Sinclair wooden plough plane, any info?

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MusicMan

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I have been helping a widow clear out and sell her late husband's workshop. Many of the tools she has donated to Tools with a Mission (TWAM) via me, but this won't work for old woodies as the training in e.g. Uganda is on metal planes and this is what they send. I know what to do with regular woodies, but have not owned a wooden plough plane. It looks as if it will fetch a few quid on ebay (she wants to donate the profit) so I want to do it right for her. Here are a few pictures. The plane is in good condition apart from one crack in the support for the arms (see last picture), but it is usable. The makers stamp is Sinclair (and the possibly first owner's stamp is also a Sinclair). The blade is 6 mm wide (not 1/4"). The arms are locked with wedges but I am pretty sure the wedges are not original. Anyone have any information or ideas about age, the maker, or value?

Sinclair plough plane - 3.jpg

Sinclair plough plane - 8.jpg

Sinclair plough plane - 9.jpg

Sinclair plough plane - 7.jpg

Sinclair plough plane - 6.jpg

Sinclair plough plane - 4.jpg
 

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AndyT

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British Planemakers lists Thomas Sinclair as a planemaker in Edinburgh with dates (probably from commercial directories) of 1804 to 1807 so that's a seriously old plane.

I think it would be of more interest to a collector than as a user. It looks to be in nice unspoiled condition at present - please excuse me stating the obvious and saying that you must not be tempted to clean it, and definitely don't polish up the brass parts - that would only make it less attractive, not more.

If she has any other sizes of iron, do hunt them out and include them - a full set is either 6 or 8, from 1/8" up to 1/2" or 9/16" - that would bump up the value a bit.
 

MusicMan

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Andy, many thanks for the info. Yes the condition is nice, and I do know about not polishing etc. The most I would do would be to clean any dirt off with saliva (the enzymes remove dirt without hurting the patina), as we do for musical instruments of this age and then a little Renaissance wax. Or do you think even that would be too much for a collector?

I'll go and have a hunt for any more irons, there may be some.

Thanks again

Keith
 

AndyT

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I'd hold back on the wax too - it's what most collectors would do, but collectors can be fussy people and may well prefer doing it themselves.

Looking again at the pictures, there are a couple of distinctive features. The square steel plates are something I've not seen - though they could be an owner's repair. And the wedges at the ends of the stems are oblique, like a Scotish St Andrew's cross, whereas the norm on the English planes that I have seen is to have them vertical and horizontal, like a cross of St George. I'm not suggesting this is a national characteristic - I've no idea and no specialist knowledge of old plough planes - but it does make this one a bit out of the ordinary.
 

AndyT

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adidat":3j04iy4k said:
Lovely old plane! What's it worth Andy??

Adidat

I've no idea.

It's old, it's rare but for it to be valuable, there has to be more than one collector who wants it. Hopefully, someone who knows a lot more - Andy Toolsntat or Richard Arnold or someone like that - will have an idea.
 

MusicMan

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Thanks Andy, noted re both the wax and the value. I'll hold the wax and confine myself to dusting. I have contacted Richard Arnold as I thought he might like the makers' mark image too.
 

AndyT

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:oops:

Ignore all that guff about the end wedges. The St Andrew's cross pattern seems to be normal, not unusual. Sorry I didn't check before posting.

I'll go and sit on the naughty step for a bit... :oops:
 

MusicMan

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Andy, I had another look at the square steel plates. They look to me like original pieces and not repairs. The evidence for this is that they do not actually repair anything. There is a split under and beyond one of the plates, but the single screw holding the plate on has actually caused the split; a repair plate should have screws either side of the split. Otherwise the wood is sound around the plates. They look to me like old screws (I am used to looking at woodwork in 18th and 19th century woodwind instruments), but hard to tell without removing them, which I am certainly not doing.

Thanks for the correction. You can come off the naughty step!

The stem wedges themselves are quite crudely made in fact and I don't think they are original.

Keith
 

swb58

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It's supposed to have the little slidey wedges with the blob each end isn't it . . . . . . . so they don't fall out and get lost :wink:
 

toolsntat

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My thoughts.
Have to say this looks to have had a hard working life.
Personally, I would think that trying to improve on what you see is not going to help much, unless you put a great deal of time into it.
Numerous faults to sort out include......
The plates put on the fence to prevent wear have caused splitting at the fixing points.
Front upper section of fence missing above plate.
The fence stems have been cut short and as said one end is split quite badly , with a crack on the other.
Couple of wedges for the arms.

On the body apart from the blade wedge split, most looks good.
2 very nice original features being the brass let in behind the wedge and the brass plate that receives the fixings for the skate on the fence side of the body.

Not sure what the marks on the irons would be but have never seen one with SINCLAIR so if there is a set of these or any other they have a good value in themselves.

Not familiar with the numbers for Sinclair ploughs but they are not common and as such must have a value even with the fence damage. I would have thought a good option is to list it as a"rare Sinclair plough for restoration" and let the market decide.

Please do have a good root through the draws etc as valuable bits and pieces are often lost in them.
Regards
Andy
 

MusicMan

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Andy, many thanks for your comments and info. Yes, the brass plate for the skate fits and works very nicely. I hadn't spotted the missing bit of fence.

I went back to the workshop and had a real root around everywhere but found no more irons or pieces. There is a mark on the iron but I haven't made it out yet.

I shan't do any restoration (except maybe the wedges, for fun) but offer it as you suggest.

Cheers, Keith
 
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