The origin of this form of tool is somewhat of a mystery,
but it is basically a wood body with an inserted metal blade.
It's normally found in a tool chest as a companion to the
common plough plane; the two often share the same blades.
It saw use for inletting mortises for locks and hinges, and
levelling backgrounds for carvers.
lore indicates that a short section of a stair railing or
banister might be used as a source for the body. Wooden planes
of this type are almost always user made and in some cases
employ highly figured woods, which lend a quiet elegance to
the tool. The wood used in the example above is oak; the plane
on the next page is made of mahogany.