Maintaining our everyday tools

Sometimes the tools we use everyday are the ones we tend to forget. The paring knife that is the workhorse of the kitchen, but need a sharpen, the file that needs a clean, or the everyday blockplane that just needs some TLC. That was my Veritas everyday blockplane, the workhorse around my house, used to trim this, smooth that. I had forgotten the last time I really gave it a clean. Sure, blades need honing to maintain that uber sharpened edge, but sometimes the other moving parts get forgotten. a bit of sawdust trapped here, some slight surface rust there.

When I opened up the plane, I noticed that the Norris style blade depth/lateral adjustment mechanism barely moved in its housing, some of the planes crevices has accumulated a bunch of sawdust, the toe-plate had gummed up a little, and the sides and sole of the plane had suffered from what one would associate with “patina”, but was likely the odd drop of misplaced glue, and pine resin from a some wayward board. The first thing I did after disassembling the plane was attempt to remove the Norris adjuster. Not an easy task, and I imagine that was attributed to a combination of surface rust, and old lubricant. Once it finally came loose, this was, it seems, the case. Because the adjuster has a hollow inner cavity, it is likely over time that some surface rust would appear. The adjuster shaft also had some surface rust.

The rust I dealt with using some Camellia Oil and a simple kitchen scouring pad. This will get rid of the surface rust, protect the surface, and provide some lubrication for the joint. I used the Camellia Oil to clean the whole inside of the plane as well. If there is tougher surface rust, then I use a 1000 or 2000 grit Silicon Carbide sanding sheets. The adjuster cavity also needed a clean-up:

I performed the same technique on the adjustable mouth,  cleaning off the gunk, then giving it a slight sand.

The last bit of maintenance has to do with the body. Here I use a 2000 grit sanding sheet in combination with the Camellia Oil to remove some of the grime from the surfaces, and on the sole in combination with a surfacing plate.

The end result is a clean, well-lubricated tool, which can get back to the day to day work around the house.



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