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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.


A Discussion of Infill Planes

Explanation of Our Condition Grading System

Frequently Asked Vintage Tool Questions



Unmarked Unmarked Unmarked Unmarked

BM211213 Unmarked A nice crisp as found gunmetal chariot plane with an ebony wedge and a Ward & Payne iron. The plane has a nice color and is not covered with tool box rash. The blade is 1 1/4" wide and the sole is 3 1/4" long. I quite like this plane. G++ $239




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

BM13121 Melhuish, London (Spiers) A very scarce Spiers made gunmetal 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++ $695


Norris, London Norris, London Norris, London Norris, London Norris, London

BM200554 Norris, London A rare early Norris smoothing plane with the cupid's bow bridge. As is the case with many early Norris planes, this one is not externally marked, but if you look under the bridge (or lever cap as the case may be), "Norris, London" is cast into bridge, clearly part of the original pattern. I have another plane that is nearly identical to this one in my collection. The only difference is the wood. It is stamped on the bridge, "Green, Pimlico", and has the same "Norris, London" under the bridge. It is much clearly on that plane than it is on this one, but I have seen this enough to know exactly what it says. The body on this plane is very similar to early Holland bodies, furthering the speculartion that Holland and Norris collaborated early on. I have noticed the same similarity in their bullnose castings and the close proximity of their workshops would certainly facilitate collaboration. Making this plane extra rare and interesting is that the wood is live oak. It is clearly the original infill and would have been special ordered from Norris, who was just a small operation at this time. The blade and cap iron are by W&P. The iron is a parallel iron. I can't say conclusively if it is original to the plane but it certain is a good fit and is probably original . The plane has a lovely untouched patina. The bottom of the wedge looks like somebody rounded it a bit. That is the only thing worth noting on this fantastic plane. This is plane is from my personal collection and before that was in the great John Wilkins collection. It is for the serious Norris collector. Fine- $1595


Norris, London Norris, London Norris, London Norris, London

BM21113 Norris, London A Norris A5 smoothing plane made from about 1925 - 1930. It was formerly in the collection of the late Geoff Entwistle, and and has been marked with Geoff's owner's mark. Geoff was a friend of mine and I told him that it was wrong to mark the planes, but I can't deny that he had great taste in tools. This plane has been lightly and correctly cleaned by Geoff. The rosewood is fantastic and retains most of its original finish. The steel is clean and the mouth is very crisp and tight. The blade is correct, but the plane is numbered 2 and the blade is numbered 1. Not many A5s are numbered at all. I am not sure if it was only done when there were multiple planes on the bench at once or if there was some other criteria. The bronze has a lovely mellow color. If you have been looking for a great example of an A5, look no further. Fine- $1495


Tot. Court Rd. Tot. Court Rd. Tot. Court Rd. Tot. Court Rd. Tot. Court Rd.

BM211031 Tot. Court Rd. A Norris made chariot plane that was retailed by Buck. There is some dinging on the bridge and I can't read the Buck name, only the second line, as shown. The original iron is marked Buck, Tot. Court Rd, with the same stamp that was used on the bridge. The plane is cast iron and is the scarce variation with a rosewood piece in the front. The blade is just shy of 1 1/4" wide. The plane has a pleasing medium patina. There is a crack in the mouth on the left side, where the iron was driven in too hard and pushed the sole down. This shouldn't matter as a user. If it was Norris marked it would be much more expensive. G+ $499


Norris, London Norris, London Norris, London Norris, London Norris, London

BM21109 Norris, London A scarce Norris number 15 smoothing plane in nice honest condition. It is from about 1900, with the flared side lever cap and the hold down screw with a prounced center turning. The blade width is 2", which is also unusual. None of the parts are numbered, which is probably because 2" planes were so uncommon that it was the only one being made in that batch. The numbering of parts was to keep parts straight when planes were made in batches. The blade and cap iron are both marked by Ward. The only condition issue that I have with this plane is that the upper half of the blade has been overcleaned for some inexplicable reason. I think that it is original, but without fitting numbers that can't be confirmed. The rest of the metal parts have a nice unmolested look about them. The bronze has nice color and traces of original lacquer. The very thin forward part of the closed tote is reinforced with a piece of wood that is let in from under the blade. This is factory correct and was something that Norris did on these. Unfortunately, that also served to keep the wood from moving and caused it to crack. This one has been reparied, some years back, but John Porrit. You can only really see it under the bright photo lights. There is also a tight check in the base of the tote, caused by the same thing. The steel screw that is put in from the bottom to reinforce the tote prevents the wood from moving with humidity changes. Again, you would really see this without a bright light. In short this is quite a nice example of a very hard to find Norris model. I also happen to think that the 15 was the most attractive model that Norris made. G+ $995


Spiers, Ayr Spiers, Ayr Spiers, Ayr Spiers, Ayr

BM210696 Spiers, Ayr A 1 inch wide Spiers rebate plane with 90% of the original numbered iron remaining. The 1" sizes is actually pretty scarce for Spiers. They made tons of them in 3/4", but other sizes are far less common. This one has a super tight mouth, just as it left the factory. It has been carefully & properly cleaned by a collector. It has the common shrinkage check in the infill caused by the wood not being able to move freely in its metal casing. This is a nice plane that will make a great user, and or a collector's piece. G+ $279


Unmarked Unmarked Unmarked Unmarked

BM21058 Unmarked This is a very high quality gunmetal chariot plane with a steel sole. It is clearly professionally made, but is not signed. It has a James Howarth iron that is undoubtedly original to it. The wedge is ebony with a cupids bow bottom. The mouth is super tight as you expect from a high-end chariot plane. The sole is 3 7/8" by 1 7/8". It weighs about 1 & 1/4 pounds. The gunmetal body has been hand polished. It will recolor with time. Otherwise I would have rated it fine, but buy definition a polished tool can't rate fine. For the connoisseur. G++ $599


Preston, EP, Trade Mark Preston, EP, Trade Mark Preston, EP, Trade Mark Preston, EP, Trade Mark

BM210439 Preston, EP, Trade Mark A matching pair of the largest size Preston violin maker's planes, one flat sole and one stooped sole (radiused and compassed). The are both in superb untouched condition. The surfaces of both planes still show the original finishing marks from the factory. Even the sole on the flat bottom planed has the original surface, making me think that it is unused, as this rubs off very quickly with use. The stooped sole plane has the original Preston marked standard blade. The flat soled plane has the toothed blade installed, which is not marked, but is original. I believe that these planes originally came with one standard and one toothed blade, but I have never seen both blades still with a plane. I bougth these two together and I assume that they started life together. They have been in my collection for years and they are the best that I have seen. For the connoisseur who must own the best. Fine $1195


Buck, Tot Court Rd Buck, Tot Court Rd Buck, Tot Court Rd Buck, Tot Court Rd Buck, Tot Court Rd Buck, Tot Court Rd Buck, Tot Court Rd

BM210417 Buck, Tot Court Rd A rare small skew iron rebate plane that was clearly made by Norris and retailed by Buck. The plane is 5/8" wide, which is an uncommon size as well. The wedge shape is a Norris shape that is not the earliest, but not the more commonly seen later shape either. The iron is also marked by Buck. The iron is much thicker than usual, in fact, the thickest that I have seen. The mouth is super tight. This plane will only work for taking the very finest of shavings. The iron looks to be about full original length. The sole is six inches long. The plane has been sympathetically cleaned by a collector and should please a discerning collector. I would certainly be happy to own it. G+ $845


Spiers, Ayr Spiers, Ayr Spiers, Ayr Spiers, Ayr Spiers, Ayr Spiers, Ayr

BM210249 Spiers, Ayr A rare Spiers #26 steel bullnose plane with 80% of the original numbered and Spiers marked iron. With it is the baize bag that it has spent its life in. The provenance of this plane can be traced back to the great Harley collection of Scottish planes in Glasgow. Superb. Fine $895





Norris, London Norris, London Norris, London Norris, London

BM210164 Norris, London A Number 7 Norris shoulder plane is a very scarce 1" wide size. It retains about 85-90% of the original Norris marked snecked iron. I don't see that the iron is numbered to the plane, but that doesn't worry me because with scarce planes, like unusual widths, or skewed, they were not made in batches and thus they didn' need to keep the parts straight. The wood infill retains most of its original finish. The sole is crisp with a tight mouth. There is some scattered staining but very minor. The original owner, "C. Cowan" was very proud of it and struck his owner's mark in 4 spots on the plane. Make no mistake, this is a great plane at what I think is a very reasonable price. G++ $499


Norris, London Norris, London Norris, London Norris, London Norris, London Norris, London Norris, London

BM20098 Norris, London This is a pair of 1 1/4" wide Norris Number 7 shoulder planes, one skewed, and one standard, both owned by the same owner. The standard plane has rosewood infill that retains most of its original French polish finish and at least 90% of the original Norris marked iron. There is some dried grease on the plane and some scattered staining. The mouth is super tight and the plane is very crisp. The skewed plane has been used more and the original Norris marked blade has about 30% remaining. In my experience, Norris did not number the blades on skewed planes, and this plane is no exception. Presumably there were so few made that there was no need to number parts to keep them straight. The wood is much darker and I am not sure what wood it is. Presumably it was chosen to quickly differentiate between the two planes. There is quite a lot of dried grease on this plane and some minor staining. It also has a super tight mouth. There is a tiny chip on the right side of the wedge and slightly more signs of use. This plane is also marked "Buck & Ryan, London". This is the only pair of its kind that I have seen. I acquired these planes more than 25 years ago and it is time to let somebody else enjoy them now. I have used them and they both work as one would expect for Norris planes of this quality. I tried to price them what I think is quite reasonable for what they are. The skewed plane alone used to bring this much. For the connoisseur. Fine- $1495


Unmarked (Bayfield) Smoothing Plane Unmarked (Bayfield) Smoothing Plane Unmarked (Bayfield) Smoothing Plane Unmarked (Bayfield) Smoothing Plane

BM200614 Unmarked (Bayfield) Smoothing Plane I have only seen a few of these planes over the years and none were signed, but their similarity of form to the Bayfield rebate planes makes it reasonable to presume that they are by Bayfield. It is a beautifully made plane with an iron body and rosewood infill and a rosewood wedge. The 2 1/8" wide iron by Nurse is likely a replacement, but it is a good fit. The iron body has a pleasing light patina and the rosewood retains most of its original finish. This plane is from my collection and is the finest example of its kind that I have encountered. For the serious infill plane collector. G++ $995






Norris, London Norris, London Norris, London Norris, London Norris, London Norris, London Norris, London

BM19017 Norris, London A unique in my experience A5 Norris that is marked "Appd For" rather than with the patent date and number on the adjuster. I have never seen this on any other adjustable Norris of any model. I am assuming that this plane must have been made right around 1913. It has lever cap that reads Norris, London, Patent Adjustable". The blade is a period replacement. The sides of the adjuster channel have been shortened by about 1/8" to allow slightly more lateral adjustment. The plane has tool box rash and is clearly a well used plane, but not abused. For the advanced Norris collector, this is a must own plane. G+ $2795


Buck, Tot. Court Rd. Buck, Tot. Court Rd. Buck, Tot. Court Rd. Buck, Tot. Court Rd. Buck, Tot. Court Rd. Buck, Tot. Court Rd. Buck, Tot. Court Rd.

BM181058 Buck, Tot. Court Rd. A scarce #16 Norris smoothing plane with cupid's bow bridge, made for the retailer Buck and so signed. When I got this plane it had no blade. I have put in a Mathieson iron that is an excellent fit, along with a proper unmarked cap iron. (Ironic as I am selling off my blade collection since I swore that I would never buy another plane that needed a blade. This one is so special that I made an exception.) This would be the end of the story , except that an idiot has cut off the bottom of the wedge to use it with a thin blade. So now about 3/4" of the bottom of the wedge is missing, which of course means that it won't work properly. If you buy the plane, I will furnish photos of an unmolsted wedge. You will need to graft a piece onto the bottom of this wedge. It is the earlier style Norris wedge with the rounded finial. There is an old crack in the casting that runs from the front hole to the top of the plane. The plane is so scarce that you have to look past this. Cupid's bow bridge Norris planes of any model are as scarce as hen's teeth. This is really a decent plane all in all. WIth the wedge fixed it will be a usable plane. G+ $399


Unmarrked Unmarrked Unmarrked

BM180462 Unmarked A truly wonderful little chariot plane. The sole measures 3 3/8" long by 1 1/2" wide and the blade is 1 1/16. It has a fine mouth consistent with the kind of fine work that you would need a tiny plane like this for. The wood is rosewood, including the bed. It looks to me like it was made by one of the obscure mid-19th Century London makers like Badger or Lyons. The surface has a very fine pitting overall but the plane has been nicely cleaned and it really doesn't detract. There are some dings in the top rear of the wedge were a user setting the wedge missed the back and hit the top of the wedge. None the less, this is really a special plane. The form is wonderful, the size is unusual, and the original quality is quite high, consistent with London made products. G+ $285


Norris, London Norris, London Norris, London Norris, London Norris, London

BM161143 Norris, London A rare skew-mouth Norris #7 shoulder plane in the original box. The box is tatty and would be a good candidate for restoration. The plane is great it has a full original iron numbered to the plane. The metalwork of the plane is very clean and untouched. The woodwork as well has its original finish and is very untouched. The sides of the wedge are missing the finish, probably because the wedge was fitting tight. John Porritt could restore this finish, but it is not very noticeable and I wouldn't bother. There are a few tiny chips on the wedge where it was hit accidentally when knocking it out, as noted by the arrow in our photo. It would be very hard to improve upon this plane, expecially considering that it is a skew mouth example. I have seen only a handfull of skew Norris shoulder planes over the years, I don't remember exacly but no more than 5 in 30 years. Fine- $1795


Unmarked Unmarked

BM151126 Unmarked A small gunmetal bullnose that would have original come in a Holtzapfel tool roll. I am not sure who made these for Holtzapfel, but I am not aware of any maker signed planes of this form. My guess would be Badger. It has a W&P iron that looks original and is about 80%. The sole is 7/8" wide and 3" long. Never polished and with a lovely original patina. J. R. Hill has engraved his name on the left side. G+ $345


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+ $159


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 $299


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




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+ $699






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+ $259



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 $299



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



Irons and Cap Irons (Blades and Chip Breakers)



W. Marples & Sons W. Marples & Sons

BM21129 W. Marples & Sons A nice 1 3/16" wide bullnose iron. It has some staining on the top or it would have rated higher, as it is otherwise veyr clean. There is 7/8" of cutter left and it measures 5 5/16" overall. G+ $50





Norris, London Norris, London

BM211217 Norris, London An original Norris marked iron for a rebate plane. It is 11/16" wide and retains about its full original length. There is 1 7/16" of cutter left and it measures 8 3/8" overall. If you need this iron to make a plane complete, don't expect to see another. It is not numbered, so it was probably sold as a replacement iron. G++ Sold



Record

BM211223 Record A blade for a Clifton, Record, or Preston, small shoulder plane. It is called a model 410 by Clifton. This one retains 3/4" of cutter and is in clean condition. Fine $35





Ward Ward

BM211226 Ward An iron for a bullnose plane, it is just over 1 1/8" wide and is 4 1/4" overall. It is as found with light oxidation overall. G+ $39





W&P, Ward System W&P, Ward System W&P, Ward System

BM211144 W&P, Ward A very scarce snecked iron for a small mitre plane or thumb plane. It width is 1 9/16" and it measures 7 1/2" overall. It has no fitting numbers on it. The iron is in nice as found condition with some very minor deformation along the upper edge that kept it from moving up one grading. If you have the plane that needs this iron, this is a gem. G++ $295


W. Preston, London W. Preston, London

BM211148 W. Preston, London This is an unusual iron in that it is a bit short to be a shoulder plane iron, and too big to be a bullnose iron. I think that it came out of one of those unusual shoulder planes that Badger made. W. Preston was running a tool shop in London. The mark is overstruck by an owner and not easy to ready so you might have to take my word for it what it says. It is just over 1 1/2" wide, 7 1/8" overall, and the actual cutting part is 1 3/4". If you need it, this would be a miracle to find. G++ $175


Norris, London Norris, London

BM210910 Norris, London A crisp original Norris 2 1/4" wide cap iron from the 1920s or 30s. It has a pleasing patina that tones to dark toward the top. The screw slot is a bit a bit worn. Not easy to find and adds much more to the value of the right plane than its cost. G+ $150




Stewart Spiers, Ayr, Scotland, 1840 Stewart Spiers, Ayr, Scotland, 1840

BM210646 Stewart Spiers, Ayr, Scotland, 1840 A 2 1/8" wide Spiers marked cap iron. It has been polished up a bit or it would have rated higher. Not an easy one to find. G+ $69





W&P, Ward W&P, Ward

BM201065 W&P, Ward This is a proper cap iron for a panel plane, not a wooden plane cap iron. It probably started life on a Spiers or a Norris plane. It measures a bit under 2 1/2", closer to 2 7/16". Lightly oxidixed overall, bit should clean up well with our scraping technique outlined in the FAQS. G+ $49




Norris, London

BM200838 Norris, London This is a pre-War Norris 2" iron that mics out at 175 thousandths of an inch. Sadly it only has 3/8" of usable material left to the slot. There are people who weld new material on these to preserve the original Norris marked iron. G+ $39




Unmarked

BM200841 Unmarked A 2 1/4" wide parallel iron that mics out at 165 thousandths of an inch and has 1 11/16" remaining. Clearly a good quality iron but unsigned. Fine- $45





Unmarked

BM181295 Unmarked A 2 3/8" wide parallel iron that mics to 182 thousandths and has 2 3/16" to the hole. It is not marked but it reminds me of the Robert Sorby irons that were used in the Norris marked planes of the post-war period. I am guessing that this iron is from the same period and may well also be made by Robert Sorby. It is certainly a quality Sheffield iron. It has old tape residue on it and needs a light cleaning. G++ $39


Unmarked

BM181054 Unmarked A 2 3/16" wide parallel iron that mics out at .167 inch. The upper part that was not protected by a cap iron is pitted, the working end is very clean. It looks like a 1950s iron to me, which means that it will be great steel, but I am not sure. Of course I will refund your purchase if the steel isn't good. It has 2 7/16" to the hole, which is more than most English irons started with. G+ $25



Mawhood

BM180939 Mawhood A 2 1/4" wide parallel iron that mics at 153 thousandths of an inch. Very clean condition with no deformation to the upper edge. There is 1 7/16" of useable blade left to the hole. G++ $39





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