Lee Valley Tools Woodworking Newsletter
Vol. 3, Issue 1
September 2008
Featured Patents

Unusual Kimberley Patent Planes

Kimberley planes

The problem with wooden planes is that they are always subject to shrinkage and expansion due to fluctuating humidity levels. When there is a drastic change in humidity, it is probable that shrinkage and cracking occur or that the wedge becomes loose and ineffective. An early English prevention method was to completely immerse a new plane in boiled linseed oil (stopping up the mouth) until it could not absorb any more oil. Of course, this considerably increased the weight of the plane, and darkened its color. It was thought that the oil filled the wood's cells and prevented any further dimensional changes.

The marriage of wood and metal in early plane manufacture resulted in a tool that has today been referred to as transitional. This material union enabled traditional plane makers to enhance their product offerings and, in some cases, use new materials and methods while respecting traditional plane styles and usage.

Kimberley planes

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