Re-Japanning Stanley

Normally I like patina and a used look on my old tools. But this Stanley #3, new around 1915 (Stanley type experts feel free to set me straight), came with gray paint on the bed, which wasn’t right. When I stripped the gray off there was almost no japanning left. So I tried my hand at replacing the japanning on it.


The body prep'd for painting. The two contact areas for the frog are taped off and all five screws are in place to keep paint out of the female threads.

I used a can of primer, and a can of gloss black, both high temperature paints from the auto store.  I followed the instructions on the paint cans – one coat of primer, two light coats of gloss black followed by a heavier coat. The paint instructions stressed that it needed to be baked to fully cure.  For that it called for one hour in the oven at 200 degrees (or the normal heat of being on a car engine block.)

Though you wouldn’t mistake this for an original finish I’m happy with how it turned out. If I do this again I’ll put on another heavy coat of paint.


Here it is after baking at 200 degrees (F) for one hour.


The finished plane, assembled, waxed, and tuned.


About johnjoiner

Computer nerd by day, Dad and woodworker by night. Woodworking blog at
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