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Block plane identification.

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NickDReed

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Evening all,

I've just got home from visiting my folks and my dad gave me a block plane he had found in my grandad shed. It's been knocking around in several garages/sheds for several years. I'm going to restore it as I have with several others of his.

Out of interest does anyone recognise the marking pictured? I belive it is JG + SII but it's a little bashed so that may not be right.

Just curious to know it's history if anyone can help.

Regards

Nick
 

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toolsntat

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Hi Nick , what you have there is the bare bones of a Chariot Plane.
The very well executed inscription on the bridge is nothing I recognise and may be a little bit of fanciful embellishment by the original owner. Perhaps their initials or something....
Some more pictures would be nice so we can admire the profile and see what your about to embark upon.
Quite a wide mouth but looking again at the pictures you may have a mouth closer that you have unscrewed?
Cheers Andy
 
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NickDReed

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Hi Nick , what you have there is the bare bones of a Chariot Plane.
The very well executed inscription on the bridge is nothing I recognise and may be a little bit of fanciful embellishment by the original owner. Perhaps their initials or something....
Some more pictures would be nice so we can admire the profile and see what your about to embark upon.
Quite a wide mouth but looking again at the pictures you may have a mouth closer that you have unscrewed?
Cheers Andy
Hi Andy,

Thanks for the response. I will get some pics on here tomorrow. It's in bits in the garage but I'll put it back together and get some photos of it.

Nick
 

toolsntat

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OK Nick, just seen you are in Nocton, did you happen to pop into the National Ploughing Championships the other year? If you did we may have crossed paths as i put on a tool display there....
Cheers Andy
 

NickDReed

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OK Nick, just seen you are in Nocton, did you happen to pop into the National Ploughing Championships the other year? If you did we may have crossed paths as i put on a tool display there....
Cheers Andy
Hi Andy

Moved to Nocton in October and had absolutely no idea there was a national Ploughing Championship. Tool display would be right up my street though. Is that a full time job or something you do on the side?

Regards Nick
 

IWW

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As Andy sez, it's a chariot plane. They had a brief heyday around the turn of the 19thC and faded from the catalogues after about 1920. In essence, they are a slightly fancy versiom of a metal block plane.

I'd venture a guess that that what you have there is a user-finished casting. At least up 'til WW2 you could buy several types of cast bodies to finish at home, including smoothers, mitre planes & chariots. That would explain the tizzied-up bridge, but it strikes me that the engraving on the bridge looks like it's of a better standard than the rest of the job. As has been noted, the mouth is a mess, and will be a limiting factor if yiu want to get the best out of it. It may have been a better job when originally fvinished, but fell on hard times subsequently. Those cup-head screws sticking out of the body are crying out for counter-sunk replacements!

It looks like it could be brought up to a decent standard, the savaged toe-plate would be easy to replace. You could possibly cut those long projections on each side back, & elongate the screw holes so the toe-piece can be moved back, but making a new piece from scratch would be easier, methinks. The bed might need some serious file-work to get it flat, too, if the rest of the finish-work is anything to go by.

The chariot style has always appealed to me from the first time I saw one illustrated in a book, but they are almost as rare as feathered frogs down my way & I never found a good 'user' at a price I could afford so I eventually made my own.

The majority of chariots were "bull-nosed" & partly because its construction seemed easier, the first one I made is bull-nozed: Done a.jpg

It's handy, but that short toe limits its versatility so I made another with a toe that is more like 1/4 the length of the sole & extends forward like a mitre plane. It was a bit more demanding to make because the sole has to be split & re-joined to achieve the desirable fine mouth, but it's altogether more handy. I've since retired both my block planes because I found myself always reaching for this one instead: Done a.jpg

As I said, it's really just a block-plane, but a bit more elegant (or so I think) and mine is certainly much nicer to use... 🙂
Cheers,
Ian
 

NickDReed

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As Andy sez, it's a chariot plane. They had a brief heyday around the turn of the 19thC and faded from the catalogues after about 1920. In essence, they are a slightly fancy versiom of a metal block plane.

I'd venture a guess that that what you have there is a user-finished casting. At least up 'til WW2 you could buy several types of cast bodies to finish at home, including smoothers, mitre planes & chariots. That would explain the tizzied-up bridge, but it strikes me that the engraving on the bridge looks like it's of a better standard than the rest of the job. As has been noted, the mouth is a mess, and will be a limiting factor if yiu want to get the best out of it. It may have been a better job when originally fvinished, but fell on hard times subsequently. Those cup-head screws sticking out of the body are crying out for counter-sunk replacements!

It looks like it could be brought up to a decent standard, the savaged toe-plate would be easy to replace. You could possibly cut those long projections on each side back, & elongate the screw holes so the toe-piece can be moved back, but making a new piece from scratch would be easier, methinks. The bed might need some serious file-work to get it flat, too, if the rest of the finish-work is anything to go by.

The chariot style has always appealed to me from the first time I saw one illustrated in a book, but they are almost as rare as feathered frogs down my way & I never found a good 'user' at a price I could afford so I eventually made my own.

The majority of chariots were "bull-nosed" & partly because its construction seemed easier, the first one I made is bull-nozed: View attachment 107629

It's handy, but that short toe limits its versatility so I made another with a toe that is more like 1/4 the length of the sole & extends forward like a mitre plane. It was a bit more demanding to make because the sole has to be split & re-joined to achieve the desirable fine mouth, but it's altogether more handy. I've since retired both my block planes because I found myself always reaching for this one instead: View attachment 107630

As I said, it's really just a block-plane, but a bit more elegant (or so I think) and mine is certainly much nicer to use... 🙂
Cheers,
Ian
Thanks Ian,

That's really interesting. Yes, it is in a bit of a state. But I'm hoping with a bit of care and attention I could get it to something usable. As I said it was my grandads, and quite possibly someone elses prior to that it's unlikely he would have spent a fortune on it.

I've taken it to bits to clean it up. Quite a bit of pitting at the top of the cutting iron and theres some damage to the heel.

Pics attached
 

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IWW

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Nick, just about anything is repairable; how well you can get it to perform is another matter but it's always worth giving it your best shot. Worst-case scenario is that it becomes an interesting mantlepiece ornament & memento of your grandad's shed.

Wow, that blade has had a doing-over from the demon rust! But as long as it isn't pitted similarly on t'other side it might be useable. The pitting on the side you show is pretty fugly, but it's not the side that matters. Blades are "consumables" and replacing them is part of their life history too, so that wouldn't worry me. However it may sound like the "bushman's axe" story to some (he was still using the same axe his father & grandfather used; it's only had 6 new handles and 2 new heads, and it's still going strong. They don't make them like they uster, do they?....) 🙄

Your major concern will be that toe-piece, if you want to close the mouth up. As I said in my previous post, the easiest fix (at least it would be for me), would be to replace it, but you may be (understandably) reluctant to do that in view of its provenance. You could plug the existing holes, either by brazing or with a dollop of weld (I'm assuming it's just mild steel, not cast-iron like the body is likely to be), get the mouth organised, then drill & tap new screw-holes. If filling with hot metal isn't an avaiable option for you, you could cold-fill them by peening some soft steel into them (ordinary nails make excellent rivets). If well done, it would be close to impossible to see the repair after filing flush. However, if the new holes overlap the old by a significant amount, you run a risk of the plug coming loose during drilling/tapping, though if the overlap is small, and your repair is propperly peened in, it shouldn't budge.

Or you could just choose to live with the cavernous gob. The plane will work, possibly even quite well on straight-grained woods, which is probably all that most block planes should be used on, anyway...
;)
Cheers,
Ian
 

NickDReed

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Nick, just about anything is repairable; how well you can get it to perform is another matter but it's always worth giving it your best shot. Worst-case scenario is that it becomes an interesting mantlepiece ornament & memento of your grandad's shed.

Wow, that blade has had a doing-over from the demon rust! But as long as it isn't pitted similarly on t'other side it might be useable. The pitting on the side you show is pretty fugly, but it's not the side that matters. Blades are "consumables" and replacing them is part of their life history too, so that wouldn't worry me. However it may sound like the "bushman's axe" story to some (he was still using the same axe his father & grandfather used; it's only had 6 new handles and 2 new heads, and it's still going strong. They don't make them like they uster, do they?....) 🙄

Your major concern will be that toe-piece, if you want to close the mouth up. As I said in my previous post, the easiest fix (at least it would be for me), would be to replace it, but you may be (understandably) reluctant to do that in view of its provenance. You could plug the existing holes, either by brazing or with a dollop of weld (I'm assuming it's just mild steel, not cast-iron like the body is likely to be), get the mouth organised, then drill & tap new screw-holes. If filling with hot metal isn't an avaiable option for you, you could cold-fill them by peening some soft steel into them (ordinary nails make excellent rivets). If well done, it would be close to impossible to see the repair after filing flush. However, if the new holes overlap the old by a significant amount, you run a risk of the plug coming loose during drilling/tapping, though if the overlap is small, and your repair is propperly peened in, it shouldn't budge.

Or you could just choose to live with the cavernous gob. The plane will work, possibly even quite well on straight-grained woods, which is probably all that most block planes should be used on, anyway...
;)
Cheers,
Ian
I'll give it a clean up and a sharpening and see how I get on. It's not like I was looking for a chariot plane, or even knew what one was, so have no burning desire to spend a lot of time on making alterations to it which I'm unqualified and unskilled to do. If nothing else it may be occasionally useful and has a bit of nostalgia to it too.

I'll update on here once I'm done with the clean up. I think half the enjoyment for me will be making something grubby and dull into something shiny and sharp.... Hopefully.

Regards

Nick
 

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