... de-rusted and inspected, as can be seen in the photo above, it is time for the next step. All parts of the plane are shown in the photo except the knob and tote. These wood parts are being stripped and refinished and will be installed later.

All parts cleaned and de-rusted.

The next thing that needs to be done is to determine that the sole of the plane is flat. This plane still shows the pattern of the original factory grinding so no work needs to be done to the sole or the sides. You can check the flatness of your plane’s sole using a good quality, (such as Browne & Sharp or Starrett), steel scale, commonly called a rule, and a feeler gage.

Checking the sole of the #5 for flatness.

As shown in the photo above. In the machine trades we use scales not rulers. If you can get a feeler of more than 0.005″ between your scale and any point on the sole of your plane you should consider flattening it.

For a better straight edge than a scale consider these. To get a feel for what is needed to flatten a plane sole watch this video.


Flattening the sole of a hand plane is a job that requires a little skill. If not done properly it can make the sole of your plane much worse. I don’t recommend this job be done by the average woodworker. If the sole of your plane is not flat within 0.005″ – 0.006″ I recommend that you send the base casting of your plane out to a professional machinist to have it ground. For this job I can recommend Tom Bussey. I have used Tom’s service on numerous occasions and can recommend him highly.

If you want to repaint your plane do it before you send it out to be reground. You will need to strip whatever remains of the original finish using a strong paint stripper.

I have used Dupli-Color ceramic engine paint for many years and can recommend it. If this is your first plane don’t spend time making it look pretty. That time is better spent getting the plane into service and learning how to use it. It will not work any better with a shiny paint job.

Once the base is flat we can turn our attention to the frog. Flattening the surface of the frog where the iron/capiron assembly seats is an operation that most all plane refurbishers recommend. This video will give you all the information needed to flatten the face of your planes frog.

Frog and base mating surfaces marked “M”.

Continuing with the work on the frog the next operation is to make sure that the mating surfaces of the frog and the plane base make good contact with each other. These are the surfaces marked “M” in the top photo above.

There will be machining marks on these surfaces but they should not be too rough. The frog should set on the mating surfaces of the base without rocking in any direction.