Volume 7, Issue 6 - July 2013
Is Always Another Way
plane manufactured by the Eclipse Plane Co.
me, the "Aha" moment came in 2006 when I attended
a woodworking forum at Rosewood Studio, a fine woodworking school
in Perth, Ontario. I was sitting with plane maker Konrad Sauer
and furniture maker Craig Stevens, who were discussing the merits
of a plane's fine mouth opening and its application when creating
a piece of marquetry. From the age of seven I was taught to
sand before applying a final finish, so I naively asked why
such a fine opening was a must. Well! Calmly and firmly I was
rebuked in a most gentle manner by both fellows. The irony is
that for at least 15 years prior to the conversation, I had
owned, collected and waxed eloquent on the merits of fine infill
planes. I was no stranger to the fine wisps of shavings produced
in a controlled manner, I had just never put the two applications,
sanding and planing, on equal ground. Most recently, the third
member of the trinity, scraping, has been championed as a practical
method. I find it amazing that I had unknowingly let all of
these techniques pass me by over the last number of years. I
had read the books, bought the T-shirt and playing cards, and
even chewed the gum.
Duncan and William H. Talbot of Buchanan, Michigan, sought with
patent #157,162 dated November 24, 1874, to improve the method
of tilting the cutting device in a plane throat to facilitate
usage. It seems, however, that this patent did not meet with
much success, and on April 7, 1885, another attempt was made
with patent #315,014. This one used a different locking device
for the adjustable blade mechanism, which provided for more
even clamping across the entire surface of the cutting iron.
Somewhat ironic is the fact that the first patent drawing shows
a plane having a regular appearance, and the second patent drawing
shows a plane with two semi-vertical handles. The mechanism
underwent a design change in the form of an improved locking
method for the tilting of the blade. This was no doubt attributable
to the lack of clamping across the entire blade, allowing for
rotational flex. The second patent noted James Duncan as assignee.
A letter of correction was later issued, amending the original
patent papers to include as assignees W. Bostwick, Frank C.
Hay and Jesse P. Forbes. All were listed as being from Coshocton,
This plane was manufactured by the Eclipse Plane Co. of Coshocton,
Ohio, and is considered rare. When one is found, it often has
cracks in the fixed side piece and damage to the lugs that hold
the removable section. The iron is almost 3" wide and,
along with the handle arrangement, provides for a very controlled
and successful attack on large, flat surfaces. Though it resembles
the more common Stanley #112 scraper, this plane is much heavier,
and the footprint is larger causing it to be somewhat more stable
D.S. Orr has been a collector, user and student of woodworking
and metalworking tools and practices for more than 40 years.
Recently retired, he has devoted even more time to these endeavors.
States Patent Office.
James Duncan, of Coshocton, Ohio, Assignor to Himself, William
W. Bostwick, and Frank C. Hay, all of same place.
Specification forming part of Letters Patent No. 315,014,
dated April 7, 1885.
Application filed January 24, 1885. (No model.)
all whom it may concern:
Be it known that I, James Duncan, a citizen of the United States,
residing at Coshocton, in the county of Coshocton and State
of Ohio, have invented certain new and useful Improvements in
Planes; and I do declare the following to be a full, clear,
and exact description of the invention, such as will enable
others skilled in the art to which it appertains to make and
use the same, reference being had to the accompanying drawings,
and to the letters and figures of reference marked thereon,
which form a part of this specification.
This invention has for its object to improve the bench plane
and scraper for which Letters Patent were granted to myself
and Wm. H. Talbot, November 24, 1874, and numbered 157,162;
and it consists in the construction and arrangement of the several
parts, as hereinafter fully described and claimed.
In the drawings, Figure 1 is a side elevation of the plane-stock,
showing the outer face of the removable cheek and an adjustment
of the bit. Fig. 2 shows the inner face of the removable cheek.
Fig. 3 shows the adjustable frame which carries the bit and
bit-clamping plate. Fig. 4 is a side elevation of the plane-stock,
having the cheek removed to show the inner face of the opposite
or immovable cheek and the edge of the adjustable frame. Fig.
5 is the clamping-bolt, which passes through both cheeks and
has its end threaded to fit the threaded opening in the immovable
cheek. Fig. 6 shows the outer face and an edge view of the bit-clamping
plate. Fig. 7 is a vertical cross section of the plane-stock
on line x x, Fig. 4; and Fig. 8 is a detail view on an
enlarged scale to show the joint between the movable cheek and
the flange, the joint being exaggerated to show clearly the
a is the plane-stock, composed of a base-plate a1,
provided with suitable handles on its opposite ends, an immovable
and a movable cheek, a3.
The plane-stock is so formed as to provide a flange, a4,
set slightly in from the outer edge of the base-plate, and against
which the lower edge of the movable cheek fits snugly. The flange
and the movable cheek are jointed together, so as to bring the
outer face of the cheek flush with the outer edge of the base-plate,
and the inner face thereof flush with the inner face of the
flange. The plane-stock and the movable cheek are both so constructed
and jointed by means of tenons and mortises that when brought
together and a small retaining-screw, a5,
inserted, as shown, the said cheek will be held in place. The
joint between the movable cheek is so formed as to permit a
slight movement of the top of the cheek inward toward the plate
d. This construction is shown in the enlarged detail
view in Fig. 8. The cheek by this movement is more easily clamped
against the plate d, and obviates the necessity of springing
the cheek by the clamping-bolt. The slight beveling of the joining
edges of the flange and cheek and the slight enlargement of
the hole in the cheek through which the screw a5
passes permits a movement of the top of said cheek of about
one thirty-second part of an inch.
The plane-stock is provided with a transverse bit-opening or
of common form, to permit the edge of the bit to project below
the base-plate in all planes.
Guide-channels b b1
are formed in the inner faces of the cheeks. These channels
are arcs of circles described on radii having their centers
in the transverse throat a6,
and have their ends arranged near the base-plate, as shown.
They extend on both sides of a vertical line, as x x,
Fig. 4, drawn from the throat a6.
This extension of the guides permits the shifting of the bit
to either side of said line for purposes hereinafter explained.
c is the clamping-bolt, which passes through the cheek
and into a threaded opening in check a2,
d is the adjustable frame which carried the bit and the
The ends d2
are curved to correspond with and are adapted to fit neatly
into and slide easily in the guide-channels b b1.
It is provided with a transverse bit-opening, d3,
made wide enough to receive the bit and the clamping-plate d1.
A bearing-plate, d4,
is projected upward from the frame d, having its smooth
face flush with the side of the opening d3,
and arranged on a radial line having its center in the throat
This plate d4
is suitably braced on its back by a rib, d5.
The bit e lies against the smooth face of the plate d4,
and is held by a set-bolt, d6,
threaded in the upper end of the clamping-plate d1,
The clamping-plate d1
has its face next the bit e made smooth, and on its back are
provided a series of lugs, d7,
so arranged that part of them will be on the upper side of and
the others below the plate d. The clamping-plate is held
from moving vertically by these lugs, and at the same time will
have all the needed horizontal movement of its ends, whereby
it is adjusted to the position of bit e. The adjustable
frame is put in position in the bit-stock by removing the cheek
and placing the curved edges d2
in the guide-channels. The screw a5 holds
the cheek a3
in place after the latter is put into position. The clamping-bolt
c binds the jaws against the edges of the frame d,
and holds the latter in any desired position.
In adjusting the plane the bit-plate d1
is first placed in the slot d3,
and its lugs are properly engaged upon the frame. The bit is
then inserted between the plates d1
and after being set properly is clamped in place by the set-bolt
In this device the operation of setting the bit, whether for
planing or scraping, is very much simplified. By slightly loosening
the bolt c the frame d can be moved to give to
the bit any desired set, inclined or vertical. By taking the
bolt c out the frame d can be moved to throw the
bit inclined toward the opposite end of the stock, as shown
in dotted lines, when such a set is desired.
To convert the tool into a smoothing plane, the bolt c
is arranged below the plane of movement of the frame d,
so that no interference ever occurs between these two parts.
The channels b b1 hold the frame d
securely against vertical movement, but permit the free longitudinal
movement for purposes of adjustment of the bit to the desired
Instead of the clamping bolt c, a movable clamp may be
employed having two jaws to slide down over the upper edges
of the cheeks and be held in place by friction, or by a set-screw,
or by any well-known means. Such a clamp is indicated in dotted
lines in Fig. 7. I do not prefer such a clamp, as it would be
somewhat troublesome in use; but I do not limit myself to the
clamping-bolt c as a means for clamping the cheeks against
the bit carrying frame.
Having thus described my invention, what I claim, and desire
to secure by Letters Patent, is—
1. The improved planing implement hereinbefore described, having
cheeks provided with guides made in the arc of a circle extended
on opposite sides of a line vertical to the throat in the base-plate,
a bit-carrying frame supported by the guides, and movable thereon
to either side of the vertical line aforesaid, and a clamp,
substantially as and for the purposes set forth.
2. In a bench plane or scraper, the improved bit-carrying frame
composed of the main frame adjustable longitudinally in the
stock and provided with a transverse slot or bit-opening and
having a bearing-plate projected upward flush with the front
side of the opening, a clamping-plate supported loosely in the
bit-opening in and carried by the main frame, and having on
its rear side lugs or retaining means, which engage on and hold
it from vertical movement in the frame, and a clamping-bolt
threaded in the upper end of the clamping-plate to clamp the
bit against the fixed bearing-plate, substantially as set forth.
3. The combination of the stock provided on one side with a
flange, a4, and on its other side with the
immovable cheek a2, having in its inner face
a guide-channel formed on the arc of a circle, a removable cheek,
a3, having its lower edge loosely jointed
with and secured to the flange a4, so that
its top portion may be slightly inclined inward, and having
in its inner face a guide-channel formed in the arc of a circle
parallel with and corresponding to the guide-channel in the
inner face of the immovable cheek, a sliding bit-carrying frame
having curved end guides, d2, fitted into
the guide-channel in the cheeks, and a stationary clamping-bolt
passed through the cheeks midway the lower and upper edges thereof
substantially as and for the purposes set forth.
4. The bench plane and scraper hereinbefore described, composed
of the base-plate, the two jaws, one of which is movable, having
formed therein curved guide-channels and adjustable longitudinally
from one end to the other thereof, whereby it may be set to
carry a plane-bit or a scraper-bit and a clamping device, substantially
as set forth.
In testimony whereof I affix my signature in presence of two
J. H. Askren
in Letters Patent No. 315,014.
is hereby certified that in Letters Patent No. 315,014, granted
April 7, 1885, upon the application of James Duncan, of Coshocton,
Ohio, for an improvement in "Bench-Planes," the name
of one of the assignees was inadvertently omitted; that said
patent should have been issued to James Duncan, Jesse P. Forbes,
William W. Bostwick, and Frank C. Hay; and that the proper correction
has been made in the files and records of the case in the Patent
Office, and should be read in the said Letters Patent to make
it conform thereto.
Signed, countersigned, and sealed this 14th day of April, A.
Acting Secretary of the Interior.
M. V. MONTGOMERY,
Commissioner of Patents.