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Infill & Other British Metal Planes

British Metal Planes, commonly referred to as infill planes, represent the pinnacle of refinement in cabinetmaking planes. These planes came into vogue during a time when industrialization allowed products of remarkable precision to be made for a wide market, but at the same time fine hand work was still being done. Infill planes proliferated in the second half of the nineteenth century. While production lingered on until the early 1950s in a few isolated cases, The Great War really sounded the death knell for this type of tool. Today, these tools are avidly sought by both users and collectors. Their elegant lines and unequaled performance stimulating interest in both groups. When perusing the planes in this section, it must be remembered that the very nature of these planes meant that production would be relatively small. Today, the supply of good examples is very limited. We do sell quite a few Norris and Spiers planes, but it must be borne in mind that these planes are far too scarce to maintain a constant stock of good planes at a reasonable price. Planes by lesser known makers, while often of similar quality, are typically much easier to acquire, simply due to their lessor fame.

In our New Tools Section you will find a complete selection of parallel irons for infill planes custom made for us by Ron Hock.


A Discussion of Infill Planes

Explanation of Our Condition Grading System

Frequently Asked Vintage Tool Questions



Gunmetal Cabinetmaker Gunmetal Cabinetmaker Gunmetal Cabinetmaker Gunmetal Cabinetmaker

BM150247 Gunmetal Cabinetmaker's Mitre Plane This is an 11 3/4" long mitre plane, weighing just over 5 pounds. A true London quality cabinetmaker's mitre plane. It is not signed, but it is a professionally made plane, probably London made, and probably first half of the 19th Century. The sole is wrought iron and you can still see the striations (grain) in the metal. Wrought iron was not used later in the 19th Century as the cost of steel plate fell thanks to the Bessemer process. The gunmetal sides of this plane have never been polished and the plane has a lovely patina, Gunmetal mitre planes are always prized for their looks, with the contrasting material allowing the dovetails to show beautifully. The bridge has cupid's bow top. There are some dings in the face of the bridge that looks almost deliberate, like the mark of an illiterate owner. The fill is Cuban mahogany. The blade is by Greaves and is about full, although it may be a later replacement. This plane is from my personal collection and is a connoisseur's piece. G++ Sold


Book:  Through Much Tribulation, Stewart Spiers and ...

BM150249 Book: Through Much Tribulation, Stewart Spiers and ... This is the only book that goes into such detail about the life and work of Stewart Spiers. It was written by Nigel Lampert and is 128 pages long, paperback, and printed in Australia. This one is #232 of 1000 printed. We sold at least a hundred of them, but I don't know where they all disappeared to, because I don't see them on the market very often now. I believe that they were all signed by the author. This one is Fine except for the cover, which shows some very minor wear. It would be hard to read it without causing some wear. An important reference for anyone interested in this topic. G+ $149


Mathieson, Glasgow Mathieson, Glasgow Mathieson, Glasgow Mathieson, Glasgow Mathieson, Glasgow

BM150255 Mathieson, Glasgow A rare and important first pattern Mathieson panel plane. These early Mathieson infill planes are still a bit of a mystery to collectors. It is know that later Mathieson outsourced production, primarily to Norris, but little is know about these planes. Literally only a handful are known. They even made a mitre plane version that had an adjustable mouth, the only British mitre plane with this feature that I am aware of. This plane has been in my collection and before that was in an important Scottish collection. It is 13 5/8" long and weighs just over 8 pounds. The attention to detail on these planes extends to even shaping the top of the iron to match the rounded shape of the bun. They ae true masterworks. This plane has a lovely even patina on the body. There is an old and clearly stable hariline crack eminating from one of the screw holes and running to the top of the casting. The maker's mark was struck a bit unevenly and is faint on the top. When I got it, the hole for the strike button had been plugged with filler and dark spray had been used to obscure the primitive work. John Porritt, master restorer, cleaned off this obscuring spray, removed the filler in the hole, and installed a new strike button made from yew. He then repaired the finish to match the finish in the rear. If you are not familiar with John's work, it is so good that you usually can't spot it. I often see his work being sold without any mention. This tool is a must own piece for the advanced infill collector. G+ $5995


Norris, London Norris, London

BM150214 Norris, London A Norris #51 parallel sided adjustable smoothing plane with a 2 1/4" wide iron. This plane will perform as well as an A2 - A6, but since it was cast instead of dovetailed it is a bit cheaper plane. Functionally, this is a great plane, with a near full original iron and nice metal surfaces. The bad news is that the front bun has no finish on it. It looks like somebody planned to refinish it, stripping it and then giving up. It is the correct bun, as it has the original fitting numbered marked on it, which matches the fitting number on the lever cap. The finish on the handle is fine. The plane is priced dirt cheap because of this issue with the bun finish. G+ $599


Preston Patent

BM150230 Preston Patent A very clean as found Preston adjustable bullnose plane with about 99% of the original nickel and 80% of the original iron. A superior example for the connoisseur. Fine $169





Kerr Kerr

BM150125 Kerr A 3/4" rebate plane, measuring 8" overall. Kerr is believed to have made planes, but this plane looks to me like it was made by Robert Towell. The features are all stylistically evocative of Towell's work. It has a full iron by I. Sorby, punch brand, that is a later replacement, although probably replaced during the planes original working life. A great user plane or a very scarce example of this mark for a collector. G+ $289


Preston Patent

BM150130 Preston Patent A standard Preston patent adjustable bullnose with only about 10% of the original iron remaining and no nickel plating left. It appears to have been lightly cleaned with a wire wheel. A good user for the budget conscious woodworker. Good $89




Preston Patent

BM141236 Preston Patent A clean and well cared for Preston bullnose plane with a removable front for use as a chisel plane. Retains about 35% of the original Preston iron. Other than normal nickel wear, this plane is without fault. G+ $165




J.H. (John Holland) J.H. (John Holland)

BM141028 J.H. (John Holland) This is a 1 1/2" wide gunmetal shoulder plane that was made for the trade, that is to be marked by a retailer. Thus it is unmarked on the front, but both the blade and the body under the wedge, are marked J. H., which is how Holland often marked planes that he was not markng with his maker's mark. Whenever I recognize an unmarked plane to be by Holland, I immediately look for the J.H. mark hidden away. Perhaps I shouldn't be letting the secret out! Another less attractive feature of Holland's work is that he oriented the wood used for his wedges in such a way that they chip easily on the finial, and most are chipped. This one is chipped, but much less so than many that I have seen. It retains about 35% of the original Ibbottson iron. Untouched, with nice patina on the gunmetal. The wood could use a cleaning with wax to bring out the color of the rosewood. The plane retains its original tight mouth that Holland was known for. A great user or collector's piece. G+ $385


E. Preston & Sons E. Preston & Sons

BM141017 E. Preston & Sons This is the larger size Preston patented double side rebate plane in nice, little used, condition. The top side would rate higher, but the sole has some light nickel loss. A very nice example all the same. G+ $299




Unmarked

BM140975 Unmarked This is an oversized and very heavy gunmetal chariot plane that will make a fantastic user. The sole is 4 1/2" by 2 1/8". It fits my hand great. The infill looks to be mahogany. It has a nice tight mouth. G+ $369




Buck, 242 Tottenham Ct. Rd

BM140835 Buck, 242 Tottenham Ct. Rd A 15 1/2" Norris #1 panel plane, that was made for the retailer Buck, and bears the Buck mark. The sides and sole have been carefully cleaned but have scattered light pitting. Nothing that will matter as a user. The blade is a proper period replacement by Ward & Payne, presumably put in during the planes original working life. It is a perfect fit, preserving the plane's tight mouth. About 40% remains on this blade. The lever cap is uncleaned and retains some original lacquer as well as being patinated. The front bun has been sheared off and glued back, which is not that uncommon these Norris panel planes, as this was a weak point. The woodwork is nice and this period repair doesn't bother me. The wood does have an overcloat of some more recent finish. A nicer user plane at a an easy to live with price point for what is a genuine Norris plane. G+ Sold


Unmarked Unmarked

BM140810 Unmarked A gunmetal chariot plane with a rosewood wedge. I am confidence that this plane was made by Miller, but Miller for some reason only signed a fraction of this work. He always used Marples irons and this one retains the original iron, which shows wear but is still above the back of the wedge. It has been lightly polished and at some point but a nice patina is slowly returning. Th e sole is 1 7/8" by 3 3/4". A great user or collector's piece. G+ $489


T (Thackeray)

BM140339 T (Thackeray) This is a noticably heavy 3/4" cast-iron rebate plane. It is just under 9 inches long and the infill is ebony. It is marked only with a capital T, which is how Thackeray marked his shoulder and rebate planes. It is in lovely as found condition, with about 60% of what I believe to be the original iron remaining. I would have gone a grade higher but for some minor dings in the wood along the top. This plane has a tight mouth and will be a fantastic user at a modest price compated to a comparable example by one of the top-tier makers. G++ Sold


Holland, Maker, London Holland, Maker, London Holland, Maker, London

BM140378 Holland, Maker, London This is an important early Holland smoothing plane from an important London collection. This plane is in the mid-19th Century London pattern style, and has an earlier style bridge than is typical for Holland. The wedge is battered but looks original, and has the snecked sides that Slater was known for. I have long thought that Holland originated this style. The blade and cap iron are much earlier from the plane, but look like they have been with it for a long time. They are round topped and by James Cam. The rear rosewood infill is in nice condition but the front fill was changed, in the original period of use, to a horn shape reminiscent of a Continental plane. The rear casting is cracked from being hit with a hammer to adjust the plane. Despite its flaws, this is a good usable plane and the earliest Holland plane that I can recall seeing. For the Holland scholar. Good $395


Edward Preston & Sons

BM140325 Edward Preston & Sons A very clean Preston bullnose with about 70% of the original iron remaining. There are a few small spots on the sides that kept it from rating fine. G++ $179





J. Buck, London

BM140329 J. Buck, London A 1 1/16" wide iron bullnose plane that was probably made by Holland. It retains about 30% of the original Ward iron. The of the rosewood wedge has a chip knocked out of it, a flaw often seen on Holland planes. The plane has been lightly cleaned overall with something like steel wool. Not an appropriate thing to do, but in this case the plane is OK and a bit of handling will erase any evidence of this encounter. A nice little plane but not quite good enough for a discnerning collector. Hence the low price. G+ $185


Norris, London Norris, London

BM140165 Norris, London A 1 1/2" wide dovetailed steel #22 shoulder plane. The 22 available as a cast plane or for a higher price as a dovetailed plane. This example has a near full original numbered and Norris marked iron. It is a later example, probably from between the wars, and is marked 22 on the front. The wood is untouched but the sides and sole are very clean and may have been lapped. The rear is untouched and shows the patina that the rest of the plane should have had. A great user and modestly priced. G+ $499


Melhuish, London (Spiers) Melhuish, London (Spiers)

BM13121 Melhuish, London (Spiers) A very scarce Spiers made gunemtal shoulder plane. This is marked for the London retailer, Melhuish, but is a Spiers 1 1/2" wide gunmetal shoulder plane. Spiers gunmetal shoulder planes are very scarce by any measure. The dovetailed variety typically sell for much more, but the cast type, like this one, are in my experience even more scarce. This plane has better than 90% remaining of the original Ibbottson iron. The mark on the iron is interesting, in that I have never noticed this mark before. It reads, "Thos Ibbotson & Co., Makers Sheffield". The wood is highly figured rosewood. There is one check in the top of the fill, which is the result of using a piece with so much figure. The mouth is very tight, as you would want. The plane has been polished overall. Not buffed, but polished such that it will need to be handled a lot to rebuild the patina. An exciting find for the advanced collector. G++ $1495


Badger, London

BM13081 Badger, London A scarce gunmetal bullnose plane by Badger. Badger planes were usually only marked on the iron, so when the iron is used up, the mark is gone. This plane still has the original Badger marked W&P iron with about 5/16" remaining. It is a 1 1/16" wide plane. The rosewood wedge is still in nice condition and still seats properly so that the side profile of the plane is maintained. Badger was veyr particular to have a certain look from the side. His planes are very sculptural. I have even had one smoother that was filled with highly figured birch. The srike button on this plane is of a proper type, but has recently been added. It is as new, and below it, the plane shows evidence of repeated strikes. The gunmetal retains a light patina, but has been lightly polished. the sides have some tool box rasp. The sole is good and it still has a nice tight mouth. Overall this is quite respectible example of a quite scarce plane. Good $329


Norris, London Norris, London

BM130623 Norris, London This is a scarce and highly sought after Norris A7 in 1" width. It has a full original numbered iron, and most of the original finish on the rosewood. There is some light and medium light pitting on the right side. The sole and left side are without issue. This is really a nice example and will make a great user or collector's piece. I have seen similar examples bring twice as much money, but not in this economy. G+ $2595


Unmareked

BM130458 Unmarked A relatively early dovetailed wrought iron rebate plane. This is the unusual style where the wedge is cut into one piece of infill, rather than being as wide as the infill. That must have been much harder to do, and is quite unusual. I have seen a few Robert Towell planes with this feature, but I don't know for sure who made this plane. I presume that it is London made and first half of the 19th Century. The Ward iron retains about 35-40%. The wedge is a little battered on the lower edge of the finial. It has a nice tight mouth and would be a great user that was probably once making fine London quality furniture. 9" long and just over 3/4" wide. G+ $249


Edward Preston

BM1303111 Edward Preston A very clean 1 1/8" wide Preton patent adjustable bullnose retaining about all of the original bright nickel and 60% of the original blade. Connoisseur Grade. Fine $175





Spiers, Ayr

BM13031 Spiers, Ayr A dovetailed Spiers 1 1/8" wide shoulder plane with about 20% of the original numbered iron remaining. The iron is unmarked and the plane has the block letters mark. As found with some small dots of white paint splattering. Clean and rust free, this is a nice honest plane that is conservatively rated G+ $385




Unmarked Unmarked

BM121139 Unmarked This is a gunmetal, steel soled, smoothing plane, that I believe may be an early Norris. It has the early style Norris hold down screw and the lever cap is consistent with a Norris style. I don't have an early Norris smoother of this model at hand to compare the side profile. The plane originally was an unhandled smoother with ebony infill. Sombody has added an aluminum handle. The work was superbly well done, but is clearly not what a collector wants to see. The front bun is somewhat flat on top and may have been flattened at some point, or it may have been made this way. The sides retain about 50% original lacquer, although they are covered with light tool box rash. The sole has been cleaned and retains light pitting. As a user, this plane will be superb. It has a good tight mouth and a great feel. However, the modification has had a dramatic impact on the asking price. G+ Sold


Norris, London Norris, London Norris, London

BM120914 Norris, London A gunmetal with steel sole bullnose plane with a rosewood wedge and about half of the original snecked iron, numbered to the plane but not marked. The sole is clean with a tight mouth, as it was made. The body has been lightly cleaned by a collector, but not all buffed up by any means. The wood is untouched with nice surface and nice grain. The gunmetal surface has some very light tool box rash. A nice honest example that is not too good to use, but good enough to fit in a quality collection. It is the 1 1/8" wide model. G+ $845




Infill Plane Infill Plane

BM1112224 Benj. Slater, London A very rare Benjamin Slater shoulder plane. Henry Slater of course went on to become one of the most successful planemakers of all time, but his father's planes are very rare. You can see the form of a Henry Slater shoulder plane in this one, but it is not the same. The wedge has the whale tail shape associated with Miller. The plane has had a hard live. The mouth is chipped up, and screw has been run up through the sole to reinforce a hairline crack on one side. There are also some hairlines in the rear where it has been struck to adjust it. Still, it is a usable plane, and clearly the owner was trying to keep it going. An important documentary piece. G- $275



Infill Plane

BM1112225 Edward Preston An as found Preston patent 1 1/8" bullnose with about half the original iron remaining and about 60% of the original nickel. A used but well cared for example that will serve you well. G+ $179





Infill Plane Infill Plane Infill Plane

BM111236 Spiers, Ayr A very scarce Spiers 3/4" combination bullnose and rebate plane in honest original condition. Both mouths are super tight, as tight as I have seen on any Spiers. The iron is full and numbered to the plane, as is the wedge. The wedge fits in both slots and I am not sure if these always came with two irons or not. Most of them that have two irons and wedges are faked up, but I have seen at least one that I think was right. The body has a pleasing light patina with some very light pitting, mainly on the left side. This plane is out of my collection and is one of the nicest, and totally honest, examples that I have seen of this very hard to find plane. G+ 575



Infill Plane Infill Plane

BM110918 Norris, London A 1 1/4" #7 Norris shoulder plane with about 90% of the original numbered iron remaining. Nice untouched condition with a nice tight Norris mouth. A very strong G+ $575



Infill Plane Infill Plane

BM110732 Spiers, Ayr A 1 1/4" Spiers shoulder plane with 90% of a Spiers marked snecked iron, but not the original iron for this plane The plane is numbered 6 and this iron is 11. The iron is marked "Stewart Spiers, Cast Steel, Ayr, Scotland." The plane is marked 23 on the front. Nobody is quite sure what these numbers that are found on later Spiers planes mean. They do not seem to be model numbers. It has been speculated that they could have signifiied which bench hand made the plane. Also marked "Dovetailed" on the front. The side of the wedge is marked with the Stewart Spiers mark. I have never seen that mark on a wedge before. Overall this is a very clean example with some intriguing features. G++ $369



Infill Plane

BM110283 Mathieson An iron bullnose plane marked by Mathieson, but clearly made for them, as many of their planes were, but Norris of London. The back is even marked with the distinctive "Patent Metal" mark of Norris. The plane retains 80% of its original numbered iron. It is 1 1/8" wide. Mathieson marked bullnose planes are quite scarce, but yet if this plane were marked by Norris it would actually sell for even more. It has been light cleaned by a misguided dealer, but the plane is rust free and no real harm was done, the patina was just a bit rubbed. It will blend back in within a few years. Really quite a nice example. G+ $459



Infill Plane

BM11013 T. Gardner, Maker, Bristol A rare 1 1/4" skew mouth shoulder plane that was clearly made by H. Slater, but retailed by T. Gardner, a wooden plane maker. Retains about 30% of the original iron. Cleaned overall so that the metal has no patina. The wedge is an old replacement that was made oversized to make the plane easier to hold. It really fits the hand well and would be a great user like this. The first skew mouthed Slater made plane that I have ever seen. Good $359



Infill Plane

BM100838 Unmarked This is an unusual rhino horn gunmetal shoulder plane. It certainly looks professionally made, but I have not one seen before. The fill is rosewood and has its original finish. There is some slight chipping from the very tip of the horn. Very lightly polished. The blade is marked Marples and is about 70%. The steel sole has some very light rust that will clean right off. From an imporant Glasgow collection. A very special plane for the connoisseur. G+ Sold



Infill Plane

BM100611 Buck, Tottenham Ct Rd., Patent Metal A Norris made 1" wide iron bullnose marked by Buck. Has a nearly full replacement iron. The wedge is a bit battered, but this will be a great user. It has a nice tight original Norris mouth. A steal for a user wanting to own a genuine Norris. Good $189



Infill Plane Infill Plane Infill Plane

BM100555 Spiers, Ayr This is a rare original model Spiers panel plane in very genuine condition. The handle spur is shortened, but a long time ago and it is well blended in. There is a patch on the front but where a stike button has been removed. That is the only evidence of any recent activity. Frankly, I would put a strike button back. The dovetailed body has no pitting and is very nice. The blade is an old replacement that fits fine. The unpolished lever cap is engraved with the original owner's name with some of the nicest engraving that I have ever seen on a tool. A rare and important plane for the advanced collector. Good $1395



Infill Plane

BM100451 Unmarked Gunmetal Chariot A darling little London chariot plane, 3 3/8" long by 1 3/8" wide. This plane is not signed but I have seen a similar example that was signed by Badger. The wedge is wonderfully patinated boxwood. It has been hand polished some time ago, and now has a light patina. There are a series of dings in the sole where an idiot seems to have used it to tap on something. Other than that, it is all just honest wear. From a good London collection. Good $295



Infill Plane

BM100135 Goddard, London A bronze bullnose plane that is uncleaned with a patina that is wonderful with the nice glow of a well cared for gunmetal tool. It has a steel sole. The blade, which I am confident is original, retains about 45%. The name is marked on the side and does not jump out at you, but when you see it, it is clearly legible. It definitely does not appear to be an owner's mark. I have no information on this maker or retailer. The plane has light tool box rash but the patina is so nice that you don't really notice. A rare and interesting piece. G+ Sold



Infill Plane Infill Plane

BM91174 J.Buck, London This is a cast iron shoulder plane made by John Holland but marked by the retailer, J. Buck. The blade is marked with the J.H. as was commonly used by Holland on his blades. This is a small size shoulder plane, and sits lower than most. The width is 1 3/16". The iron is in nice condition with a nice light patina. The rosewood has some light tool box rash and looks a bit dull. I think that some wax would really brighten it up. The blade has about 50% remaining. G+ $289



Infill Plane Infill Plane

BM91052 Mathieson, Glasgow This is a rare and interesting plane. It is the first pattern Spiers 13 1/2" panel plane. It is marked, only on the wood, Mathieson, Glasgow, but it is clearly a Spiers plane. I guarantee that the mark is right and is not the spurious Mathieson mark that is so commonly seen these days. The top 3/8" of the bun and the top of the tote are replaced, but properly done, in the way that museums favor today, where it is an accurate likeness, but the repair is obvious to all but auctioneers. The blade is a parallel Mathieson iron that fits well, but is totally the wrong iron for the plane. The original iron would have been a tapered iron at this time. A rare and important plane despite its condition limitations. Good $799



Infill Plane Infill Plane Infill Plane

BM91034 Norris, London A Norris number 51 adjustable smoothing plane with about 70-80% of the original Norris marked iron remaining. This plane has most of the bright lacquer left on the hold down screw and a very pleasant light patina overall. This is another very nice example from that wonderful Norris collection that we have been selling. There are two minor faults. Really one. There are several obtrusive owner's marks on the top of the front bun. Not really a fault but it is a but much. The tote has a glued crack in the front part, that is not the tote itself, but the closed part that goes in front of the hand. This is a common flaw, in just this place, but I don't know why. The original paint is about 80%. Most of the examples that I see turning up in this country are repainted. This is a really nice honest example at what I think is a moderate price. G++ $745



Infill Plane Infill Plane

BM9108 Spiers, Ayr A scarce Spiers combination rebate plane. The metal surfaces on this plane have been cleaned more than I would like, and it idoes not have a patina, but otherwise the condition is not too bad with no damage to the delicate mouths. The only real complaint is that the wedge is a bit battered. The iron is the original numbered Ward iron and is about 60% remaining. I am not convinced that these came with 2 irons and wedges. Any that I have seen that way were, upon careful inspection, seen to be faked up. A nice honest example. Good $545



Infill Plane Infill Plane

BM9068 Norris, London This is a clean and well cared for Norris #50 coffin smoother. This is the cast iron equivalent of an A5, and will perform just as well for a more modest investment. This plane has a good original iron, most of the bright original lacquer on the lever cap, and nice lightly patinated iron parts. In short, a very nice example of a pre-War adjustable Norris for the discerning user. G++ $845



Infill Plane

BM9051 R. Fairclough, 12 Byrom St. This is a 1" wide iron bullnose plane with a very distinctive London made form. Fairclough was a wooden plane maker and would not have made this plane, but I am not sure who did. The detailing on this plane, such as the chamfering, is superb, and it really speaks to me. About 40% of what I think is the original W&P iron remains. Nice as found color. Highly recommended. G+ $179



Infill Plane Infill Plane Infill Plane

BM71232 Unmarked This is a London made gunmetal chariot plane measuring 1.5 by 3.5 inches. This plane was probably made by Lyons of London, but it is not marked. It is untouched with a great patina overall. The ebony wedge has a chip in the lower corner of the cupid's bow, but is otherwise OK. The blade is worn pretty short, and the back of the plane is heavily dented, from years of use. I like this plane a lot. It is a nice honest chariot, and finding them unpolished is hard. Good $289

Hock Parallel Irons for Infill Planes
We have a full selection of Hock irons custom made to our specifications in standard and A2 steel. These are all listed in the new tools section. Hock Blades

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