A pair of wee miniature mitre planes based loosely on the Norris A11.
Like many planes in my pattern collection, this one is most suited to smaller scale work where finesse and control are paramount, such as the making of musical instruments or box making.
Of a standard dovetailed construction, German Silver sidewalls compliment the Phosphor Bronze sole and lever cap perfectly. Even better, as both are copper alloys they will patinate together along the same lines.
Just for giggles I even went to the trouble of casting the lever caps in suitably miniature sand moulds, shown in the last photo. The end result yields a lever that is as strong as it is authentic.
While on the subject of levers, it is worth noting that I also had to machine a specialist tap just to cut the female threads on this plane; it was the only way to keep the correct thread form and still have the screw in proportion with other elements of this plane
The pair are infilled with some lovely Gabon Ebony, jet black from a distance but look closer under good light and a mottling of dark honey flecks will pop out. As with all my infills, the finish applied is about a dozen coats of shellac, grain filled and taken to a piano shine.
Spec Available in Bronze , German Silver, Steel and combinations thereof. Various exotic infills available.
Size 3 1/8” long.
Iron 5/8” snecked.
All credit to Mol for coining this one Scarab, taken from the shape of the sole.
This is a small flat soled instrument and model makers plane, well suited to all types of fine convex curves, larger shallow concave shapes, chamfer work and other small detail jobs.
The OSM high carbon steel Iron is a generous 3/4” wide and along with the tall scrolled wedge, forms the base for a comfortable and solid grip. As is standard to all of my planes, the Iron and wedge have been painstakingly smoke fitted to the steel bed.
‘Smoke fitting’ is a process where a very fine layer of soot from an oil lamp is deposited onto one side of two mating surfaces. When the two components are snuggled/tapped/rubbed together a thin layer of soot is transferred from the dirty face to the clean one, but only though touching high spots.
By removing these high spots and repeating the process over and over, one can be assured of the best mechanical fit possible. In real world results this means when set, the wedge and blade will not chatter, will not slip, will adjust truly and without bias.
The continuous sidewalls of this plane actually start life as a gunmetal slug in the lathe. After the centre is bored out and dovetails are cut (think crenelations) the body is form pressed into the oval shape you see.
The steel sole section is also worth a special mention, as the sole plate and bed are carved from one solid block of steel. The unusual method for an infill plane would be to rivet on a separate frog to the sole plate, but this was deemed too fiddly and also risked distortion of the tiny sole from the force of peining those rivets.
Another aspect worth noting is the bridge. This is made up from two parts, a shaped sleeve forming the bridge proper, and a rivet pin holding it in place. To be certain of a proper fit between bridge and wedge, there is a good sized flat filed into the mating face.
Dovetailed finger planes are impossibly rare in the wild, at present we are only aware of three that have surfaced so far. If you have anything similar to this we would love to hear from you!
SpecGunmetal, Hot rolled black steel, English Boxwood/Macassar Ebony.
Size 15/16” long.
Iron 3/4” wide.
Price £510 in either wedge option. Bespoke sizes and sets available.
Egg & Spoon
About three pints deep one Saturday evening I was sat at the dining table with a sketchbook drawing eggs (as you do.) At some point I distinctly remember cocking my head to one side and thinking of a recent commission, a leatherworkers skiving plane. A few quick lines were drawn to check my idea was sound. It was, and this plane is the result.
The Egg & Spoon pattern is an abstract of the "squirrel tail" form. In use the thumb, index and middle fingers fall into a natural grip around the body, while the ring and pinkie finger wrap underneath the spoon shaped tail. With this grip the spoon nestles neatly in the plan of the hand, offering long term comfort that is rare for a plane so small.
Setting and adjustment is carried out like any wooden plane; the Iron and Wedge are set and adjusted by tapping with a suitable hide faced hammer. To remove the iron a sharp blow directly underneath the OSM mark will suffice. As with all of our planes, each component is precision fitted to its neighbour, one result being the slightest tap is enough to secure the iron.
The 3/4” wide iron has been hand forged from 01 high carbon steel. We particularly like the interplay between scale patterning and the planished surface texture: It lends some rugged refinement to an aspect that could easily have turned out brutish.
N.B This design concept has since spawned several offshoots, bronze and wooden bodied variants. An updated rosewood version (mk3) is currently in production, contact for info.
Spec English Boxwood, 01 high carbon steel.
Size Approx 2” long
Only 8 or 9 of these unusual Mathieson mitre planes are know to exist, some with a lever cap, some are wedged: both are absolutely stunning.
I've wanted to recreate this pattern for a long time, and as a rarity for me have only changed one major element, the scale. Technically speaking the original would be classed as a mitre, but in reality it’s a giant 10“ long block plane. Beautiful and imposing 10” might be, practical it is not. Our OSM Demi is around 6 1/2” long.
I had some great source material to draw from for this plane. Including full sized drawings from own owner and a full photo set from another (thank you both.)
This one is in Bronze and African Blackwood. Generally speaking we only like the visual element of exposed dovetails to a plane where it will it not compete with the form. It works well on this pattern.
It cannot be seen from fist photo, but the originals have a fine threaded 1/4” lever cap screw, a detail shared with many early infills. The decision to upgrade this was not an easy one, but it was the right thing to do. I machined a bespoke true square threaded 9/32'“ x 14TPI tap from tool steel, then screwcut the matching threads on the cap screws.
The knurling took some doing too - to get the correct proportions we had to machine and heat treat our own knurling wheels (the tool that forms the screw knurl pattern) in house. Once again this choice added considerable work, but meh, we are not known for taking the easy route!
SpecAvailable in Bronze, Steel, Iron, Nickel Silver & many exotic timbers.
Size 6 1/2” long
Iron 1 1/2” wide
Price from £1800
Matched Thumb Planes
A pair of traditional pattern single iron thumb planes.
The ‘Coffin Smoother’ is one of the most iconic forms of all hand planes. The Thumb variant is so called for its smaller size. A solid plane for general smaller scale work, spot smoothing and instrument building.
A customer got in touch to ask enquire about getting a small plane made fro his newborn son, something small but useful for his to grow into. Naturally we were delighted to help with this lovely gesture.
Even historically at a time when 95% of all British planes were crafted from beech, thumb planes would often be made from exotic timbers, mostly in English Boxwood or occasionally Rosewood.
From a mechanical perspective the difference is mute; with similar harness, stability and wear characteristics the decision is purely a visual one.
After showing the customer some samples of each, and both of us still feeling 50:50 on which would look best the solution seemed obvious - I would make both then present both completed planes for his consideration. The chosen plane would be posted out to him, and the other offered for sale on the open market.
Well, that was the plan. Things didn’t quite work out that way. After seeing the pair perfectly complimenting one another, still unable to decide, he was loath to have them separated…and so chose to purchase both!
Spec English Boxwood (yellow) & Honduran Rosewood (red)
Size 3 3/4” long.
Price From £290 each.
….So named because the idea for this pattern came from a simple line drawing, three arcs intersecting one another.
This is the first of my planes that has a ‘hidden bridge’ system to hold the iron in place. One early mitre plane by Badger of London has turned up that uses something similar, but with stubby cast lugs. As far as we know, this is the first dovetailed/tenoned pattern of its kind.
It’s a comfortable infill to use, the generously sized rear wedge fits the palm with the last two fingers curling up under the iron. The front bun peak an intuitive grip for the index finger and thumb. While it can be used with one hand, It is intended as a two handed plane.
The mouth is positioned far back from the front for a large registration and also to keep the stock you are planing truer over many passes.
Sorry to disappoint, but German Silver does not actually contain any Silver. Also known as Nickel Silver, this copper alloy was used extensively in the cutlery trade for cast items to be silver plates (EPNS) and also in fancy drawing instrument sets. Though a bit of a pain to work with, It’s a fantastic looking metal and gives off such a nice, soft glow.
The infill choice here is a very rare timber, figured Sandalwood. Stock like this is almost impossible to buy, and fits in with the bronze and nickel tones just right. The smell when you are working Sandalwood is incredible, if a little heady after a full day!
Spec Available in Bronze, Steel, Nickel Silver & a wide variety of exotic timbers.
Size 5 1/4” long
Iron 1 1/4'“ wide
Price from £1150
The very first closed smoother I made had a dark pinstriped Santos Rosewood body and wedge, with the mouth closer in English Boxwood. After finishing any plane it is my custom to put t’kettle on and have a good long stare at the new piece. I couldn’t help but smile at how perfectly aligned my taste and vision were: Earl Grey with a slice of lemon.
Mouth closers are rarely found in the wild, and when they are it is invariably on an English pattern wooden mitre planes. We have only ever seen two closed smoothers, our friend Jim Hendricks owns one, and I own the other.
The principal is simple but effective; a ‘closer’ piece is a narrow wedge that forms the lower mouth geometry of the plane. A single iron smoother like this one performs better with a tight mouth. When a wooden sole is repeatedly trued over the years, the mouth opens up somewhat.
To counteract this, the closer is removed from the body, one or two shavings taken off the back and is then driven back into the body. Remember, it’s wedge shaped so it now sits lower down, with the bottom end protruding from the body. Once this protrusion is trimmed flush with the sole, the mouth aperture has effectively been reset to its factory fresh tightness. Magic!
Spec Available in a wide variety of species combinations (Plane shown in English Boxwood & Macassar Ebony, 1 1'/4” iron.)
Size approx 4” - 7 1/2” long.
Iron 7/8” - 2 1/4”. Plane shown in English Boxwood & Macassar Ebony, 1 1'/4” iron.
Price From £310
This was the second Demi produced, identical in every respect to its sister but for the materials used.
We don’t get the opportunity to see a direct comparison very often, and It was startling just how much difference colour made to the character. A second big factor at play was the dovetails, or rather, the lack of exposed dovetails.
By having dovetails on show a decorative element is added. Way back when I first became aware of infills it seemed to be all the rage - Why pay the expense commissioning a hand dovetailed plane if they are not there to admire? Recently tastes have swung more towards single metal shells.
It was a welcome relief (and somewhat a surprise) to find out this pattern works equally well in both exposed and hidden configurations, though this one is definitely the quieter of the two.
She is infilled with some unusually fine pin-striped Santos Rosewood, or Pau Ferro for those over the pond. I bought an extremely dense plank a while back and I’m loving how well it fits the understated nature of this plane.
The lever cap is Phosphor Bronze, that unmistakable shade of pinky orange found on much of my work. The splash of colour works well here I think, gives more of an old world feel.
Every year my good friend Richard Arnold hosts a chariety ‘open workshop’ day in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support, and we open ours to lend a hand (our workshops are opposite one another). Donated tools are accepted from across the globe and are auctioned off on the day. Each year I try to make something special for the cause, Kimberley was my 2018 offering.
We love breathing new life into old designs, sometimes scaled down in size but always given a contemporary twist. The original versions of this plane were made by D. Kimberley around the mid 19th C. We own two of these smoothers, both have Iron castings fitted to beech bodies, and both show signs of old paint on the escapement. We believe they once had a painted surface to rust-proof and possibly disguise any casting defects.
I have wanted to make a Kimberley for a very long time but up until early 2018 lacked the skill to do so. As per, every aspect of this plane has been made in-house right down to the matched bronze screws. The metal insert was sand cast in my favourite grade of Phosphor Bronze, machined, filed and hand fitted to an instrument grade Macassar Ebony body. Making the patterns for this sand mould turned out to be particularly challenging, in the end I went through 13 pours and almost as many pattern revisions before I started seeing acceptable results.
In general I don't do paint, somehow it doesn't seem to fit with the quality we are known for. So, for a splash of colour we brewed up a chemical patination fluid and applied it using the same process a fine bronze sculpture would see. The patina is hard, sealed and will not rub off. As a final touch I colour matched my makers mark using the very same patina dust as a pigment.
Introducing Aero, our contemporary take on the Mathieson. While we dearly love the original pattern, the opportunity to give it a modern re-boot proved too much to resist!
While the overall dimensions are pretty much the same as our Demi, the details and overall aesthetic are quite different. Sweeping curves and accelerating transitions are our kind of thing, so this was a great fun. For example, the sidewall is all contemporary at first glance, but a closer look will show the chamfer base line giving a subtle nod to the original profile.
The lever cap is an particularly long necked one, this is to balance the extra height given to the sidewalls, providing more visually open space within the shell. As with the Demi I have used a 9/32” true square thread for the cap screw, and once again gone to the effort of manufacturing our own knurling wheels to cut the pattern shown, which cannot be bought.
The difficulty lay in making a knurl that cuts a square pyramid in a ‘barrel form’ like the early Spiers pattern. I made a few of various radii before settling on the subtle one shown.
Another difficult part of the build was the toe area. As you can see, the entire front end is a compound curve. Naturally this is a dovetailed toe cap that has been shaped, but the only way to do this and be 100% sure of a seamless sole/shell/sidewall transition was to pein the entire shell together in one go, then file that compound front by hand afterwards.
Once upon a time there was a man. A man with a dream of owning a complete set of planes built from one large plank of Brazilian Rosewood. This was the first plane made to fulfil this dream. Okay, I confess, this is only one of two that actually got built. The end.
The office of the Strike Block is to trim and fine tune end gain surfaces. It does this admirably, either on its own or used with a shooting board. This is mostly thanks to the low included angle of attack. As you will have found out moments after picking up your first chisel, End grain fibres like to be sliced at low angles, and for that reason the bed on this plane is 38ª.
The plane pictured is fitted with tapered vintage ‘new old stock’ WK Peace vintage iron, because we happened to have one on hand, but commissions will be fitted with a new OSM manufactured iron. All of our Irons are made from the finest sheffield made 01 tool steel, heat treated in house using digitally controlled furnaces.
Like my other wooden offerings, Strike blocks are sold and sized in iron widths. We would consider a 1 3/4” a medium, good for stock up to and including 3/4” in hardwoods. To be honest i’ve always been of the opinion that anything thicker than that should be secured in the bench vice and planed freehand anyway: we use this plane far more off the shooting board than on it.
Having a low angle of attack, or included bedding angle, also makes this plane exceptional for use on softwoods. Hello glass smooth finishes!
Spec Available in a variety of exotic timbers.
Size 7” to 12” long.
Iron Available in iron widths from 1 1/4'“ to 2 1/4”
Price From £360
A second Aero and twin to the bronze version.
The sidewalls look higher on this one, but that is only your eye reading the even-toned space in between the sidewall profile and the sole. Where contrasting dovetails are used the eye will naturally read from the sidewall top to the dovetail baseline.
See that little flick of light that follows the chamfer as it terminates and slides underneath the front bun? That is an important detail, and easier to spot on this set of photos; As a parallel sided plane it is suitable for use with a shooting board, for trimming and adjusting fine stock.
On both Aeros infills the overstuffed portions are set in a little from the sidewall surface, so as not to mar the Shellac finish when being used on it’s side.
Talking of Shellac, the finish on these is worth a mention. On a typical high end infill the finish is done with Shellac (not French Polish, which is a process not a substance) and ours are no different. It’s a lovely soft, tactile finish that is hard wearing and repairable.
Our process is to use a special polishing mop made from squirrel tails and a thicker mix to build up the initial layer, filling the pores. I then cut back this layer using abrasives until the finish is flat and even. From there a small wad of cotton wrapped up in a linen square is ‘loaded’ with polish and used to build up layers, by rubbing the finish on in a specific sequence.
Over the course of 15 - 20 coats the finish will build up into a single beautiful layer, bringing out the colours, tones and chatoyance of the timber underneath. The infill shown here is some fantastic customer supplied old-growth Brazilian Rosewood.
Spec Available in Bronze, Brass, Steel, Nickel Sliver & a variety of exotic wood infill species.
Size 6 1/2”
Iron 1 1/2”
Price £1800 available on commission.
Our Hotrod pattern started as an abstract idea in a sketchbook yonks ago when I was still green, working out of the garden shed!
The name came from the shape and curves seen on the heel of this plane - admittedly tamed down somewhat to turn it into a practical user. I have a distinct memory of looking through countless photos of newly made coffin smoothers and thinking…hmmm…what if…..?
No, don’t get us wrong, this isn’t a dig at the coffin smoother, we love the traditional pattern and manufacture them ourselves. We also accept the argument that it’s a form evolved over hundreds of years to a point about a century back when they became more or less standardised. However…..this is our point. It did stop, a century ago. Surely there is more fun to be eeked out of it?
This single iron high angle smoothing plane uses a cast bronze bridge and wedge to secure the wedge. Making the Kimberly opened up a world of possibility for me, that of colour. These two patterns have barely scratched the surface of what is possible with patina. It seems unbelievably good luck that of all the cast bronze tools available, OSM is the first to use anything other than ‘antique’ colour as a visual design element.
The colour shown here is one of our own concoctions. We played around with many off-the-shelf patinas before giving up and accepting that there a very good reason art houses around the world brew their own. This one we have dubbed a rather-unimaginative-if-true ‘Atlantis Green’.
As a nice finishing touch we have also ground up some patina and used it as pigment to infill our OSM makers mark. The bridge is held fast by two brass bushes, securely epoxied in place then riveted through with a matching brass cross pin.
Some stunning English Boxwood was used to make this Hotrod, we wouldn’t call it spalted, more just naturally streaky and shot through with ripple figure to boot.
The wedge is a first for us too. It is essentially the ‘beak’ pattern fond on our Kimberly pattern but on a larger scale, the profile also follows an arc rather than just a normal straight right angle. We do like making difficult things. Looks great though, and something we have not come across before.
The 3/16” thick iron also has some unusual shaping to the rear face. Deep chamfers follow around the perimeter in style we are hereby dubbing Tombstone. This serves two purposes; firstly it visually breaks up the large thick slab of iron to balance the thin wedge profile. Secondly, it breaks the corner so the web of your hand can snuggle right in against the planes heel without rubbing during long planing sessions.
Spec Available from a variety of exotic woods. Bridges available in Steel, Bronze & Nickel Silver. Patina colours in Blue, Green, Black, Purple.
Size 5 1\2” shown
Iron 7/8” - 2 1/4”
Price From £440
A ‘Transitional’ pattern plane is one that that occupies the space in between full blooded metal planes and all wooden planes. Many makers have had a crack at this over the years and Thomas Norris was no exception.
Norris A70 (smoother) and A71 (Jack) models were originally beech bodies planes fitted with the same hardware found on their infill planes; parallel double iron, lever cap and patented adjuster. The OSM No.70 is my own take on this classic design.
Naturally I’ve made some changes. The major one being the adjuster delete. I have never really been a fan of Norris type adjusters, believing a suitable plane hammer to be superior in every way. With the addition of a lever cap using a hammer becomes even easier to set and adjust the iron.
To set the cut; slide the iron down into the body until the cutting edge is just shy of the mouth opening. Tighten the lever cap screw a little until it grips and holds the iron in place. Gently tap the back end of the iron to manoeuvre the edge into position, ever so slightly protruding from the sole. Tighten the cap screw.
To retract the cut; loosen of the cap screw a tiny fraction. Tap the heel of the body firmly with a hide faced plane hammer, which will impart force without marring the plane body. The physics of this action will draw the iron back up the bed. Tap rear of Iron as needed. Tighten the cap screw.
The body of this one is Gabon Ebony, cut from a large old billet we acquired at auction. The pivot pin, lever cap and cap screw are made from our favourite grade of Phosphor Bronze, PB102. Onto this cap our bespoke No. 70 logo is electro-etched.
The second major change you will notice is the shape of the heel, which is rounded. Rounded heels seem to pop up a lot in our work on woodies, generally because It adds a more contemporary touch and allows the chamfer to follow the right around the body.
Spec Available in a variety of exotic timbers. Lever options; Brass, Bronze, Stainless Steel, Nickel Silver.
Size 5 1/2” - 6 1/2” long.
Iron 1 3/4” - 2 1/8”
Price From £500
The OSM Slipper pattern is probably the plane we are known best for, having sold more of them than any other plane.
The first Slipper was designed and built years ago, back when I used to work out of my garden shed (fun times) and OSM didn’t exist. The funny thing is I absolutely hated it at first and left it to rot for a year (!) before finally digging it out. Very glad I did.
It’s small size and unique ergonomics lend itself to a wide variety of trimming, sizing and general detail work. To the best of our knowledge this is the only infill worldwide that has contoured sides in the vertical plane.
It is very difficult to capture this on camera, but the sidewall reduces in thickness from sole to sidewall top by about 35%, effectively making the sides of the shell taper inwards. This is no generic flat taper though, being made up of carefully hand filed compound curves that blend into one another seamlessly. I don’t have templates or jigs for this work, preferring to work by hand and eye alone. Each Slipper ends up unique from any sibling.
The plane is of traditional infill construction; dovetailed body, tongue & groove sole, riveted infills and a riveted bridge. This is the only infill plane we do not offer in a mixed-metal shell option, i.e. steel sole, bronze sides. We have had many requests for this, but the truth is contrasting dovetails would ultimately look out of balance and detract from the carefully considered form.
One way to add a touch of individuality, apart from the obvious: infill choice, is to fit a different bridge. As a separate design element a little contrast here works very well. For example, the classic combination of Steel shell, Gunmetal bridge.
On a standard Slipper the sides are finely brushed and the distinctive chamfers brought up to a mirror polish, while the infill is given 12-15 coats of shellac. The example shown here is one I made for the ever talented David Barron, who requested a satin/matt surfaces to be worked in to the design.
This look was achieved by using a slightly coarser brushing pattern along the shell/ bridge and leaving the chamfers brushed to only 800grit - enough to keep a good contrast but well shy of the usual mirror. To compliment the satin finished metal, rather than shellac polished the old-growth Honduran Rosewood was finished with OSMO 1101, a waxoil blend specifically designed to penetrate dense exotics.
Spec Available in all Bronze & all Steel shell. Bridge options; Brass, Bronze, Steel, Nickel silver, Wrought Iron, Damascus, Gunmetal. Various exotic infills available.
Size 5 1/4” long.
Iron 1 1/4” round topped or snecked.
Another of our No.70 smoothing planes.
The body for this one is Honduran Rosewood, looking very classic in combination with the Phosphor bronze lever cap. I have two large planks of Honduras slowly being eaten away by orders, this one is the darker of the two.
The Iron fitted also follows slightly different lines to our other exmple. While it is the same width, it is a touch longer and sits taller in the body. The finish is also has a more rugged look to it, somewhat reminiscent of ‘stonewashed’.
This was achieved by grinding the faces before heat treating rather than after, then carefully hand buffing the fire scale off, preserving the patterning underneath without removing too much of the colouring.
The funny thing is, while you might imagine this is less work than a pristine ‘bright’ iron, it actually takes me longer because I can’t just merrily buzz off all the unwanted scale/decarburised layer with my surface grinder. If you like the look of this finish, i can replicate it to order on any of my plane irons.
The brass lever pivot bushes are turned from bar stock on the lathe into a kind of top hat shape, to fulfil the job of bush and washer combined. The thin inner washer/flange keeps the lever cap edges from rubbing on the wooden sidewalls. The bush is epoxied into plane, drilled out then taper reamed. Once the bronze pivot bar is peined into place, it creates a robust, reliable union.
Another of our favourite details on this plane that is very difficult to photograph is the curved corners found on the escapement. These aren’t just milled out as a first glance would suggest. The radius of this corner actually decreases on it’s way down towards the mouth, terminating at a single point: imagine a slim cone cut into quarters along its length.
Spec Available in a variety of exotic timbers. Lever options; Brass, Bronze, Stainless Steel, Nickel Silver.
Size 5 1/2” - 6 1/2” long.
Iron 1 3/4” - 2 1/8”
Price From £500
No. 10 1/2
So named because it is roughly half the size of the Norris No. 21, the plane on which it is based.
The No.21 was one of the more basic planes offered by Norris. A cast malleable iron smoother of the ‘London pattern’ type body, by which we mean a completely enclosed shell, overstuffed infill, parallel front section with a rear that tapers off from a distinct break into a curved heel.
Maybe it’s their apparent simplicity that lures me, but I do love this type of infill. The OSM take is a substantially more angular offering, as Iv’e always believed in the clean line approach. The 10 1/2 is a plane carefully balanced between detail and form.
This plane also represents our first tentative steps into casting. That was a few years ago now, and after hundreds upon hundreds of hours, foundry work has become become a proficient and integral part of our business.
The bodies for these planes are cast brass fitted with a sweated on steel sole for longevity. Once the bodies have been removed from the sand, they were partially machined before going into the furnace for a full stress relieving cycle. Only then are they ready to be machined to finished tolerance.
This level of care and attention is what you should expect of any cast plane made to a good standard. All of our work is carried out on manual machines, though in situations like this I’ll happily admit a CNC would have made life a fair bit easier making that internal geometry!
Out of the initial batch of five, three were fitted with Macassar Ebony (shown), one with Honduran Rosewood and one in Santos Rosewood, all with a bright shellac finish.
The bridge pattern is actually the second attempt. On the prototype I filed out an immaculate ‘cupids bow’ as per the original. With all those straight lines and bevels to contend with though it just looked…off. The new pattern is more sympathetic with the contemporary re-boot.
With a bed angle of 52º, carefully mated double iron and fine mouth, these little infills excel at spot smoothing and smaller scale work in difficult woods. The bodies are fitted with a small steel strike button to aid adjustment.
Price £800 - one available and ready to ship in Macassar Ebony.
The Rolls Royce of Moving Filisters. A purely traditional pattern from the OSM stable for a rarity.
The English Moving Fillister has always been admired as an elegant plane, chiefly used in the making of casework, it has a great many uses around the shop where fast and accurate rebate work is required/
In many cases using one is actually a faster option that setting up the router tableor spindle moulder, and infinitely less noisy. Very simple in operation; The width of rebate is set via the box faced fence, the depth of rebate set by turning the thumb screw and locking it off.
A Nicker blade is fitted to get super clean shoulders when working cross grain, this works by severing the fibres ahead of the main iron on each pass, ensuring a nice clean shaving is taken and ejected.
The Body on this one is some amazing rippled English Beech, orientated to line up in the general direction of the bed.
The boxing forms a extremely hard wearing running surface, and is dovetailed into the body along its entire length. It’s worth pointing out the grain orientation on this boxing; lined up with the bed angle to give the sole maximum wear resistance, as per tradition. The boxing is true Buxus sempervirens, naturally. Thankfully Box still relatively easy to acquire here in England, albeit expensive and time consumingf to convert into usable sections.,
The brass hardware is scratch built by myself, to the usual fine tolerances we are known for. A steel plate is soft soldered and riveted on to the depth stop shoe to avoid premature wear and give a clean running surface. All-brass shoes tend to leave a black streak on pale woods. The shoe will lock tight effortlessly at any point along its travel.
Spec English Beech or Honduran Rosewood body. Brass or Bronze fittings.
Size 9” long.
Iron maximum rebate size 1 1/4” wide, 1'“ deep.
Price From £810.
Thistle is our latest shoulder plane pattern. After being asked by a client to think about a shoulder plane, and after the usual process of doodling shapes I quickly came to something very close to what you see here.
Before charging ahead (and potentially lumping the client with an uncomfortable paperweight/frown) I made a full scale mock up from Poplar, and I’m glad I did: it proved a little too tall and a little too sharp.
One of the defining characteristics of contemporary design is the use of line and form, with a sculpture or Objet d’art this is easy peasy - if it looks right it is right.
Designing a tool is much more involved. The shoulder planes offer a particular challenge because the thing is used in so many different hand grips both upright and laid on its side, pushed and sometimes pulled.
For shoulder planes at least, Chamfers Maketh The Plane.
While they may look pretty lethal, care has been taken to keep the sharpness strictly visual. They are wide and deep and any un-chamfered corners/edges are neatly tucked away where the fingers wouldn’t find them.
This variant is an all Phosphor Bronze shell (dovetailed, naturally) with a 3/4” Skewed iron and Macassar Ebony infill. I personally prefer the look of skewed planes without contrasting dovetails, this is because the dovetail spacing is different from one side to t’other.
Another touch of contemporary that helps set this plane apart is the strike button. Its something I picked up from my bespoke cabinetry days. I’m sure there is a proper name for this type, but I’ve always know them ‘pig nosed fittings’.
Spec Available in Bronze, Steel, German Silver, Brass & a variety of exotic infills.
Size 5 1/2” - 8” long.
Iron 3/8” - 1 1/2'“ wide
Price Available on commission from £1260
The original concept for this idea came from an eBay auction. I took one look at the photos and thought…..that’s ingenious! The pictures didn’t show the internal geometry, but an evening with a sketchbook took care of the details.
It’s highly original, having a rear entry iron like that into a wooden body, and a pattern that has a lot of ergonomic advantages - this plane is just so comfortable to use in either a single handed grip or, when a bit more force/control is needed, with two hands.
The body is English Boxwood, and probably always will be for this pattern. Box has some unique properties not really found in other exotics. It is a super dense close grained wood, but unlike most timbers with that property, it’s also slightly flexible. This makes it very strong in small sections and therefore perfectly suited to withstand the stresses of this design.
The only major change we have made is to the wedge, which on the orignial was made out of a single piece. This didn’t really fly with us, as the grain wouldn’t follow on from the body and generally look a mess.
The solution is simple in theory but surprisingly tricky to execute; the rear body section is removed and jointed to separate wedge stock in a double tapered joint.
A drawback of low angle wooden planes has always been the weak beds leading edge, this is why so many english pattern wooden mitre planes are often found chipped/split in that area. Like the original, our version is fitted with a metal sole to avoid this problem and provide support for the iron right up to the cutting edge.
The hardwearing Phosphor Bronze sole is held in place with Industrial grade epoxy resin and secured with 8 specially made bespoke screws, turned on the lathe from the exact same metal as the sole plate. The tapered head of the screw pulls the sole tight to the body then wedges itself fast.
Once the adhesive has cured the protruding lugs are machined off and further piened into place. This makes them invisible after the sole is lapped flat.
Another great aspect of this pattern is the escapement. It can never clog because there is simply nothing to catch the shaving on its way out, its just a tapered box that rises upwards from directly over the mouth opening.
Spec English Boxwood, Phosphor Bronze, Carbon Steel.