. Remove the lever cap, blade and adjustment mechanism and, where applicable, also remove the frog from the body and the cap iron from the blade. For block planes and shoulder planes, remove the toe from the body. Clean all parts with a cloth dampened with a dab of light machine oil. The blade bed, cap iron and machined contact surfaces between the body and frog or toe, as well as the adjustment components (pivot, threaded shaft and traveller), will benefit from a light coat of oil to keep them working freely. For corroded plane bodies, we recommend you first remove the rust with a fine rust eraser, then treat as described above.

The bright finish on the brass components can be maintained as above. If a patina finish is preferred, simply leave the brass components unprotected until the desired level of oxidation has occurred, then apply a sealant. If you want to make them bright and shiny again, you can revitalize the surface with a brass polish.

The rosewood knobs and handles have a lacquer finish and should require nothing more than a wipe with a clean cloth from time to time.

- T.R.S.
02/04

 

 
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