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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

Click here to view the Power Point slides from a presentation Lee gave at the Patina tool collector's club.

Explanation of Our Condition Grading System

Frequently Asked Vintage Tool Questions

Badger, London Badger, London Badger, London Badger, London

BM240413 Badger, London This is a curious plane. It is clearly a John Holland made smoothing plane. Holland put a serial number on his smoothing planes and this one is 426. It is otherwise not marked on the plane. The cap iron is marked Badger, London. Badger only marked most of his planes on the iron or the cap iron. I thought that badger made all of his own planes, but clearly he bought this plane in from Holland. The iron body has a pleasing light patina and the brass has an attractive untouched patina. The Thomas Ibbottson iron has about 1/2" remaining to the slot. There is a chip from the wedge on the rear. That is the only defect that I see on this plane, which I hope will go to a serious collector. G+ $395

J. Moseley & Son, London J. Moseley & Son, London J. Moseley & Son, London J. Moseley & Son, London J. Moseley & Son, London

BM24038 J. Moseley & Son, London A Norris made iron chariot plane marketed by Moseley. It has the original Ward iron that is numbered to the plane, as is the wedge. The rosewood wedge has a lovely cupid's bow termination. The blade is 1 1/4" wide and the sole is 1 5/8" by 3 1/4". Nice as found condition. If you want one nice chariot plane by a good maker and you don't want to spend a fortune, this is the one. G++ $599

Karl Holtey Karl Holtey Karl Holtey Karl Holtey Karl Holtey

BM240220 Karl Holtey This is Karl Holtey's version of a Norris A31 Thumb plane. Unlike the Norris, it has a steel sole dovetailed to gunmetal sides. The Norris was cast gunmetal with sweated on steel sole. This example has boxwood infill. The plane is unused. The iron has never been honed since it left Karl's workshop. There are some scattered rust stains on the sole. These are just stains, not pits. The plane has no patina since it was never really handled. If you use this plane a bit, the boxwood will take on a lovely color, as will the gunmetal. This plane represents the last word in quality. If you want to own the best, here it is. Fine- $2895

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+ $599

Clifton Clifton Clifton

BM230717 Clifton A Clifton number 400 bullnose plane that is new in the original box, but is about 20 years old. Mint $95

Unmarked Unmarked Unmarked Unmarked Unmarked

BM230119 Unmarked This is a London pattern panel plane, probably around 1850 give or take a bit. It is not signed, but I feel confident in saying that this is a professionally made plane. The quality is just superb. This style of plane with the wedge held by cast iron ears on the side of the plane, doesn't have a bridge on which to mark it. Otten they were only marked on the cap iron. The iron and cap iron on this plane are by Ward & Payne and look original to me, with about 60% remaining. The rosewood infill has lovely grain and color. The wedge has a striking streak of contrasing grain that really sets it off. The plane is 14 1/4" overall. The mouth is very tight, as expected from a first quality cabinetmakers plane like this. The only issues with this plane are with the tote. The primary issue being that the spur was broken off and is now short. The other typcial of all similar planes, where they have a closed tote make from rosewood. The forward part of the tote has a tight crack in it. This is very common as this was a bad design. Norris later started reinforcing it with a strip of wood running the wrong way against the grain. That causes different problems. Later, they just made the tote mucy thicker in front. This is not an issue. The spur could be repaired, but I would leave it alone as it doesn't look that bad. I really like this one. It was bought from a house clearance auction in London. I personally cleaned it. All I did was wax the wood and I scraped off some light surace oxidation on the sides before waxing them. A real gem. G++ $695

Badger Bullnoe, 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 $259

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

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

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

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

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)

Preston Patent Bullnose Blade Preston Patent Bullnose Blade

BM230917 Preston Patent Bullnose Blade This is an original iron out of a Preston patent bullnose or a 3110 plane. It is 1 1/8" wide and looks to be near full original length. It has a fitting number of 7 on it. It is drity and has some surface corosion, but it should clean up nicely. G+ $45

W. Marples

BM211280 W. Marples A nice clean replacement blade for a Preston or Record bullnose plane or 3 in 1 plane. It will also fit the Clifton 3 in 1 plane. The blade is 1 1/8" wide and it has 3/4" left. G++ $39

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


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

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

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


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

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