How to Clean & Oil Your Antique Molding Planes

//How to Clean & Oil Your Antique Molding Planes

In my above video I show how I clean and oil my antique molding planes. Of course, this method can apply to any wooden hand planes. clean-oil-refurbish-molding-planes-01 My friend was kind enough to give me about 65 antique molding planes (thanks Bill!). Instead of spending a ton of time refurbishing them all right now, I thought I’d simply clean and oil them, and refurbish a plane when needed. clean-oil-refurbish-molding-planes-02 I like to use boiled linseed oil (if you can’t find it at a local hardware store, you can buy some here). Yes, BLO takes awhile to dry completely (1-3 days), but it’s not a big deal since these planes will sit on my shelves for a few weeks before I use one anyway. And yes, boiled linseed oil can darken over time. But I actually love the historic look of darker molding planes. clean-oil-refurbish-molding-planes-02-b After oiling the molding plane body I oiled the top of the wedge, where the previous owner’s oiling job stopped. I also rubbed mineral oil on the molding plane iron (blade). clean-oil-refurbish-molding-planes-03   Now doesn’t that look beautiful? Yes. The answer is yes. clean-oil-refurbish-molding-planes-04   And now compare it with a dusty old molding plane: clean-oil-refurbish-molding-planes-06   Ahhh, such satisfaction… clean-oil-refurbish-molding-planes-07  After 10-20 minutes make sure you wipe the surface with a dry cloth or paper towel to remove excess BLO and to buff the finish a tad. ***Warning: if you decide to add wax to any wooden plane, make sure you keep the wax out of the insides of the plane. Wax will prevent the wedge from sitting tight. Just think suntan lotion. Keep it on your skin and out of your mouth and any other orifice! clean-oil-refurbish-molding-planes-08

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About the Author:

Joshua loves mixing his passion for traditional hand tool woodworking with his ability to teach in a simple manner. He lives on a small farm in Earlysville, Virginia with his wife and four children, and builds furniture in his workshop / woodworking school.

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That’s some friend, what a gift! It’s good to have friends like that and I envy you. I noticed in the video the way you hit the plane on the heel with your mallet to release the iron, it’s contradictory to what I’ve heard elsewhere recently (that’s the proper way for a regular plane but not molding planes). The advice I’ve seen says to strike the top of the toe against a hard surface (bench top, say) but never strike it on the heel since molding planes are more fragile than surfacing planes. I’ve committed the same error and can… Read more »


Way back when I was collecting tools more eagerly we were told to make a mixture of linseed oil, turpentine and , I think, vinegar. This was the approved cleaning solutions for really old, greasy or blackened planes that hadn’t been looked after in 75 years. I think that’s what I remember. I still have some of the solution, 30 years old, but thickened up and rather useless. I’m looking for some support for that old theory, which I may have remembered incorrectly. I’m surprised that there are websites about old tools.I’m a bit out of touch with my old… Read more »

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