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Book review - Goodman's British Planemakers 4th Edition

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AndyT

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This is not a full review , just a few brief notes to help anyone wondering if they need to buy a copy.

The history of plane making was pretty much undocumented until 1968 when the late Bill Goodman wrote a brief introduction based on his researches so far. This was followed by an enlarged second edition in 1978. The format was the same - a historical survey followed by a checklist of known makers.
As more research was done a third edition became possible and Jane and Mark Rees produced this in 1993. That third edition - much more extensive than its predecessors - was the reference source most wanted by plane collectors as it was the only way to find out more about who made a plane, where and when. In the last few years it became a rare collectible itself, with copies fetching over £100 on the used book market.

As soon as it was published, collectors and researchers were adding to the available information. They submitted pictures of maker's marks not included in the book, or studied particular makers or centres in more depth.

And so, the fourth edition is bigger than its predecessors and contains many more entries in its checklist of makers - there are now more than 2400 listed.

Also, the introductory chapters have been expanded and provide over 160 pages about the trade, the different types of planes and how they were made.

The maker listing has life-sized photographs of thousands of marks, alongside brief histories. Some of these now include photos of examples of planes, catalogue listings and other historical information.

Overall, it's an improvement on the third edition in every way, with one factor above all others - it's actually possible to buy a copy, at a sensible price. So if you think you might like one, order it now.

A few pictures:


A chunky book, 684 pages.

sample history pages





There's more about British metal planes than before



These are some of the wonderful plane maker's planes belonging to Andy (Tools'n'tat) as discussed in goodman-4th-edition-t62220.html



Here's a page with extra details of a rarity



And here's one of the new entries about a living legend



There's more info at the publisher's site here

http://astragalpress.com/books/9781931626446

and the book is available through all normal channels.

I should mention that I do know Jane Rees and some of the other people who have contributed information to this book, but they have not asked me to write this review. When I say "Just buy it" that's my own unbiased advice!
 

Cheshirechappie

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Just like to endorse Andy's recommendation to buy a copy if you are at all interested in planes and their makers in Britain. The list of known plane-makers runs to 460 pages, and is supported by chapters on the development of planemaking, the features and development of different types of plane, the making and marking of planes, and a couple of appendices. Close on 700 pages in all.

This truly is a monumental work of accumulated research, and whilst there is no doubt some more information out there that will come to light over the years, it's hard to see how this book could be bettered.

My copy of BPM2 was good - this is spectacular.
 

JohnPW

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I know it's a history of plane makers and obviously imperial measurements were used at the time but does the book give metric alongside imperial?
 

AndyT

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JohnPW":3jkx5mdb said:
I know it's a history of plane makers and obviously imperial measurements were used at the time but does the book give metric alongside imperial?
It uses imperial measurements. This makes sense for describing the sizes that old planes were made to. For example, describing sets of hollows and rounds where the sizes increased by 1/8" or 1/4" would be less clear if sizes were converted.

Also, many plane collectors are old enough to understand inches, or are American.

Measurements only really occur in the introductory chapters about types of planes and their development. In the main directory section, all the makers' marks are reproduced actual size (as they were in the third edition) so there is no need to litter the pages with lots of numbers.
 

rxh

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AndyT":2qyipz30 said:
JohnPW":2qyipz30 said:
I know it's a history of plane makers and obviously imperial measurements were used at the time but does the book give metric alongside imperial?
It uses imperial measurements. This makes sense for describing the sizes that old planes were made to. For example, describing sets of hollows and rounds where the sizes increased by 1/8" or 1/4" would be less clear if sizes were converted.

Also, many plane collectors are old enough to understand inches, or are American.

Measurements only really occur in the introductory chapters about types of planes and their development. In the main directory section, all the makers' marks are reproduced actual size (as they were in the third edition) so there is no need to litter the pages with lots of numbers.
Some exceptions are the illustrations of planes from the Mary Rose, which have scales in cm. I'm tempted to make a reproduction of the jack plane when I find a suitable piece of wood.
 

D_W

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i hope international book posting is subsidized!!
 

AndyT

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D_W":3gwv9n9f said:
i hope international book posting is subsidized!!
It's published in USA. I'm sure you can find a local retailer.
 

D_W

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deee...light..

this book is already on ebay shipping from vendors in the states. One on the way for this numb-cranium plane nutball.
 

D_W

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AndyT":23rtcs47 said:
D_W":23rtcs47 said:
i hope international book posting is subsidized!!
It's published in USA. I'm sure you can find a local retailer.
gahh... only 24 minutes too late.

How does such a thing happen - British Planemaker's book published in the USA?
 

AndyT

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D_W":3vxgvtcg said:
How does such a thing happen - British Planemaker's book published in the USA?
All those eBay sales, all the tons of British tools bought at auction and sold in the USA at a profit. Old tools are better appreciated here than they were but are still not widely regarded as historically interesting and collectible. Over where you are there are more collectors and more of them with substantial disposable income.

And you have a specialist publisher for such books - we don't, or not so you'd notice.

Also, the author is well known in the USA, through bodies such as the EAIA - publication was scheduled to coincide with their annual conference.
 

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