I was asking myself the other day why I collect antique or previously owned woodworking planes if you don’t plan on using them? Some folks buy them as investments and after seeing the prices for English and Scottish manufactured infill planes, who can blame them. But I want to use mine, so I decided to try each plane out that I have purchased.
Some undoubtedly will become favorites, while others might fall on the other end of the spectrum and find themselves in a new home. At any rate, I decided to start with a Plough Plane manufactured by G. Steadman and Sons of Birmingham, England. Birmingham was one of the centers of planemaking in England as well as London, Bristol and Sheffield.
So how do I know that this plane is from the firm of G. Steadman and Sons; by the makers mark on the end of the plane.
Below is a photo of the end of the plane with the maker’s mark, but it is hard to read and I’m not sure what the 1500 is. There isn’t much information on this maker in my two books on plane makers of England.
The name of the firm above “london” is the hardware seller in London that carried the planes in stock. Buck and Hickman of 2 and 4 Whitechapel Road, London. Branches at Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow.
Matthew Buck, a saw maker from Sheffield, went to London and set up in business near Waterloo station. His daughter Ann Buck married John Roe Hickman (1806-1847), a printer, who dies in 1847. Ann then opens a shop named Buck and Co.Her son, John Roe Hickman (1829-1904) is apprenticed to his uncle George Buck and later goes into partnership with him and the business becomes Buck and Hickman”
Below are some photos of the plane and at the end is a photo of the shavings that I produced with this plane earlier this evening.
Offset side view
Check out the fence, it looks like a piece of moulding!
Other side of the plane with a closer look at the arms and the metal guide that runs along the cut made by the iron, The knob on top operates the depth stop which you cannot see from this view.
Another view of the side. Looking at the plane now, I see the spaces next to the arms and wonder if wedges could be placed in the to hold the fence tighter?
Some shavings and a rabbet cut on a piece of pine. The plane worked perfectly but one issue is that the fence wants to move when pressure is applied against the piece of wood. The fence doesn’t move much but enough and one can now see why some plough planes went on to have gears and other accouchements to hold the fence tight.
Below is a closeup of the shavings.
Verdict, a cool old plane that I will use.