First Shelton Jack Restoration

I picked this plane up at a local flea market one morning. It stood out because it was functionally complete, and honestly in fairly decent starting shape. I wasn’t familiar with the Shelton name at first, and it is no Stanley, but this has proven to be one of my favorite planes in my collection.

This plane I ended up going a bit further with, as I always intended it to be my own and one of my primary work horses.

The day she was acquired

When I first got it home and got to tearing it down, I found no outstanding problems, she even vaguely cut a bit without any treatment. But I still wanted to make it quite a bit nicer.

I immediately got to work disassembling the plane and inspecting its various parts. The hardware was all separated, briefly cleaned and then put into a rust soak. The same went with the sole and frog in a larger separate container.

While the rust soak was going on, I gave some attention to the tote. It was crusty, evidence of a long sit and old urethane. I sanded it down slowly removing the original finish, and slightly modifying the grip for my own hand.

Then came time for a BLO (boiled linseed oil) finish, followed by some paste wax.

Finally, it was time to address the sole. Initially assembled with the work done so far, I could see it was the next thing holding this plane back.

The Japanning was significantly damaged, and since I was not intent on maintaining any patina value in this plane, I decided to do away with the Japanning entirely and paint the sole.

It started with some wire brushing to remove any flaking and ensure I wasn’t covering any issues. Then a coat of etching primer.

Then a coat of enamel brought it all together.

She was starting to look really good, and was ready for final touches. During all of this I was also preparing the frog and hardware, flattening the mating surfaces of the frog and sharpening the iron. I also paid some attention to the mating surfaces of the sole.

The (nearly) finished product was beautiful, and this is how I knew I was hooked on antique tool restoration. The evolution of this plane from beginning to end felt amazing, especially when I saw the product of several hours of attention to the iron.

This plane was shaving whispers off of boards, and leaving glass-like surfaces. Incredible to someone who was setting one up sincerely for the first time. I couldn’t get over it.

A small amount of work remains to finish the tote knob but otherwise, this plane is already in action as my primary Jack.