Monday 6 August 2012
Norris Plane Restoration
So here it is in all its glory my Norris A13! I've never seen one of these in the flesh before but it's in a sorry state.
The handle had a crack which a previous owner had glued and added these side cheeks for extra support. They were prised off with a sharp chisel and the old glue scraped off.
The adjuster was bent and a crack was evident in the side cheek, a typical area to get damaged. the adjuster ran smoothly up and down but need some releasing oil to get the sideways movement going.
I straightened the bent adjuster with careful positioning on the corner of an anvil, nerve racking stuff!
The crack at the top uncovered and old repair and a scarfed in piece of mahogany. The colour match was surprisingly good with the rosewood so I cleaned it up and re-glued it with epoxy resin.
You can also see the full extent of the bent adjuster here before it was straightened.
I cleaned the brass up with 400 grit wet and dry dipped in mineral spirit and used the soft brass brush to clean all the gunk out of the heavy name stamp.
The crack was glued with epoxy and clamped leaving it proud so that it could be sanded flush. I also cleaned up the tarnished metal with 400 grit and mineral spirit, the metal was in pretty good shape (thank god something was!)
I sanded everything flush and smooth working from 120 g through 180 and 240g.
I then applied a rosewood stain all over which returned the colour to a more typical shade of an 80 or 90 year old plane. I darkened the rosewood stain for the rear handle with some black oil stain to even up the colour.
I applied gun blue to the metal sides to dull down the sanding and more particularly the edges which had been linished by a previous owner. I also used the gun blue to tone down the lever cap.
The gun blue makes things go very dark so I adjusted as necessary with the wet and dry 400 g and mineral spirit. The result was very pleasing giving a nice 'old' patination of both metals.
The brass brush had over cleaned the lettering so I filled it with the black oil pigment and wiped off the excess.
I adjusted the colour until the lever cap looked natural.
The seal for the wood was 4 coats of heavy cut shellac which was then cut back with Abralon 600 grit to a matt smooth finish. I then applied a coat of hard carnauba wax to lend some added protection and give a soft sheen to the wood as is typically displayed on nicely worn antique handles.
The rosewood was a pleasant surprise and the cracks were almost hidden.
The last step was to treat the plane to a replacement iron and chip breaker from another Norris plane, making sure it was correct for the period as indicated by the 1922 date on the adjuster lever. This restoration had gone well and I was pleased with the result. It took five hours in total plus the £300 to buy the plane in the first place. Time will tell if it was a good investment although I don't intend parting with this one for a long time yet.