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Planemaker Higgs

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Corneel

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I have bought a couple of very nice old hollows and rounds from a planemaker Higgs. Is there information available from him?
 

AndyT

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There is a standard book for questions like this - "British Planemakers from 1700" by WL Goodman.

I have the second edition, which lists 3 planemakers called Higgs:

James Higgs was at 8 Little College Street, Westminster from 1780-1817, then at 6 King Street in 1791.

His planes would be marked HIGGS inside a zigzag border, with a mark 0.65" long. He was recorded as an apprentice to another London planemaker, John Sym, in 1772.

His son was Edward Higgs, at 237 Upper Thames Street from 1821-27. His planes had a smaller mark, with a zigzag border, only 0.52" long.

There was also a William Higgs at 4 Union Street, Lambeth from 1826-28. His mark, HIGGS would have had no border.

There may be more information in the third edition, but I don't have that.

So your planes are probably early, and possibly very early. Any pictures?
 

jimi43

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AH! Andy...was just about to go into the "inside workshop" library and take out the "British Planemakers from 1700" by WL Goodman book....but you beat me to it man! :wink:

Probably just as well as ALFIE the "asbo pup" has been watching me slyly for the moment that I try to go in the "secret room" in order to see if there's anything in there to knaw....yes...Alfie...there's plenty! :mrgreen:

I too would be interested to know which Higgs it is.....this sounds very interesting indeed...and a matching pair too!

Jim
 

Corneel

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That book is definitely going on my list. I am very interested in the history of planes.

This weekend I'll make some pictures. The planes are very nice, look almost unused. They have a very steep pitch of 65 degrees, so maybe they were only pulled from the shelf for a special occasion.
 

AndyT

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Corneel":2idgubpz said:
That book is definitely going on my list. I am very interested in the history of planes.
It's not an easy book to find, having become a high priced collectible itself. Classic Hand Tools took over the bookselling business of old tool expert Roy Arnold when he died, and they may still have copies. I was in touch with somebody there last year, who mentioned that Jane Rees is working on a further revised and enlarged fourth edition which they will be publishing - but they had no date yet for when that would be, and her website says it will be some time yet.
 

bugbear

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AndyT":1n7l2z8z said:
Corneel":1n7l2z8z said:
That book is definitely going on my list. I am very interested in the history of planes.
It's not an easy book to find, having become a high priced collectible itself. Classic Hand Tools took over the bookselling business of old tool expert Roy Arnold when he died, and they may still have copies. I was in touch with somebody there last year, who mentioned that Jane Rees is working on a further revised and enlarged fourth edition which they will be publishing - but they had no date yet for when that would be, and her website says it will be some time yet.
I'm waiting (patiently) for the fourth edition. The price of s/h 3rd editions is simply too high.

Edit; I'm surprised Astragal don't do another print run.

BugBear
 

Corneel

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Yes, a quick scan on the internet showed me that. So maybe i just get the 2nd edition and wait patiently for the 4th.
 

Corneel

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Well, the makers sign is 16mm, that makes 0.65". So it is from the older guy! That makes them quite a bit older then I thought!

Some pictures. The last one compared to my 18th century Dutch molding plane from a maker with initials A L.









The planes are very well made. And like I said almost unused. Even the point of the wedge is still sharp and crisp. The blades are a bit rusty with deep pits. I don't know if that is all rust or also some pits from the forging process. These are two matching pairs #4 and #6, being 1/4 and 1/2" radius. All marked with an owners mark I. Barrow.

I am afraid this purchase puts me into the collector category.
 

Corneel

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Yesterday the book came in, 2nd edition, 3rd is a bit too dear for me. Very interesting read, and I really hope the 4th edition will come any time soon.

On reading the text I found one other mention of the name Higgs. It is mentioned in the pragraph as belonging to the group of "Philipson" type planes as the author names it. This is a group of 18th century planes where the chamfers on front and heel are not finished in a gouge cut, but they are cut straight along the line of the small filet on the shoulder. There is a Higgs plane found with that feature. That hellps to narrow down my planes a little further, because my planes defenitely don't have that feature. They are of a somewhat later design where the filet is almost gone, the chamfers are terminated by a gouge cut again and the top of the stock is rounded, instead of the large flat chamfers of the earlier designs. The length of the plane is alsmost exactly 9 1/2"which became the standard at that time.

So my planes are from Higgs, 1780-1817, but made later in his career, so I'll date them early 19th century.
 
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