found a late model Craftsman #3 plane at a garage sale. It looked
rough, but the tote and knob were intact, so I bought it for a user.
It is a late model, and so it has non-rosewood wood.
was de-rusting the metal parts in an acid bath, I used a cabinet
scraper and some 150 grit sandpaper to remove all the finish and
stain on the tote and knob. I left the finish on the tote in the
next picture so you can see how Stanley does faux rosewood. It ainít
pretty. The grain is totally obscured by the dark pigment finish.
I set to work stripping off all that crud on the tote. Now they were
down to bare wood.
I have no idea what
kind of wood these are made of.
Now comes the fun part.
Mix equal parts of red and blue aniline dye to make a deep purple.
Apply generously to all surfaces.
In the next picture you
can see what the wood looks like after it has been treated with the
purple dye and allowed to dry. It actually looks like rosewood. And
the best part is that the grain of the wood is not obscured by this
dye. It looks very natural.
The purple color comes
alive as soon as you apply a thin coat of garnet shellac. That is
the key to this process.
1/2 ounce of powdered aniline dye with one pint of water. My red is
almost gone, but I have used very little blue. I mixed up these
anilines more than 10 years ago, and they still work just fine.
that aniline dyes are expensive, something like $10 an ounce, but
one ounce mixes with one quart of water, and usually I dilute that
way down to get a color I want on wood. Donít worry that they will
go bad if you donít use them. They wonít. The 2 that get used up
first are always Van dyke Brown and Red.
is time to start applying the actual film finish. I believe
that the original finish was shellac, so I am also applying shellac,
blonde variety. Here is what the tote looks like when
And here is the plane with
its freshened wood.
The late model totes are not so elegant as the older ones are. They
are thicker and clunkier.
This method of refinishing totes and knobs produces a tool that is
much better looking than the original. And it is easy to do.
Jim D. Thompson