Rev-O-Noc Renewal

Rev-O-Noc 5C in pretty rough condition

I can count on one hand the number of planes I’ve refinished (vs. restored) over the years, but this Rev-O-Noc 5C jack plane had some issues that made an anti-rust dip and repainting the best course of action.

Disassembled for assessment

The entire body was a rustbucket with very little japanning remaining. The lever cap fortunately looked worse than it actually was, and while the cap iron was salvageable, the Rev-O-Noc iron had some pretty deep pitting on the business end. While I was able to sharpen through that, there was something off with the temper of the blade that I didn’t like, so I added a Vaughan & Bushnell iron I had on hand that’s better suited for use. The break in the tote was clean, so I epoxied it back together and then spent the better part of a week refinishing it to match the knob. The repair turned out really nice and is completely invisible.

Repaired Tote came out incredibly nice

HSB Rev-O-Noc was a store brand from Hibbard, Spencer, Bartlett & Co., a Chicago hardware dealership that formed in 1882, but whose origin dates back to at least 1855 in the form of Tuttle, Hibbard & Co. In 1932, the company introduced a new line of hand tools under the brand name “True Value” and by 1948, Hibbard’s annual sales reached nearly $30 million. Business slowed and profits shrunk, however, as new hardware cooperatives began to bypass traditional wholesalers. In 1962, the company’s owners sold both the hardware operations and the “True Value” brand to John Cotter for $2.5 million. Yes, that’s the True Value brand we know today.

Also interesting, the name Revonoc is the reverse spelling of Conover. Conover was the name of an officer of the company, and apparently had a separate hardware company prior to joining Hibbard, Spencer, Bartlett & Co. They used this backwards spelling of his name for their brand of planes sold by HS&B from about 1920-1940. They were made at times by both Stanley and Sargent, but this one is clearly Stanley made based on the casting, frog, and hardware.

As far as I can tell, this plane likely falls somewhere closer to 1920 given the short knob and small adjustment nut. Of course, it’s also possible it’s an earlier plane and the Revonoc blade was a later replacement. I just don’t know.

Despite a gnarly looking rust damaged sole, the mouth area was in decent shape and the plane functioned true to Stanley’s level of excellence. Once everything was cleaned up, oiled, reassembled, and tuned, this old plane shaved wood like a champ, producing some wispy thin shavings with no effort at all.

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Restoration completed, sharpened and tuned for use again

About Bryant
Bryant is a business management and organizational development executive with over 20 years’ experience focused on financial and operational efficiencies, talent development and optimization, improved employee engagement, and cultural alignment of teams within the organization. He has diverse experience in successful financial and strategic planning, brand management, leadership analysis and talent development, as well as designing and executing improvements to teams’ cultural efficacy and organizational alignment. Bryant has experience in both International Public S&P 500 Corporate and Non-Profit Sectors, and also runs his own entrepreneurial business venture, a consulting company specializing in helping small businesses and organizations improve operational efficiency, leadership development, and employee engagement . Bryant holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) and a Bachelors in Fine Arts (BFA).

4 Responses to Rev-O-Noc Renewal

  1. Michael (Willy) Williams says:

    Hey VT, I have a Revonoc (Conover) No. 3c in decent shape. 95% Jap and both knobs in great shape. Full original iron and no chips. Any clue on value??? I’m enjoying your posts. Thanks



    • Bryant says:

      I think it would be in line with most of the other store branded Stanley and Sargents. Probably $30 or $40 tops. EBay sold prices are always a good source for market value.


  2. Tim says:

    I have a bailey n05 I picked up a few years ago. The patent dates are March 25-02, Aug 19-02. Since all the time at home lately I am thinking of restoring it for use. I have no idea of the value. The handle is broke but has been glued and the knob has a small split. Bedsides that just a lot of surface rust and a deep cleaning should bring it back in shape. Should I restore it? If I read your information right it was made somewhere between 1902 and 1907. I don’t want to purposely destroy a piece of history. No telling where and how often it was used. Should I leave it as is for a conversation piece?


    • Bryant says:

      I guess it depends on your definition of restore. I restore these planes all the time, to remove rust and preserve them for future use. I don’t use destructive methods, like anti-rust dips or electrolysis. I carefully clean them and make them usable again. There are millions of these planes, and the value is usually in the $30 to $60 range, give or take. Given the broken tote and cracked knob, yours is on the lower end of that range. I can’t tell you what to do, but if it were me, I’d clean it up and make it usable again.


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