Raised and fielded panels have been in use for many centuries, but planes
specifically made to produce them are only date back to the beginning of the
18th century. Joseph Moxon makes no reference to them in "The Art of Joinery".
The earliest example of panel raiser plane I know of is this example by Robert
Judging from the very early wedge design, this plane is likely from early
period in his career – possibly as early as 1705-1715. The design of this plane is
very simple. There is no fence or depth stop, and no nicker iron. As with a lot
of these early planes, it is quite small in comparison to later examples.
The rebate in the edge of the stock has been enlarged over the
years. This seems to be a very common occurrence with panel raisers. It is still
possible to see the setting outlines on the toe and heel of the stock, and these
show the original size of the rebate. In its original state, the top edge of the
rebate would have operated as a built-in depth stop.
I decided to make a copy of this plane to experiment as to how well it would
perform in its unaltered original form.