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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

Explanation of Our Condition Grading System

Frequently Asked Vintage Tool Questions



Craftsman Made Craftsman Made Craftsman Made

BM2011110 Craftsman Made A 15 1/2" Scottish panel plane with walnut infill. The front bun has an elegant and unusual form where the base tapers up to a flat, with a bun sitting on top of that. The lever cap has a pleasing form and a light patina, but it probably was polished at some point years ago. The sole is very clean and the plane has a tight mouth. The iron is a tapered iron by Robert Sorby. With these craftsman made planes it is always hard to say if the blade is original or not if it fits well, and this once certainly fits well. A plane that should please a collector or make a great user for the discerning craftsman. G++ Sold


Holtey Holtey Holtey Holtey

BM201171 Holtey A possible unused Holtey adaptation of a Norris A11 adjustable mitre plane. The plane is dated 1997 and is marked "1", being the very first one that Karl made. The blade is 2 1/4" wide and the plane weighs just under 5 1/2 pounds. This sole is 10 3/8" long. Ideal for use with a shooting board. This is the last word in cabinetmaker's mitre planes. Our price is less than half of the new price. Fine+ $4495


Holtey Holtey Holtey Holtey Holtey

BM201114 Holtey This is a Holtey A13 smoothing plane with a 2 1/4" wide iron. The plane body is dovetailed steel. This plane is nearly new. If you look really close you will see a few very light marks on the steel body and a light finger print that would clean right off. The plane was clearly not used more than once or twice. It is as close to new as you might ever hope to find in a second hand plane. It is dated "MMIII" for 2003. Karl Holtey has of course retired now from planemaking but we had the priviledge to represent Karl in the US, so I am very familiar with this work. The quality of Karl's planes is without rival. They are the penultimate. This plane cost new about double what we are selling for for now, and that was 17 years ago. For the craftsperson who must own the best! Fine+ $4495


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


Clfton 3 in 1 Shoulder Plante Attachment

BM200923 Clfton 3 in 1 Shoulder Plante Attachment This is the front piece that converts the Clifton 3 in 1 plane into a shoulder plane. It will not fit a Preston plane of the same type. Fine $25





Edward Preston & Sons Edward Preston & Sons

BM200654 Edward Preston & Sons The large size Preston patent side rebate plane. These are really handy. The larger size makes them easier to grip and to use than smaller side rebates. This one has about 95% of the original nickel remaining. It is as found and could stand to be carefully cleaned with wax and a rag, and a toothbrush to get into the crevises. G++ $245



Spiers, Ayr Spiers, Ayr Spiers, Ayr Spiers, Ayr Spiers, Ayr Spiers, Ayr

BM200674 Spiers, Ayr This is an early Spiers mitre plane. The hold down screw has normal threads, not the acme threads that were introduced later. Also, the head of the hold down screw is of an early form. The lever cap is the longer thin type that were later shortened and strenghened. Many of these earl y ones are bent, but this one is not. The sole is 10 1/2" long and the blade is 2 1/8" wide. The mouth is super tight, just the way that it left the factory. The snecked iron is by Ward and appears to be near full original length. Neither the plane nor the blade are numbered, but I am confident in saying that this is definitely the original iron. The early planes like this were made from wrought iron and you can see still the striations in the wrought iron. That look becomes obscured on planes that have rusted and been cleaned. This one is untouched, but well cared for. It came to me many years ago from an old London collection and I have had it since then. It is also marked on the front bun by what I believe is a retailer. The mark is faint, but I believe that it reads "R. Harrison, Nott" which of course is short for Nottingham. If you want a good honest, early Spiers mitre plane, I don't think that you will find a better one. G++ $1395


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

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- $1795


Preston, Birmg, Eng. Preston, Birmg, Eng.

BM200473 Preston, Birmg, Eng. A scarce Preston 3 in 1 plane. It is a shoulder plane, a bullnose, and a chisel plane. These are still made today under the Clifton brand name. We sold literally hundreds of them in our new tool department. They are just that handy. This one has some light wear to the nickel but still retains about 90% of the original nickel, except on the sole were it is worn off. The original numbered iron retains about 30%. This plane has been in my collection for some years and before that it was in the collection of Mark Rees. I bought it directly from Jane Rees after Mark's untimely passing. It is a connoisseur grade example. G++ $385


Norris, London Norris, London Norris, London Norris, London

BM200237 Norris, London A superb Norris 27E gunmetal bullnose plane with an ebony wedge. This plane retains about 90% of its original snecked Norris marked iron. The color of the gunmetal is just what you want to see and the surface still shows the original tool marks from when it was made. This plane is about as nice as they come. For the connoisseur. Fine Sold



E. Preston & Sons E. Preston & Sons

BM191020 E. Preston & Sons A nickel plated Preston bullnose in the non-adjustable style that is not at all common. This tool retains a bit more than half of the original numbered and Preston marked iron. The nickel plating shows some losses and is around 90% by my estimation. A nice honest tool from my personal collection. G+ $119



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


Norris, London Norris, London Norris, London Norris, London Norris, London

BM181244 Norris, London A 22 1/2" Norris A1 jointer in the original box. This plane looks unused although the iron has been honed. The gunmetal parts retain all of their original lacquer, making them bright like gold. The iron is full original length. The rosewood infill retains 99.9% of itis original lacquer, the only losses being a few very small scratches in the finish near the rear. The sids and sole appear to have been lightly and sensitively cleaned. This is as good as it gets in pre-War Norris planes. The box has some wear, and the label is faded, but this is a rare box and it isn't bad. For the connoisseur. Fine $6999


Buck, Tot. Court Rd. Buck, Tot. Court Rd. Buck, Tot. Court Rd. Buck, Tot. Court Rd. Buck, Tot. Court Rd. Buck, Tot. Court Rd. Buck, Tot. Court Rd.

BM181058 Buck, Tot. Court Rd. A scarce #16 Norris smoothing plane with cupid's bow bridge, made for the retailer Buck and so signed. When I got this plane it had no blade. I have put in a Mathieson iron that is an excellent fit, along with a proper unmarked cap iron. (Ironic as I am selling off my blade collection since I swore that I would never buy another plane that needed a blade. This one is so special that I made an exception.) This would be the end of the story , except that an idiot has cut off the bottom of the wedge to use it with a thin blade. So now about 3/4" of the bottom of the wedge is missing, which of course means that it won't work properly. If you buy the plane, I will furnish photos of an unmolsted wedge. You will need to graft a piece onto the bottom of this wedge. It is the earlier style Norris wedge with the rounded finial. There is an old crack in the casting that runs from the front hole to the top of the plane. The plane is so scarce that you have to look past this. Cupid's bow bridge Norris planes of any model are as scarce as hen's teeth. This is really a decent plane all in all. WIth the wedge fixed it will be a usable plane. G+ $399


Norris, London Norris, London Norris, London Norris, London

BM18103 Norris, London A rare early A17 smoothing plane, with only the 1913 patent date. Because of the limited production, duding the First World War, most adjustable Norris planes incorporate both the 1913 and 1922 patents. 1913 only patent planes certainly do show up, but this is the first A17 that I have seen with only the one patent. It also has the original early Norris marked blade. This is the second style of Norris marked blade, but many collectors call it the first type because the true first type is so rare that its existence is not widely known. When I got this plane, somebody had added a bit of finish over the original finish, which was not attractive. I gave it to John Porritt and he removed this added finish and restored the original finish so that it once again looks like a nicely cared for original plane. The steel sole has also been lightly lapped to smooth off some oxidation. I have actually been using this plane for about 2 years, but it is so rare that I realize that can't continue, and so I am now offering if for sale. Cearly this plane is for the advanced Norris collector. G+ $4995


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


E. Preston & Sons E. Preston & Sons

BM170385 E. Preston & Sons This is the large size Preston double side rebate. This plane is in nice well cared for condition and would rate much higher if it had more nickel. Because quite a bit of the nickel is worn off I kept the condition grading down. It is a very nice honest example with near full original numbered irons. G+ $229



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


Edward Preston Edward Preston

BM150325 Edward Preston A 1 1/8" wide decorative bullnose plane with about 40 - 50% of the original nickel remaining and about half of the blade left. Nice untouched condition. G+ $139





Unmarked Unmarked

BM140810 Unmarked A gunmetal chariot plane with a rosewood wedge. I am confidence that this plane was made by Miller, but Miller for some reason only signed a fraction of this work. He always used Marples irons and this one retains the original iron, which shows wear but is still above the back of the wedge. It has been lightly polished and at some point but a nice patina is slowly returning. Th e sole is 1 7/8" by 3 3/4". A great user or collector's piece. G+ $489


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


Melhuish, London (Spiers) Melhuish, London (Spiers)

BM13121 Melhuish, London (Spiers) A very scarce Spiers made gunemtal shoulder plane. This is marked for the London retailer, Melhuish, but is a Spiers 1 1/2" wide gunmetal shoulder plane. Spiers gunmetal shoulder planes are very scarce by any measure. The dovetailed variety typically sell for much more, but the cast type, like this one, are in my experience even more scarce. This plane has better than 90% remaining of the original Ibbottson iron. The mark on the iron is interesting, in that I have never noticed this mark before. It reads, "Thos Ibbotson & Co., Makers Sheffield". The wood is highly figured rosewood. There is one check in the top of the fill, which is the result of using a piece with so much figure. The mouth is very tight, as you would want. The plane has been polished overall. Not buffed, but polished such that it will need to be handled a lot to rebuild the patina. An exciting find for the advanced collector. G++ $795


Badger, 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 $299


Spiers, Ayr

BM13031 Spiers, Ayr A dovetailed Spiers 1 1/8" wide shoulder plane with about 20% of the original numbered iron remaining. The iron is unmarked and the plane has the block letters mark. As found with some small dots of white paint splattering. Clean and rust free, this is a nice honest plane that is conservatively rated G+ $385




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+ $799






Infill Plane

BM110283 Mathieson An iron bullnose plane marked by Mathieson, but clearly made for them, as many of their planes were, but Norris of London. The back is even marked with the distinctive "Patent Metal" mark of Norris. The plane retains 80% of its original numbered iron. It is 1 1/8" wide. Mathieson marked bullnose planes are quite scarce, but yet if this plane were marked by Norris it would actually sell for even more. It has been light cleaned by a misguided dealer, but the plane is rust free and no real harm was done, the patina was just a bit rubbed. It will blend back in within a few years. Really quite a nice example. G+ $259



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)



Norris, London Norris, London

BM201059 Norris, London A correct original 2 1/4" wide pre-War cap iron for an adjustable Norris smoothing plane. It has been polished on top which is why I didn't rate it higher. G++ $145





Unmarked Unmarked

BM201061 Unmarked A 2 1/4" wide parallel iron that looks unused. It has 2 1/4" to the hole. It is not super old, probably from the 1950s. I would guess that it will be great steel but I haven't tried it. It mics out at 164 thousandths of an inch. G++ $45





W&P, Ward W&P, Ward

BM201065 W&P, Ward This is a proper cap iron for a panel plane, not a wooden plane cap iron. It probably started life on a Spiers or a Norris plane. It measures a bit under 2 1/2", closer to 2 7/16". Lightly oxidixed overall, bit should clean up well with our scraping technique outlined in the FAQS. G+ $49




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




Unmarked

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





Thos Ibbotson & Co Thos Ibbotson & Co

BM200139 Thos Ibbotson & Co This is a 2 1/2" cap iron off of a Norris panel plane or jointer. It is numbered 5, the fitting number on the plane it is from. An extra hole has been drilled in the cap and the screw moved. Either hole is usable. G++ $39




Illegible

BM200144 Illegible This is a 2 1/4" cap iron. It is marked, "The ??? Tool Co., Fergus". It has no screw with it. It should make a good usable cap iron for a smoother. Fine $19





Unmarked

BM181295 Unmarked A 2 3/8" wide parallel iron that mics to 182 thousandths and has 2 3/16" to the hole. It is not marked but it reminds me of the Robert Sorby irons that were used in the Norris marked planes of the post-war period. I am guessing that this iron is from the same period and may well also be made by Robert Sorby. It is certainly a quality Sheffield iron. It has old tape residue on it and needs a light cleaning. G++ $39


Unmarked

BM181054 Unmarked A 2 3/16" wide parallel iron that mics out at .167 inch. The upper part that was not protected by a cap iron is pitted, the working end is very clean. It looks like a 1950s iron to me, which means that it will be great steel, but I am not sure. Of course I will refund your purchase if the steel isn't good. It has 2 7/16" to the hole, which is more than most English irons started with. G+ $25



Mawhood

BM180939 Mawhood A 2 1/4" wide parallel iron that mics at 153 thousandths of an inch. Very clean condition with no deformation to the upper edge. There is 1 7/16" of useable blade left to the hole. G++ $39





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