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What is this and why is it worth nearly half a grand.

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Osvaldd

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As the title says, I placed a bid of 5 quid few days ago thinking this piece of junk looks interesting, might be worth a fiver just for the looks. Forgot about it until last night when ebay reminded me I lost the bid, and the top bid was £410+£10 shipping. That is insane amount of money, what is this thing?
 

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Trevanion

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Welcome to the world of infill planes, where some go for several thousand.

I don't see why this mitre plane would go for so much though, doesn't seem to be a prominent maker or anything besides a Ward iron.
 

Cheshirechappie

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Bill Carter knows a thing or two about mitre planes. (Actually, Bill knows a lot more than just a thing or two about mitre planes!) Here he is demonstrating their worth on tricky timber;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePf7eEchzbA

For more about them (and how to make them) Bill's YouTube channel is very well worth exploring.
 

Osvaldd

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So its a low angle bevel-up plane with a very tight mouth?
 

Cheshirechappie

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Yes - that's exactly what it is.

Their origins go back quite a long way. Wooden mitre planes were made in the 18th century, and many had a block of boxwood set vertically at the front of the mouth, in such a way that in planing the sole true to compensate for wear, the trimmed block kept the mouth tight. Their purpose was the trimming of end grain on large mitres, commonly used on furniture and architectural work of the time, and some had an iron-shod side to run on a shooting board. Finding originals in good condition is rather rare; they were always a 'high-end' craftsman's plane.

At some point in the late 18th century, metal mitre planes came into being, usually (according to Holtzappfel) having a bed angle of about 25 degrees, and sharpened to about 35 degrees, giving an effective pitch of about 60 degrees. R.A.Salaman (Dictionary of Woodworking Tools) says that mitre planes were used for shooting mitres of all kinds, but with their rigid beds and narrow mouths, were valued for their ability to perform particularly fine work on end grain and hardwoods. Given some of the fine (but awkward to work) timbers used in cabinet work in the late 18th and 19th centuries, that would be of value to some craftsmen.

They pre-dated (and possibly inspired) the infill planes developed later by Spiers and Norris (and others) in the mid 19th century, and pre-dated Leonard Bailey's new-fangled monstrosities by the best part of a century, so good examples excite collectors - hence the price of the example above!
 

Dangermouse 2nd

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Well thats what a good one usually makes. To me they are way over priced and they make that sort of money because its a bandwagon thing. I have several infil planes, most of which are by very good makers and excellent condition, but never given more than £150 for one. Never found a mitre plane for what I would call a sensible price yet.
 

D_W

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Looks about right to the right buyer, a quality plane with a superb iron.

I don't think a neatly snecked ward iron is that common, but it's definitely desirable.
 

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