I saw an old hand plane in a used tool store and figured I would have a go at restoring it. I think the before and after speaks for itself. One quick note: When looking at old hand tools to restore, exam them before purchase to make sure no major parts are missing or are too badly damaged.
Step 1: Disassembly
Start by taking apart the hand plane and note any broken parts or pieces. Also make sure and note if any parts are missing. If you are missing any parts shop around to find replacements. In my case the handle was broken so I knew I would have to make a new one later.
Step 2: Cleaning & Polishing
This is the bulk of where the work takes place. I started with the main body of the plane. I opted to sandblast away the old paint. This makes pretty quick work of it. A wire brush or wire wheel in a drill would also work well. The brass parts I polished on a buffing wheel along with steel parts. I also took some time to make sure the iron (blade) was razor sharp.
Step 3: Fixing Broken Parts
On my plane the back handle (tote) was broken. I traced the old handle and cut out a new handle from a piece of cherry. Shaping it, sanding it smooth and it was ready for a clear coat of spray lacquer.
Step 4: Assembly
Once all of the components were polished and cleaned up I laid all the parts out. Then all of the pieces could be but back in reverse order from when I took them apart.
Step 5: All Done!
Aside from it looking 100 times better than when I started it now functions better than brand new!