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UK Planes and their Makers

  My Favorite Infill Plane by Ryan Sparreboom 1 of 2  

This week I would like to feature one of my favorite infill planes and one that I regularly use in my work.

It is a heavy Scottish style smoothing plane.


Now, when I say itís heavy, I mean itís HEAVY! Tipping the scales at a hair under 8 lbs (3.6kg). To put that in perspective for you Stanley bench plane lovers, that is just under the heft of a #7 jointer plane, in a 10 ĹĒ long smoother.

Scottish style planes are recognizable for several reasons. First, the elaborate peaks and curves of the side profile of the casting are distinct from both English made planes and planes manufactured by large makers like Spiers or Mathieson.

Second is the coved and stepped profile to the toe and heel extensions. English made planes such as miter planes that have ties extensions are usually just a flat protrusion of the sole.

And third, while many infills have beautiful rosewood stuffing, Scottish style planes tend to be more elaborately shaped. This plane features a very nicely shaped front infill and a carved rear infill in beautifully figured rosewood.

Scottish planes in this style are not rare, but the understanding of who made them is a bit of a mystery. A large number of cast Scottish planes in various sizes and slight variations in shape have been found.

Indeed, the story of one of the most famous and prominent Scottish plane makers of all time, Stewart Spiers, starts with him taking home a casting from a visit to Edinburgh in about 1840 and completing the infill.

He liked the result so much that went on to make his own planes and create an incredibly successful infill plane making business. But where exactly did he get that casting from? Who was making them at that time and which makers continued to make Fine castings when the plane making gears changed towards dovetailed planes?

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W. & S. Butcher

Preston Planes


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