Hand plane identification

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    Andrew Smith

    Hi, I was given this plane by a friend and I’m struggling to identify it.
    20.5” / 52cm long
    Brass lockdown cap
    No adjustments for the iron
    No handle



    Larry Geib

    I have a hunch, but first a coupl caveats.

    First off , I’m moderately convinced the lever cap is not original to the plane, but is a bronze casting of a Leonard Bailey victor or defiance plane. Possibly some pattern maker did it. It was fairly common for those guys to pirate existing designs and cast them. They’d just send an existing part out to the casting shed and get back a free sand casting.
    Leonard Bailey patented the lever cap in 1865, I think, and this plane must be older, because by then screw adjusters were common, so I don’t think this is a defiance or victor plane of his.
    Also, those planes had metal knobs, not wood ones. And I think all the early plane makers used cast iron. For the caps. It was way cheaper than bronze.

    The original patent for a metallic plane was by Hazard Knowles in 1827. His design used a wood wedge that fit into wedge sockets on the inside or the cast cheeks. It looks like your plane might have ( or had) those. The planes often had the squared off nose and heel ( so did a couple Bailey examples) and i see examples with the fat knob base on yours. He licensed the concept to several plane makers like Parker, Holly, and Savage mill ( Maryland) and Keystone ( Phila) until his patent ran out sometime in the 1840’s.
    It could be one of those derivatives. You have to be careful with planes of that era. There weren’t huge production runs of any type, so they almost look like one-offs, judging by the survivors.

    The rear tote is a mystery. I suspect something might have rusted off.

    Bailey and Stanley didn’t start with metallic planes until after that. Bailey could have made a plane without adjusters, but I haven’t heard he did.

    Other makers of planes with the squared off nose and heel were Jacob Siegley of Wilkes Barre (1880+) until he sold out to Stanley in 1901 and they moved his operations to Connecticut , and Edwin Hahn ( also Wilkes Barre) who bought his tooling and made the same planes under his name for a few years. He had previously supplied irons to Siegley..
    But their planes ll had adjusters, as far as I know.
    And I’ve seen a Birmingham ( Connecticut) that had a square nose.

    A picture of the casting without the cap and irons would help, as would a search for any casting marks or logos .
    A picture of the frog area would also be good.
    And you might want to do some light derusting of the iron to see if any makers stamps show up. Do t go crazy, you probably want to leave enough patina to be convincing. It’s still possible some collector might want it. I don’t think it’s much of a user. Those low sie cheeks would make the plane pretty flexible.

    ( could be wrong there)

    Attached is a Knowles-type plane to give you An idea where I’m going.cheek profiles varied.

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 1 month ago by Larry Geib.
    • This reply was modified 2 years, 1 month ago by Larry Geib.
    Andrew Smith

    Hi Larry,
    Thank you for your response, it was certainly interesting and I’ve learnt about makers I’ve never heard of.
    I have cleaned up the plane and haven’t been able to find any makers Mark’s.
    As for something rusting/breaking off in the handle area, I dont think that has happened as the plane seems in very good condition and only had a slight amount of surface rust.
    I did notice in the frog area that the bed plate for the iron is not central. I thought this may be due to the plane being bent but after measuring the sides are only very slightly out of square to the base of the plane.
    There is also a discrepancy at the base of the frog area where they are different sizes. At first I thought this was due to a piece breaking off but it looks to be as it was made. I’m starting to think that this may have been a bad casting or was this typical for very early planes?
    The hazard Knowles plane, you mentioned a wooden wedge. There is nothing for a wedge to go against, and again no sign of any damage to that area.
    The only other difference I noticed was on the plane iron. There are two small notches taken out the side or the iron. Was this typical of any manufacturer?
    I have attached some more images as you requested.
    Thank you for any other information you might have,

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