FROM THE COLLECTION
These three metal planes are superb examples of the molder’s skill. They are cast iron, and the thin sections and detailing are also extreme examples of the detail work prevalent in the 19th century. No permanent mold here, but a pattern that had much detail. It is hard to believe that such fine work could be done with sand casting. The two identical smaller planes are 3/8” × 5 1/4”. The larger plane is 1” × 7 3/8” and in poor condition, which allows us to examine the construction. One side is pinned into the other, and the insert has built-in spacers for the rivets to pass through, a method often used in English infill planes. This provides the registration for the insert and pins. The throat and wedge opening are enclosed with further sections that create a most workable situation. These recesses and divisions are not machined but are part of the original casting. In fact, there appears to be no post casting machining aside from the mouth opening, sole and general file work. The complexity of the construction is something we have not seen before. The two smaller planes excel at fine trimming and fit the hand extremely well. As this is not a common size for this type of plane, it is possible they were made for a special purpose. The bodies have been finished with a black type of japanning. All planes have a square mouth opening.
As always, we take great delight in showing tools that may be from a new source. Have we found a new maker? The finding of two identical smaller versions also raises the question of whether or not this was a commercial enterprise. Are there more out there and why are they not marked? These planes were once in a prominent Canadian-based collection that had laid dormant for many years. They were originally collected in the Montreal area. In 40 years, no other examples have surfaced.
D.S. Orr has been a collector, user and student of woodworking and metalworking tools and practices for more than 40 years. Now retired, he has devoted even more time to these endeavors.