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German Style Horned Plane Mystery- Could it be English ?

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AdrianUK

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Regarding this old woodie, which I like very much, I always assumed this style to be Nordic/German, heard them called Viennese planes, and Am aware of EA Berg.

This one has got me thinking, it has a Clegg Iron, not unusual to have an English cutter if a replacement was required, however it’s marked 3/8, which makes me wonder if its English made. European metric commenced in France in early 1800s and was adopted across european countries slowly.

If I assume this plane is probably late 1800s, it having imperial mark would lead me to think it’s maker was slow to change ,for whatever reason, or maybe it is English made or possibly imported then stamped ?

There are no other marks other than owners stamp. The other clue maybe it’s timber, is is vey pale, maybe a fruitwood?

Anyway, what do you think, maybe I’m just barking up the wrong tree and seeing a mystery where in reality it’s simple !
 

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Orraloon

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Is the 3/8 mark on the body or the iron. It looks to be a lot larger than 3/8'' however. It is in the European/Germanic style. It may even be a home made plane if it has no makers stamp on the woodwork.
Regards
John
 

AndyT

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Yes, let's see the mark and have some dimensions. Also the amount of camber on the iron.
Plenty of old books and catalogues list "Bismarck" planes in this style and there used to be a bit of import traffic in tools in the 1800s.
 

dannyr

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The 1909 Marples catalogue has a plane just like this - they call it a German Jack or roughing plane, sold in 10in 1 1/4in blade, 10in 1 1/2in blade and 12in 1 3/4in blade the engraving shows a Marples Shamrock on the side of the horn.

This doesn't prove they were actually made by Marples, but they did source most of their tools in Sheff.
 

Cheshirechappie

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Percy Wells and John Hooper show an illustration of a 'Bismarck or Roughing Plane' on page 8 of 'Modern Cabinet Work', first published 1908, and list one in their suggested kit of cabinetmaker's tools.

The Edward Preston 1909 catalogue shows two styles of 'German Jack or Roughing Plane', one having a simple peg for the front grip, the other the typical Continental horn type of grip. Three sizes of each were offered, 8" long with 1 1/4" iron, 10" long with 1 1/2" iron, and 12" long with 1 1/2" iron for the peg grip, at 3/3, 3/3 and 3/6 each respectively, and for the horn grip, 10" long with 1 1/4" iron at 3/6 each, 10" long with 1 1/2" iron at 3/6 each, and 12" long with 1 3/4" iron at 3/9 each.

Thus, such planes as yours were offered by UK makers and dealers in the late 19th and early 20th century. They don't turn up often on the old tool market, which suggests that not many craftsmen followed Wells and Hooper's recommendation to include one in their kit

I don't know whether the UK makers made them, or whether they were imported; the imperial mark on yours suggest that it's not impossible that someone made a few in the UK, though the wedge design on yours is much nearer a Continental style than a UK one. Maybe a UK maker directly copied an imported plane?

An interesting (and potentially useful) oddity in the UK!

(Edit to add - Ha! Andy and Danny beat me to it!)
 

AdrianUK

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Andy, Danny, Cheshirechappie,
Thx for your comments.
Apologies for misleading, typo error, I meant to type it’s stamped 1.3/8, I think it would be a very rare woodie if it were only 3/8 and I’d be making dolls house furniture!
It’s approx. 12. 1/2” in length. Here’s some additional images, hope their interesting. It looks and feels well made, so maybe not artisan made. Those cat’ articles sound interesting, are they online resources.
I messed around a bit with it today, surprised that it was more comfortable to use than it looks.
 

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Exluthier

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I can confirm that these 'horned' German planes are comfortable to use. I trained in Germany, and use only this style, from a 33 mm scrub plane to 48 mm roughing, smoothing, and trying planes. There are no smaller horned planes, and it was explained to me that they're not necessary in small sizes, as the specific reasons for the horn style of plane is that the horn grip makes it easier to use for long periods than other styles. They are still made to the same patterns (the one shown is a right-handed example; both right and left can be ordered from the better makers) by makers in Germany (the well-known ECE Ulmia OTT planes), in the Czech Republic, and in the Netherlands.
 

D_W

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As specialized as making things was in the UK, I wouldn't be surprised if bodies were imported for use with sheffield iron. I have an older plane with a buck iron in it and it's been used enough to get an insert. It's also old enough to have some hand carving on the front of it.

I like them OK, but learning to plane left and right handed with western planes kind of eliminates any two handed advantage with them, and the feel is different with them due to the iron location being further back in the planes.

I do think the older planes with a double iron and no adjuster are generally better than the current offering with adjusters and kind of a junky quality iron (the iron offered in ECE planes isn't very good. It doesn't hold a fine edge, and it doesn't hold an edge for long, but it's probably inexpensive to make).

Like the plainer steel irons in the older ulmia planes, though, and one of the most dandy planes to come out of ulmia (Ece still makes, I think) is the double iron rabbet plane. You can clean up rebates quickly regardless of good quality wood or not with one of those, but still hog near the point of finish with a moving fillister, etc, and not have to reset the fillister.
 

AdrianUK

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Thanks for the informative details Exluthier & D_W, much appreciated.
 

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