Sunday, 25 March 2012

A box full of planes...

While this post is not exactly medieval I found it interesting enough to share. During my furniture making course, the teacher mentioned last week that he had some boxes with old wooden planes, which he would like to give a new home. As I am the 'medieval' man working with with old wooden planes he asked if I would like to have them. Of course I said yes, thinking that some of these planes could be used for re-enactment as well.

Two boxes full of wooden planes.

The boxes were full of planes: some hollows and rounds, a lot of moulding planes, some ploughs, a few German type block planes  (large and small with a horn). Some of these planes did bear marks of the maker on the head of the plane. As I did have a book on Dutch planemakers (Four centuries of Dutch plane makers by Gerrit van der Sterre) I looked if I could find them. The most common markings were those of the firm Nooitgedagt (JN under a crown) and Peter Duessing (PD under a crown) which were produced somewhere between the end of the 19th century and the start of the twentieth. Also a few planes did have HW under a crown. This is the mark of Heinrich Wolsing, a plane maker who was the son of a former employee of Peter Duessing. The production of his planes started in 1836 and they are less commonly found. Few other planes did have the mark SVE under a crown at the head of the plane and S. van Embden, Amsterdam at the side. This was a mark of a plane dealer, who resold planes made by others.

The PVD mark under a figure of an angel.

The last mark, PVD under an angel was found on one of a set of three similar planes equipped with a toat. This proved to be a spectacular find! The mark belonged to the Rotterdam plane maker Pieter van Duijl, who together with his brother Gijsbrechtus van Duijl, produced planes between 1755 and 1766. This plane was around  250 years old! The other two planes are very similar in appearance and construction, but do not bear a mark of the maker.

The view of the marked round plane from above. 

The side and sole view of the marked round plane.

The mark on the blade of the marked round plane.

The marked plane is a round, the others are a hollow and a round with a later added fence. I have no idea if the planes are still completely original or if they have been adapted for another role during time. For instance, hollows and rounds could be made later from a plane with a flat sole. And for the unmarked round plane, it looks like the fence was added more recently with some nails to the plane body. As regards to the plane blades, two have a hard to discern mark (a name?). Also the blades could have been replaced somewhere in time. 

  The set of three planes: round with fence (above), hollow (middle) and the marked round (below).

The wedges of the three planes. The right one has a different form and patina, perhaps a later replacement?

 The three blade of the planes: marked round (left), hollow (middle) and round with fence (right)..

 Side and sole of the fenced round plane.


  1. Lovely old tools. I hope you'll be able to use them in your work. too many of these tools become collectors items and never get used as they should.

  2. What great luck! Wish I could take a class like that.

  3. This is a nice surprise. It will be great to get these planes in good shape again.