On the topic of infill planes; CAST VS. DOVETAILED? STEEL VS. GUNMETAL? ADJUSTERS VS. NON?

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bentontool

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On the topic of infill planes; CAST VS. DOVETAILED? STEEL VS. GUNMETAL? ADJUSTERS VS. NON?

Brothers, I have many infill planes, in various conditions, some user-made and some branded planes from Spiers, Norris (pre and post war, & one "Buck" made by ?), Mathieson, "Tyzach" (made by ?), Slater, etc.

Generally speaking, I have found that the cast planes seem to be heavier, which I like. They mostly appear to be of the "Scottish" persuasion. Some have large casting defects (large pits) which I tend to excuse, barring one that has the defect at the mouth (I still don't know what I will do about that!).

The gunmetal planes are beautiful (IMO) and of course, are free of rust and/or pitting. They seem to wear well enough, and tend to be a bit heavier. I tend to prefer them (an admittedly entirely cosmetic opinion :) ).

I have been able to get most to work reasonably well. The adjusters function admirably, but I cannot get past their appearance.

Does anyone have strong preferences for one camp or another?

In closing, I will say that I have been appalled by the condition of some of the finer planes in my collection. In particular, two of my Norris No. 1's; one is heavily rusted, another has numerous huge chips on the furniture, and copious heavy paint spatters all over. The latter appears to have been rudely thrown into a tool box, then rolled-over on a regular basis.
How can anyone disrespect their fine tools in such a manner? :oops:
 
On the topic of infill planes; CAST VS. DOVETAILED? STEEL VS. GUNMETAL? ADJUSTERS VS. NON?

Brothers, I have many infill planes, in various conditions, some user-made and some branded planes from Spiers, Norris (pre and post war, & one "Buck" made by ?), Mathieson, "Tyzach" (made by ?), Slater, etc.

Generally speaking, I have found that the cast planes seem to be heavier, which I like. They mostly appear to be of the "Scottish" persuasion. Some have large casting defects (large pits) which I tend to excuse, barring one that has the defect at the mouth (I still don't know what I will do about that!).

The gunmetal planes are beautiful (IMO) and of course, are free of rust and/or pitting. They seem to wear well enough, and tend to be a bit heavier. I tend to prefer them (an admittedly entirely cosmetic opinion :) ).

I have been able to get most to work reasonably well. The adjusters function admirably, but I cannot get past their appearance.

Does anyone have strong preferences for one camp or another?

In closing, I will say that I have been appalled by the condition of some of the finer planes in my collection. In particular, two of my Norris No. 1's; one is heavily rusted, another has numerous huge chips on the furniture, and copious heavy paint spatters all over. The latter appears to have been rudely thrown into a tool box, then rolled-over on a regular basis.
How can anyone disrespect their fine tools in such a manner? :oops:
I’m a sucker for a dovetailed plane without adjuster. In the end though it’s how good they feel in the hand and how well they cut. A bit of bling is nice but not if it makes you not want to use the plane.
 
I only have 2 infill planes. One is a dovetailed smoother that may be by Mathieson. Well the blade is but no markings on the rest. No adjuster but a nice plane to use. The other is a Norris panel plane, cast with adjuster. Again nice to use but I think the Norris style adjuster is not a patch on the adjusters on Bailey type planes. It may be I have not got used to it but I find its easier to just tap the blade into alignment. I could live without it. Never had a gunmetal plane so cant comment on those.
Regards
John
 
On the topic of fine panel plane abuse, here are a few pics of my two abused NORRIS NO. 1's:
(Being no expert on planes, please correct me if I have the model number wrong!)

01 CROP ABUSED dsc03215.jpg


01 CROP RUST dsc03212.jpg
 
I've recently come across the infill plane in the image below, as you can see the front infill is loose and there is nothing to hold the blade in place. I can't fine any makers mark on it but would be interested in any suggestions as to its origins, and what to do with it given that a major component appears to be missing. On the inside of the side casting there appears to be grinding marks, I'm thinking there may have been a protrusion in from the sides of the casting which might have contributed to holding the blade?
20240408_175607.jpg
 
Agree with Orraloon. Looks like plane was never competed, but, the hard work is mostly done. Just need to get an iron, chip breaker, and lever cap. Then drill holes for the lever cap in the appropriate place, do a little sanding and finishing... you will have a fine plane for your collection! :) Looks like you have a winner, IMO!
 
I've recently come across the infill plane in the image below, as you can see the front infill is loose and there is nothing to hold the blade in place. I can't fine any makers mark on it but would be interested in any suggestions as to its origins, and what to do with it given that a major component appears to be missing. On the inside of the side casting there appears to be grinding marks, I'm thinking there may have been a protrusion in from the sides of the casting which might have contributed to holding the blade?
View attachment 179043

I can't see the grinding marks you mention
I would say you need to tread carefully with the any installation of a lever cap if you've never done it before.
I would be drawing out to scale the geometry required to make everything seat properly and to identify the correct pivot point of the lever cap.
It is common for me to see failed attempts.
Don't forget to allow a clear route for the chip breaker nut if it's of the raised type .
Cheers Andy
 
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Thanks for the various contributions, I have a closer photo which perhaps shows the grinding marks more clearly.
I find the Wikipedia reference to beech being used for the infills during WW1 interesting as this plane clearly does not have the rosewood which seems to be often used, I identified the wood as oak, though there are no doubt other possibilities.
For context it was in an old tool box, which may be from the 1920's, along with a number of moulding planes, some of which are stamped Mathieson.
It would be nice to be able to use it, but I'm wary of doing something irreversible to it - such as drilling holes. But I recognise that these two things may be incompatible!
20240408_175525.jpg
 
[/QUOTE]
Thanks for the various contributions, I have a closer photo which perhaps shows the grinding marks more clearly.
I find the Wikipedia reference to beech being used for the infills during WW1 interesting as this plane clearly does not have the rosewood which seems to be often used, I identified the wood as oak, though there are no doubt other possibilities.
For context it was in an old tool box, which may be from the 1920's, along with a number of moulding planes, some of which are stamped Mathieson.
It would be nice to be able to use it, but I'm wary of doing something irreversible to it - such as drilling holes. But I recognise that these two things may be incompatible!
View attachment 179065

Thanks for the better picture Jef, in this instance I would think the grinding is just a bit of casting fettling and nothing to do with wedge lugs or pivot points.
It does look a very good casting.
Yes, I think this is Oak.
One way to get around the geometry of pivot points and clearance dilemmas is to look at the feasibility of fitting it with a bridge and wedge system.
It's still fraught with disaster but is so much easier to replicate in a mock up, ie.make a 1/2 plane cut away test rig and play about with wedges, double iron and positions of the bridge.
Do you have a suitable double iron for it yet as these can vary ?
Cheers Andy
 
Thanks for the reassurance Andy, a mockup sounds like a good way forward and I will need to keep my eye out for appropriate components before committing to a solution.
 
Yes, this is a "user-made" plane. The casting would've been bought from a foundry, or a dealer, for the original owner to finish off the plane by infilling it with a timber of their choice.

The design itself is an older style from around 1850. This does not mean, necessarily, that the body casting dates from that period - only that the design is similar to Spiers planes from that period. I would think that the casting most likely dates from between 1880 to around 1900. Whatever the date, the casting itself looks very sound and has a nice even thickness.

The grinding marks are likely to be in preparation for the fitting of the levercap or bridge (whether fixed or pivoting.) You can sometimes buy levers on eBay or make them yourself from thick brass. A bridge is even easier to make but you do also have to make a wedge for it.

As others have mentioned, take great care in locating the holes for the lever or bridge. A mock up is an excellent - and safer - option.
 

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