Dovetailed infill planes in the style of Norris, Mathieson and Spiers.
Contemporary design combining precision engineering with traditional hand craft.

Precision Infill planes taken to a new level.

  • A31 Infill Thumb Plane - Link to Gallery page.
  • Maker of traditional dovetailed infill
    hand planes since 1988.
Although now championing my new 98 series precision hand planes, I continue to make infill planes based on the Norris, Mathieson and Spiers patterns. Please take some time to visit my Gallery or Planes pages to see examples of my work.
I must emphasize that I do not make 'reproduction antiques' – my designs, although firmly based on traditional infill patterns, incorporate subtle modifications to achieve the standards of design and finish for which I have become known. My aim is simply to make the finest hand planes money can buy.

T21 Transitional Planes

T21 Transitional Plane.

T21 Transitional Plane.
T21 Transitional Plane.

A few years ago I made a limited number (ten) of my take on transitional planes. This is something that I had wanted to do for some time as I have always had a fascination for the work of John P Gage amongst others.

I completed just half of this batch before moving on to other projects and these 5 have been taking up valuable space on my shelf. I thought it was now appropriate to finish them off. The picture [above] shows the bodies finished and polished with some of the brass fittings.

There are construction pictures on my blog here.

These planes are 20 7/8" long with a 2 3/8" A2 blade, the wood is curly maple and rosewood.

Having made some comments on the instability of wood in infill planes and now that I have successfully made metal planes without infills of my own design; I felt that there is a sector in the market that looks longingly towards wooden planes.

Having used some wooden planes myself I feel that there is a sweetness in the way that these planes glide which adds to the plane’s charm. There is the metal plane with a greater accuracy (well some of them) and the smooth operation of the wooden plane. When you try and put the two together to get an infill plane you can lose the advantages of both types of plane. This leaves the transitional.

T21 Transitional Plane.

One very unique A28 Chariot Plane

A28 Chariot Plane.

Could this be my last infill plane? I really do want to move on to more of my own designs. Although it was the infill planes that drew my attention at the very beginning, the idea of introducing a tight fitting piece of wood inside a steel structure is a bit crazy; especially when you are producing a precision product. The dimensional stability of wood has always been the bane of my life.

In the case of small planes these problems are not so inherent. In all the infill planes I have made I have always tried to deal with this stability problem. The worst scenario is when the wood expands the power is unstoppable and will push the sides of the plane out. This will then show around the rivets and dovetails. The problems are not so great on shrinkage because I use tube spacers with my rivets, this prevents the sides from falling in.

With this Chariot Plane I have made no exceptions to my efforts to prevent these problems, as small as they are in this type of plane. I have found no evidence of Norris types of low angle planes being dovetailed. This is probably because of the difficulty in fabricating them in this scale especially at the front end. In my Chariot the front end/toe has the dovetail and rivet integrated, as can be seen in the photo [below] otherwise the whole structure would have to be cast. It is most unlikely that you will see this reproduced anywhere.

A28 Chariot Plane.

Other than this the plane is a standard Chariot based on the Norris A28. Some of the construction information can be seen on the blog here: The cost is £4,800 + delivery + V.A.T. if applicable.

No. 11-S Smoother Modified

No. 11-s Modified. Back in 2004 I set about making a small simple smoothing plane in a traditional style, but in a bevel down format (I don’t think the wood could tell the difference, as long as the common angle is the same). This had the advantage of having extra hand room to hold the plane. This body style is reminiscent of the Norris mitre plane which, however was bevel up and difficult to use as a smoothing plane due to the lack of access at the rear of the plane.

The plane worked very nicely and was well received (in fact even copied). On request I made an adjustable version but then I was criticised for gilding the lily.

I recently discovered some unused components from this 11-s and I had wanted to remake this plane as a non-adjuster for some time. I wanted to have a snecked iron so that it would make the adjusting much easier – I am constantly amazed that other non-adjuster planes do not have any snecking. The system I have chosen is similar to the one Norris used on their shoulder planes. After one or two sketches I decided that this side snecking is the way forward. Top snecking has less access because of the lever cap.

No. 11-s Modified - Blade Manufacture. No. 11-s Modified - Blade Manufacture.

I had a small criticism from a customer of the 11-s about the sharpness of the blade edges as a user’s hand will often press against the blade in use. I felt that some rounding above the ‘water line’ eliminated any discomfort. This has required some hand polishing and is now really very much nicer to the touch and pleasant to handle.

No. 11-s Modified - Dovetailing, work in progress. No. 11-s Modified - Infill detail.

Picture (above left) shows traditional dovetailing with precision, I could say a lot more here but the picture does the job. Picture (above right) shows the detail and work that goes on between the plane sides. Wood and metal alike are made to precision. Note the rivets and brass sleeves which show up in the following sectional drawing.

No. 11-s Modified- Sectional drawing.

Sectional drawing (above) shows the lever cap, sole, frog, infill, rivets, brass spacers and the brass bar (illustrated by double hatching) acting as blade bed combined with the frog. Note that this bar is snugly bedded into the infill and bored to take the rivet and spacer which then unites the whole assembly with sound stability. I have never put much store in wooden beds.

No. 11-s Modified - Infills, showing blade bed. No. 11-s Modified - Shaping the ends. No. 11-s Modified.
Blade beds fitted and partly trimmed, leaving a small amount for blade levelling after assembly, which is a very precise procedure. With much of this work down the ends can be shaped and polished, along with all the other finishing procedures. Like swallows lined up on the telephone wires waiting migration.

No. 11-s Modified.

The 11s - modified has a 1½” wide blade with 2¾” of blade life. The plane is 6 ½” long and available in Rosewood, Ebony and Boxwood. The blade was a lot of work but as I have been able to use some stock items elsewhere I am happy to offer this plane at £2065 + vat if applicable.