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Question

I'm restoring a Record #07 hand plane (see Images section below). I plan to use electrolysis to clean the rust out of the nooks and crannies, and I suspect doing so might also attack the paint, which I would have to repaint.

So, the topcoat of the paint looks to be Roundel Blue paint made in England. But I'm struggling to match it closely from the U.S. side. I would rather not randomly buy paint from overseas (with shipping costs) that look correct as presented by a website, but when actually put to use, don't look all that good, leading to having multiple cans lying around and wasted money and time. I don't mind the shipping cost really, but want to avoid guesswork if at all possible.

The conclusion I have found from my research (see details below) is that the type of paint, a British Standard colour BS110 that was produced by the R. J. Stokes & Co. Ltd. company in England is no longer in production.

How do I identify a U.S. vendor for this particular paint so I'm pretty much guaranteed of matching it, both in its color qualities, but also in its toughness with this particular application?

There is a reference to a "United States the federal spec number for Record Blue is FS 595 15056. Can anyone confirm that it is an exact, or close enough, match to the original Roundel blue?

Details

Rather dated (as of 2020) information below:

At https://www.mig-weltding.co.uk/forum/threads/record-blue-paint-code.32682/#post-357433 (Apr 20, 2012) we see:

'Record Blue' is actually a British Standard colour (BS110, I believe). It was also known as Roundel Blue around WWII time, as that was the colour of the blue in the RAF roundel. Stokes Paint in Sheffield certainly do sell it, as I bought some from them about a month ago for just the same purpose. I also got some Zinc metal primer from Stokes, as it's the recommended first coat.

At https://www.recordhandplanes.com/dating.html (guessing Dec 3, 2009 due to Internet Archive's cache of this page at https://web.archive.org/web/20091203193328/https://www.recordhandplanes.com/dating.html) we see:

PAINT COLOUR

The planes with a painted finish were advertised in catalogues as Record Blue but the shade did vary over the years. The spokeshaves which had their numbers prefixed by 'A' were made of malleable iron and painted red. Cellulose paint was used pre WW2 and subsequently stove enamel. The name Record on bench plane lever caps was highlighted in orange throughout most of the production years but was omitted from the early 1990's. Early block planes prior to WW2 also had Record highlighted in orange on the lever caps. It is said that the choice of the original blue came from the outer ring of The Royal Air Force roundel, such as in an archery target.

The supplier and manufacturer of the paint to C & J Hampton was R. J. Stokes & Co. Ltd, Sheffield. The original paint colour was known as Roundel Blue, then Hamptons Blue and later as Record Blue. The reference number for this paint is "BS 110 Roundel Blue". The BS refers to British Standard and is one of the colours from the very old BS381C range. Originally the paint was a traditional solvent bourne stoving enamel. Over the years the paint was re-formulated several times to reduce the solvent content and work at lower oven temperatures. For the last number of years there were two separate paint lines. One was an Epoxy Polyester power coating and the other a Waterbound dip coating, both of which were still stoved. This virtually eliminated the solvents in the paint. R. J. Stokes and Co. Ltd also supplied the orange paint for the highlighting of Record on the lever caps of the hand planes and block planes. The red paint on the spoke-shaves and the green paint for the Calvert Stevens Plane No. CS 88. Needless to say all this paint was developed and produced in Sheffield by

R. J. Stokes & Co. Ltd.

I would like to thank Mr James Stokes for all his help and time in getting this information for me.

The R. J. Stokes & Co Ltd web site is www.rjstokes.co.uk

In the United States the federal spec number for Record Blue is FS 595 15056. This number is a part number for Irwin Tools (US) Not sure if this is the later lighter blue colour that was used by Record/Irwin Tools.

I would like to Thank Mr Paul Hook, Virginia USA for this information.

As of 2020, the above link now routes to https://www.spencercoatings.co.uk/toll-paint-manufacturing/ which seems like a holding company or something. I contacted them about this particular color yesterday, and they replied with:

I’m afraid this product has been discontinued.

At http://colorserver.net/showcolor.asp?fs=15056 we have what I believe to be what "FS 595 15056" is referring to but can't be sure.

Images

Record #07 hand plane

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    If you're repainting from scratch you don't have to be that fussy as the colour changed over time (and the spec for Roundel Blue itself changed formula during the time Record were using it!) If you're in the right ballpark nobody but you will ever know for sure. But never mind that, electrolysis doesn't lift paint in good condition ....not undermined by rust..... so you probably won't have to anyway :-) – Graphus Feb 5 at 18:00
  • Should have said something about this yesterday but I don't think this is a good candidate for electrolysis. Not that it won't work, just not needed. It's in really good shape for its age and what rust is present is very minor. Most everyone I know would just clean it somehow (I'd scrub with a toothbrush and soapy water, others would use MS and a rag, maybe some gentle steel wooling) followed by oiling or waxing. I know a couple of guys who'd just sharpen and go! Me, for a keeper I'd feel compelled to completely refinish those handles but that's the most personal part of plane restoration :-) – Graphus Feb 6 at 12:24
  • @Graphus Thanks! Sage advice as always herein. I do plan to completely refinish the handles. I'm actually not taking your advice tonight, as I didn't see your post until after I started. I'm using a gentle non-vinegar electrolysis with water and NaCL at 900mA @ 9V using my DC power supply. I did notice when I began cleaning the body that there is more rust inside the threads and in places I'd be hard pressed to reach. So I'll see how it goes. I run the risk of spending more time fiddling with restoration than just using the dang thing (personal problem!). – bgoodr Feb 8 at 5:52
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    I know what you mean LOL One thing to put your mind at rest a bit about some hard-to-reach rust like inside the threaded holes on the body casting, there's really little reason to worry about that. I do understand the desire to get rid of every trace of it believe me! I used to be really anal about those holes, and cleaned out all the rust I could by various means, then treated with a rust converter, then lubricated well right down to the bottom before reassembly using a Q-tip. But now I just grease and get on with my life — the rust never gets any worse with grease in there! – Graphus Feb 8 at 8:08
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    P.S. If you haven't started taking the old finish off the handles yet highly recommend you scrape instead of immediately resorting to sanding. You will have to sand, it's a basically a necessity, but getting the finish off purely by sanding is problematical and tends to result in over-sanding in areas. – Graphus Feb 8 at 8:11
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First, don't do this if you want to maintain the value of the item as a collector's piece. You can set it up and tune it and get it working again, but do not remove paint or repaint. This will make it almost valueless for collectors.

If you just want to completely restore it so it looks nice and you don't care about the value, then read on.

Go to any decent paint store and they can scan the colour and give you a close match, as well as recommend the right paint and techniques. I know for a fact the Colour Your World/Dulux stores do this, for example. I can confirm that they will try to match almost any tint, even in oil enamel.

An ideal application of new paint would involve:

  • Strip the existing paint off completely
  • Prep the surface
  • Prime and "etch" the surface (or perhaps the enamel is "self-etching", in which case this is the priming coat)
  • Multiple coats of paint

Each one of these steps will be informed by your choice of paint and primer, and your best bet is to get advice from the paint store folks, or the paint manufacturer.

Be sure to check for lead in the paint prior to refinishing. This will inform how aggressive you get with sand-blasting or sanding, and your cleanup.

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    While 07s don't grow on trees like other numbers they're still a common production plane, and the OP's version is from later, so no collector value. FYI there's a school of thought that you shouldn't prime plane bodies or frogs. They weren't primed originally, and the (invariably dissimilar) colour of the primer has a nasty habit of showing through with wear and chipping, if it doesn't just from the masking being removed :-o – Graphus Feb 5 at 18:05
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    @Graphus re: priming. Fair enough. Most modern paint that would recommended for this might be self-priming anyway. – jdv Feb 5 at 18:26
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    @Graphus re: colour matching oil-based paints; it's a fair question. I'm not sure how much they could cook up a tint for oil-based paint. They could certainly tell you if they had something close. I have a contact inside Dulux, so I could find out how closely they can match tints of those. – jdv Feb 5 at 18:51
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    @bgoodr, a few quick things on the paint. Touch-ups are tricky to do and most people agree they nearly never look right and in order to stand a chance of that the paint has to be a perfect match. And colour aside you might find satin is a little too matt. There's no standard gloss levels for matt/satin/gloss so there's always some uncertainty in this area. Re. doing touch-ups you'd generally use a brush. If you decide to go ahead this is still possible with a spray paint (they can be decanted to a clean jar quite easily). A friend of mine actually did this just last week [contd] – Graphus Feb 6 at 12:27
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    ...during the restoration of an old Record vice. He needed to modify the colour of the spray paint he had to more closely match an older shade Record used since the vice is from the pre-war period. He eventually got it close enough that it doesn't look wrong, although it wouldn't match a fresh sample of the era's version of Roundel Blue. But it does look its age now, which is what he was shooting for. – Graphus Feb 6 at 12:31

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