Woodworking Newsletter
Vol. 1, Issue 1
October 2006
From the Collection
The Walker Plough Plane
Lee Valley collection

Walker plough plane


Edwin Walker of Erie, Pennsylvania, was a most prolific inventor during the latter half of the 19th century in the U.S.A. One of his first patented tools was a series of chisel blades, which fit into a universal handle. This patent was granted in 1884. The adjustable-face Walker Plough plane followed soon after in 1885 and is a celebration of inventiveness and blatant gizmosity. The model shown here is a type 2 which incorporated the pre-shaping of the handle for right hand use.

blades of varying profiles    There was a minimum of 16 double-ended blades made available with the plane.
Missing blade is in plane.

close-up of platesThe plane’s concept was a series of plates that could be aligned to follow the profile of various cutters to produce molding as required by the craftsman. In practice, the adjustment was complex and somewhat frustrating, and there was a tendency for the plates to fall out of alignment. However, as a piece of manufacturing, this plane has all the characteristics of the Victorian age.

close-up of adjustment mechanism    The fine knurling and other careful detailing are a reflection of the pride that was taken during that time period.


The E. Walker Tool Company became the Erie Specialty Manufacturing Company in 1889 when perhaps the best of E. Walker’s 45+ patents were made and marketed. The corkscrew and ice cream dishers (scoops) were the main focus of Walker until his death in 1917.

Walker plough plane


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