Friday, 16 October 2015

The medieval toolchest: The medieval plane part 3.5

This post is a part 3.5 as it contains some new images of medieval planes, as well as some better ones shown previously in  the medieval plane part 3.

This is the medieval plane found in Bergen, Norway. It is made from Taxus and dated to the 13th century.

 All sides of the Bergen plane shown together with a (cm) ruler. Both images from the UNIMUS photo website.

The Tonsberg Plane, a lapp-style plane together with a (cm) ruler.

 The side of the Tonsberg plane with the runic inscription. Photos from the UNIMUS website.

This scene from the margins of Folio 123 recto of Bodleian MS 264 (Oxford, UK) shows two fletchers making moon-shape tipped arrows. The arrows that are ready are stored in the barrel.

The worker on the right is making the shafts of the arrow. He uses a knife (in front of him) as well as a small plane (at his back). It is a bit difficult to determine whether there is a toat or a wedge shown on the plane. The pin, however, can be clearly seen. More medieval planes have been associated with the production of arrow-shafts, like the Vimose planes or some of the planes found on the Mary Rose shipwreck.

The Holy Family in the woodwright shop. Sculpture in oak by Adriaen van Wesel, ca. 1475-1480. Museum Catherijneconvent, Utrecht, the Netherlands. Jezus helps his father drawing a straight line using a chalk line. A basket with woodworking tools is lying in front of them. One of the tools is a small plane with a toat. Other tools are a brace and a small axe. The sculpture has likely once been painted as there are some remnants of paint on the sculpture. The scene probably was part of the Maria altarpiece in the St. John's cathedral in Den Bosch, the Netherlands. Height 32.5 cm, width 25.5 cm, depth 11.0 cm. Photo from the museum website.

The basket of tools with the plane. Photo website museum (top) and St. Thomasguild.

The backside of the sculpture. Photo St. Thomasguild.

A detail from the 1529 woodblock print showing 'Architectura' by Barthelemy de Chasseneux with some wood and stoneworking tools. Among them are three planes. In front, a double (side)handed Italian type plane can be seen, as discussed in the post medieval planes part 1 and part 1.5. On the left on the ground, just beneath the axes a part of a large foreplane is shown. And finally on the wall at the back a small low angle blockplane with one (or two?) toats can be seen (compare to the planes in part 2).


  1. Thanks for a great post. That image of the fletchers is from the lower margins of Bodleian MS 264 folio 123 verso. The recto page has two people walking on stilts on the left and fighting with them on the right.
    Here's the scanned manuscript at the library:;sort:Shelfmark;lc:ODLodl~29~29,ODLodl~7~7,ODLodl~6~6,ODLodl~14~14,ODLodl~8~8,ODLodl~23~23,ODLodl~1~1,ODLodl~24~24&mi=49&trs=511