Lee Valley Tools Woodworking Newsletter
Vol. 3, Issue 5
June 2009
 
Featured Patents
 


G.E. Franklin's Surfacing Plane

G.E. Franklin's Surfacing Plane

Produced in at least two variations, this plane was developed primarily for resurfacing a bottom die block. To manufacture these blocks, short sections of a durable wood species were vertically assembled, resulting in the end grain being used as the working surface. This end grain provided a dense section for cobblers and leatherworkers to use as a base for blocking out soles or other parts prior to assembly. This could be done manually with a hand punch or by using a mechanical (clicking) press. However, the surface eventually became uneven and a clean severing of the material could not be maintained. This tool was developed to simplify the process of re-truing that surface. It has also been described as being used in the re-truing of a butcher's chopping block, which is constructed in a like manner.

Cutting bladesGeorge E. Franklin of Natick, Massachusetts, was granted patent #138,625 on May 6, 1873. It specified that his invention was to be an "improvement in surfacing planes". The patent papers describe the two-step process previously used for re-truing the surface, which involved using a hand adze and smoothing plane. Franklin claimed that when using his new plane, the process required only one step. The papers also describe how two cutting blades were mounted at right angles and in conjunction with an adjustable fence. The surface could be flattened in a reasonable amount of time, eliminating the discrepancies involved when using the original method.

 
 
               
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