It has been almost 14 months since I bought the collection of wooden planes and I am finally getting around to cleaning them up, at least the wood.
I only want to remove the dirt and grim and leave the patina they have developed over the years alone
Years ago I heard about a mixture of mineral spirits and boiled linseed oil to use for cleaning up kitchen cabinets, so decided that would be what I use to clean up these planes. It is three parts mineral spirits and one part boiled linseed oil. I have cleaned about 25% of the planes I have and it is working quite well. I think the place that shows how well is on the ends, which makes sense because this is where you place your hands so they would pick up the most oil and dirt. I’m not sure you can see that in these two photos (my camera is not the best and it is hard some times to get clear pictures), but in the “after” picture you can see the grain lines or flecks more clearly.
You can see the difference in the photo below. I have cleaned the planes on the lower shelf , but not on the upper shelf. The linseed oil has given them a warmth the were lacking, but probably had when new as I’ve read that is what most of the plane makers in “the day” used as a finish.