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W. & S. Butcher

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Richard Arnold on 18th Century English Tools

  What is a Panel Plane? by Richard Arnold 1 of 7  

Panel plane, panel raiser, panel fielding plane, badger plane, are the most commonly used names for this group, but what do all these names mean, and what these planes were actually designed to do?

It's fair to say that over the years there has been some confusion surrounding a group of planes that have a number of names, but in essence all do a similar job.

I thought it might be interesting to have a closer look at this subject, and try and unravel some of its mysteries. Let me also say that these are my own thoughts on the matter, and are based on my studies of British wooden planes in my own collection, as well as observation of architectural features in various period houses in the UK. There is nothing to say my conclusions are correct, or bare relevance to planes in other countries.

First things first, lets get one thing out of the way, what we are referring to as panel planes in this study has nothing to do with the 19th and 20th century metal infill planes produced by the likes of Norris and Spiers.

We are looking at wooden bodied bench planes made between the early 1700s up to about 1850.

One thing I am keen to talk about is not so much about the planes themselves, but more importantly what they were made to produce. Wooden raised and fielded panels are found most commonly in household joinery, and although they do crop up in furniture during this period, my gut feeling is that the vast majority of planes produced were designed for the joiners shop.

Internal, and external doors, window shutters, wall paneling, paneled door lining are design features that often include the fielded panel in their construction.



Over time these planes take a different form and I will detail these differences further in the article.

1 of 7  

W. & S. Butcher

Preston Planes


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