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    wooden jointer-plane_


    Quite frequently, I get asked about the various names that are applied to long bench planes, both vintage wooden planes and also the more modern metal ones, which can seem  confusing to the uninitiated woodworker.

    I understand that the term 'Jointer' was certainly being used in England from the seventeenth century (and maybe even earlier), to describe any bench planes that were over 20" long.

    Bench planes between 14" and 18" were generally referred to as 'Fore' or 'Jack' planes, a term in common use these days.

    At some point in the early nineteenth century, the other terms of 'Trying' plane and 'Long Trying plane were used in manufacturers catalogues, by such as Marples in their 1862 edition, and earlier by Holtzapffel in 1846.

    They both list :-

    Trying planes as being 20" or 22"

    Long Trying planes as 24" or 26"

    Jointer planes 28" or 30", and longer by special order.

    In the late 1800's, the terms 'Trying' and 'Long Trying' plane went out of use, with the earlier term 'Jointer' being used to cover the whole range of long bench planes.

    According to Peter Nicholson, in his 1832 text The Mechanic’s Companion, He states that the purpose of the try planes is to :-

    "…reduce the ridges made by the Jack plane, and to straighten the stuff: for this purpose it is both longer and broader, the edge of the iron is less convex, and set with less projection…”

    And, that, the Jointer plane :-

    “…is principally for planing straight edges, and the edges of boards, so as to make them join together; this operation is called shooting, and the edge itself is said to be shot…The shaving is taken the whole length in finishing the joint, or narrow surface.”

    "...truing up the edges and surfaces of long boards, perfectly straight, so that their juncture may be scarcely discernible when their surfaces are joined together..."

    It is also believed that the term 'Trying' was a corruption or derivation, of the term 'Truing.'

    A further comment, on the traditional difference between Trying planes and Jointer planes, is that in their use, the former utilises a slightly cambered edge to the cutting iron, whereas the latter uses a straight edge on the cutting iron.

    That's a simplified history of naming English long bench planes, as I currently understand it!

    If you know different, please tell?

  2. Being  a tool dealer, as well as an enthusiastic collector, over many years there have been occasions when lesser known names have cropped up on hand planes, which I have seen, mainly of the no 4, no 5 and 110 block plane varieties.

    Despite asking many other tool enthusiasts,and dealers, little if any, background details of the makers has been known.

    So, a few years ago, I started to collate information on the varied names, that seemed to share similar characteristics, such as frog details and design,

    As more and more people used the internet, more snippets of information has been slotted in, with what I already had filed away, until I felt it was ready for putting it out to a wide audience.

    However (and there is always an however), I must stress, that the following is all from my own researches. They are not  complete and and in any way definitive. I will be happy to receive any photographs, details,  or information that can expand on  what I have written here.

    But, I hope it fills a few gaps, and acts as a guide,  for all  the curious tool buffs out there.

    Many of the name variants emanate from one manufacturer -

    Whitmore Planes and their various guises !

    The owners were Branson Baker Ltd
    Their factory was located at:
    331 New Hampton Road East
    Whitmore Reans
    Wolverhampton, England

    Branson Baker Ltd advert 1

    So, it would appear that the brand name 'Whitmore' appears to have derived from their address?
    Branson Baker Ltd.,  entered plane making in 1955/56 by buying out the 'Sedgley' plane and spokeshave makers, Samuel Brookes & Co.

    who had operated their manufactory from:  
    Gospel End Street
    Birmingham, England

    Sedgley Planes advert

    Samuel Brookes, as well as making their own brand planes,  also produced planes badged 'Tema', for Wilson Lovatt & Sons, hardware dealers  of Wolverhampton

    Sedgley no s4 plane foto d

    Sedgley no s4 plane foto e
    Once  Branson Baker began production under their Whitmore brand, they also continued to produce 'badged' planes for other firms, as well as their own original branding.

    whitmore no 4 foto a

    These are some of the  'badged' plane names:-
    Sedgley - photos above            

    Peartree no 5 plane foto b

    Tema    (Wilson Lovatt & Sons of Woilverhampton)
      Tema no 4 plane          
    Peter Stubs (James Neil) - no photo yet
    Talco no 4 plane foto b

     Footprint no 4b plane foto b

    Salmens / Master
     Salmens no 4 plane foto a

    CK (Ceka) - no photo yet        
     Spinney no 5 plane foto a

    Rollins (John G Rollins Ltd., 25 Prescott Street, London, E1 - tool factors)
    Rollins no 5 plane foto a


    Change of Ownership

    Footprint agreed to  purchase all machinery (c1978) from Branson Baker Ltd, and produce their own planes. And, I believe my research shows, also badged for:

    Draper no 4 plane foto a

    Roebuck ( Buck and Hickman) - no photos yet

    Faithful  (Curtis Holt Ltd.) - no photo yet

    Benchmark (Home hardware of Canada) no photo yet

    Mastercraft (Candian Tyre Co) no photo yet

    Craftsman (Sears Roebuck in USA) no photo yet

    Paragon  ( Lee Valley of Canada and Garrett Wade USA)

            Paragon for Lee valley GW no 4 plane foto a   

    In the mid 1980's the Paragon was manufactured under strict specifications of Lee Valley.  Footprint ground off it's little footprint logo, on most, but not all Paragons. (It was cast into the plane base just behind the frog, and can be seen on some examples of Paragons ).

    The Paragon departed from the Bailey design with  it's lever cap and rear tote.

    The lever cap is similar to that of the Miller Falls 3-point design and appears to holds the cap iron and blade tighter to the frog face over a greater area. The tote is also more like the later Miller Falls design, more upright and lesser curves.

    Lee Valley sold the Paragons in Canada, and I understand that Lee Valley sold the Paragons through Garrett Wade in the USA (notice the logo on the lever cap).

    N.B. My research is still ongoing, in being able to 'fatten out' the story of this line of plane making, but very very slowly!