Here is another detail from the Stent panel I posted the other day. (see https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2009/01/22/seventeenth-century-joiners-bench/)
This time it’s a view of the tools hanging behind the joiner’s bench. There are four planes; all seem to be molding planes of some type – the side escapement for the shavings, and the shoulders that serve to reduce the thickness of the stock where the joiner holds the plane are the evidence for these being molding planes. To my eye, one point worth noting is the varied length of these tools. Later on, molding planes reached a uniform length, but not these.
For most of the seventeenth century it seems that workmen made their own planes. In his Academy of Armory, Randle Holme, (published 1688, but begun in 1649) discusses joynter planes, and the caption for one of his illustrations states:
“…a Joynter, which of some is made after this manner, contrary to that described in chap. 9 numb. 19 but all the difference is in the Tote or Handle, which every Workman maketh according to his own Fancy, all other parts in the stock agreeing.”
The plane on our left is a little different from the other three – not sure why. It’s missing its wedge for one thing, and the upper section as well. I speculate that the carving went wrong – you can’t put the wood back once it’s cut.
The chisels are mostly blocked from veiw, but we see one is skewed, and another has a flared end. On the right of the row are two gouges, and inbetween the gouges & chisels is the joiner’s compass.
An 1633 inventory for John Thorp, carpenter, of Plymouth Colony, includes among other tools, some unspecified molding planes.
John Thorp, Carpenter
1 Great gouge £00-00-06; one gr brush & 1 little brush at 00-00-10; 1 square 00-02-00 one hatchet 00-02-00; One Square 00-02-06; 1 short 2 handsaw 00-02-00; A broade Axe 00-02-00; An holdfast 00-01-06; A handsaw 00-02-00; 3 broade chisels 00-01-06; 2 gowges & 2 narrow chisels 00-01-00; 3 Augers Inch & ½ 00-01-00; 1 great auger 00-01-04; inboring plaines 00-04-00; 1 Joynter plaine 00-01-06; 1 foreplaine 00-00-00?; A smoothing plaine 00-00-00?; 1 halferound plaine 00-01-00; An Addes 00-02-06; a felling Axe 00-03-00
I find the study of planes fascinating, and we are lucky there are so many good researchers working on it. The most recent book I have seen on early English planes is Don & Anne Wing’s Early Planemakers of London: Recent Discoveries in the Tallow Chandlers and the Joiners Companies. A wonderful book.