Cook V Gedge

posted Oct 31, 2020, 5:03 PM by Geoff Emms

Some say Cook, others Gedge.

We’ve all seen these auger bits with their curved cutting lips, some of us may have wondered why some manufacturers refer to them as Cooks Patent bits and others call them Gedges Pattern. To all intents and purposes they are exactly the same.                                                            Basically, it’s down to where they were made, USA or UK, American catalogues, such as James Swan 1920,  call them Cook’s Patent,  while in the 1933 Mathiesons of Glasgow catalogue they are Gedges Pattern. 

Cook and Gedge bits with varying pitch  lead screws.             R. Cook 1851 patent drawing.

To clear up the confusion these are the facts.                                                                                                                                                                        Ransom Cook of Saratoga Springs New York, USA, was granted a patent for a new style of wood auger on 17th June 1851 (US 8162) for “new and useful improvements in boring implements”. In his patent description he says, “The nature of my improvements consist in giving to the lips or cutting edges of boring implements a curved or gouge shape at in connection or combination with the under cutting, or back-sloping of said edges,  in order to give said edges a sliding askew or drawing movement in cutting.”

Meanwhile , in England, John Gedge, describing himself as a Patent Agent,  responsible for a number of inventions as varied as Curry-combs, Letters & Envelopes, Preparation of Leather  to  Adjusting Ladies Dresses,  Billiard Cues and many more. The two gentlemen came to some arrangement to lodge the patent for Cooks new auger bit in the UK, Gedge  does so in August 1854 and the patent is sealed in November 1854.        (GB Pat No 1872). At the outset Gedge acknowledges Cooks involvement stating: “A communication from Mr.Ransom Cook of the United States of America” but uses his own name throughout the rest of the documentation process.  The wording of Gedges patent application and description of the tool is identical in every respect  to that of Ransom Cook. Whether Cook received royalties for his bits made in The UK or Gedge purchased the rights to it from Cook would be interesting to know, I suspect the latter would be the case.

To sum up, Cooks and Gedges auger bits are the same tool made on opposite sides of the Atlantic and we, in Australia, being importers from both countries get to find the two examples quite frequently. 

     My thanks to Andy T. on the UKWORKSHOP forum for his valuable help in researching this project.


posted May 14, 2020, 4:44 PM by Geoff Emms   [ updated Jul 10, 2020, 3:41 PM ]

Robin Hicks.
The mast that I had at the Perth Working With Wood Show last year was one of two masts that were built for the schooner "Willie" in my work-shop between July and September of 2019. 
Built in 1984 for Tony Larrard, Willie was of round bilge steel construction and was the last sailing vessel to be built for the Broome Pearl Fishery. Her design was based on a 1900 pearling master’s vessel, schooner rigged, 50 tonnes and 68'0" long on deck. 
I did work on all of Tony's vessels from the early '70's, until he passed away several years ago. Willie was the only one that I did not work on, my father and I were both heavily tied up on the STS Leeuwin's rigging at the time and that followed on with Eye Of The Wind and Endeavour over the next few years. I've had to wait for 35 years to pass to be able to get a second chance at her.
Willie was found by her current owner, Jim Stevenson, of Stevenson Logistics, slowly dying in a bay in Langkawi, Malasia, in November of 2018, electronics, mechanical, hydraulics, plumbing and rigging all shot to pieces. She spent the next six months at the Northern Shipyard, Langkawi being re worked and repaired before sailing down to Broome in July / August of last year. The old rig had to be re fitted as found, with a plan to renew it all over the next few months.
The new masts were built in my workshop, largely by Christina Klomp and Jett Stevenson. My own contribution was restricted to helping out with the bigger glue jobs and the heavier machining. Chris is actually a very highly qualified Mechatronics Engineer and has been with me on and off for the last several years. Jett is Jim's son and it made sense to get him involved with the job. Aged 19, he was on a gap year between school and Uni, kicking his heels and had no fixed commitments.
The two masts were 12.0 and 14.0 metres long, x 240 and 265 mm in diameter and were of laminated construction. Due to the restriction on the size of the Oregon Pine boards available today, the main mast was made up from 150 mm x 50 mm dry sawn Oregon, longest boards were 5.6 metres long. Chris and Jett machined the boards to a "best recovery " of about 140 mm x 45 mm, scarf jointed both ends of pretty much all of the boards needed with a 600 mm long bevel scarf and kept jointing, board after board, gluing up daily, and cutting to the required lengths the next day.

                                      Clamping the Scarf joints                                                                                      Closeup of Scarf joint.

 Once we had got enough lengths, we then edge jointed to make up the finished widths, and then started to laminate up these wide boards to start building the mast. The two masts were 12.0 and 14.0 metres long, x 240 and 265 mm in diameter and were of laminated construction. This was due to the restriction on the size of the Oregon Pine boards .

Selecting the Oregon boards.                                                   Jett  and Chris gluing up.                                        200 -250 clamps used to hold the boards til the glue dries.

We used International Epiglue, epoxy glue. As this work was carried out through the winter months, we were careful to make sure that we glued up first thing in the morn-ings, the glue has a short working time even in the winter. All this glue work was done on trestles set at waist height running through the middle of the workshop, this allowed easy access for the clamps, and once they were all screwed home, we covered the boards with two layers of heavy clear plastic down to the floor, and then set a small fan heater at each end. This brought the temperature up inside the tunnel and helped to cure off the glue by the end of the day. It was not uncommon to have 200-250 clamps out on these joints, we did what we could under the constraints of glue time and available workshop floor space. While Chris and Jett were doing this job, I still needed space myself to deal with the run of the mill offshore work that was still coming in. 

                                                                     Mainmast near completion, now for the foremast.                                        

Once the timber was glued up we effectively had two square structural beams. These were then tapered from the bottom to the top, the heels being left square for the first 1.0 metre, and the top 1.8 metres was also left square. The 9-11 metres in between was marked out for 8 equally spaced sides. It must be remembered that these masts are tapered, and it is not a straight taper either, it's rather like a Greek column, so the 8 sides is a moving target when you mark it out, it's changing as you go along the mast. Once the 8 sides have been shaved off, and also faired into the square ends, the whole process starts again, this time marking out for 16 sides, and then 32 sides, all equally spaced, neat and even. It is very important to keep to these marks and not lose the geometry of the job. At this stage, we were working with facets of 10-15 mm wide, from here, we took it down to 64 side, just by eye, and then finished it up to the round with the hollow bottomed wooden planes set to a fine cut. Quite surprisingly, if you've done things right, this last bit will only take an hour or so on a mast of this size, at 64 sides, it is very nearly round anyway.

More clamping as work on the foremast continues.              Dressing the boards.                              Mainmast loaded and heading for the Perth Wood Show.

Jett and I did spend the better part of a day sanding each mast from here, our sanding blocks, better known as Torture Boards, 600 mm long, 140 mm wide and hollow bottomed to approximately suit the mast radius, and fairing into the square ends. This represented the finished mast, it was varnished from here and would be visible for all to see.

          Robin shaping the mast at the 2019 Perth Wood Show. Visitors were able to get close to the action. Ably assisted (?) by fellow  HTPSWA members.

My request for the Wood Show was to be able to take in one of the masts and work on it. I wanted the general public to be able to see how a mast is made, to be able to get along side of it, to be able to ask questions, and most importantly, to be able to touch it. as well. So much work these days is done either behind barriers, or in closed work-shops. From my own point of view, I hit those targets, we spoke to a lot of people, and just about everyone that came by did touch the mast, or ask a question, however, not much work was done in the three days. I hope that the club was happy with it.

“WILLIE” - Metal Construction and Erection
Part 1 showed how the masts were made for the Pearling Lugger Willie.
Part 2 shows how they were stepped.

 We made the decision early on to replace the mast head bands with new work, four bands on the main mast, plus the radar tower, and three bands on the fore mast. The old rig also had metal gaff saddles and wooden boom jaws on both masts. The old gaff saddles were tired, replaced and redesigned, the wooden boom jaws were scrapped and new goosenecks were designed and fitted. 
Between Jim and myself, we had had a bit of banter about these jaws, Jim wanting to retain them for traditional reasons, and myself wanting to replace them with goosenecks for practical and safety reasons. By the time Jim had sailed her down to Fremantle in October of last year, he was starting to lean in my direction and we fitted the goosenecks which were needed. 
We had both worked with Larry Jackson, of Sound Metal Fabrications in O'Connor over a number of years and it was an easy decision to get him to deal with all the metal work for the rig. In addition to the mast head work, it was also required that we could get Willie up under the bridges and on to the Swan River. As the original masts were stepped in a collar welded on to the deck, this whole arrangement had to be changed, tabernacles had to be designed, deck plating and compression posts had to be checked, an A frame, had to be worked out, numbers had to be crunched by a Naval Architect to prove out that they would all stand the strain of raising and lowering the masts. 

Masts back at Robins workshop.

     Larry Jackson checking the fit of the tabernacles against the masts.

The clearance under the bridges is about six metres, with the triangulation of trying to clear the coach house roof aft, height of the axis pins, also being able to nest both masts together with out fouling each other, clearing the radar tower on the main mast with the foremast when it was lowered, clearing the drinks bar set up on the forward deckhouse ( this was part of her charter boat rig for day tripping in Broome ). We also fitted new topmasts to both lower masts, which in turn increased the overall length, and these also increased the height of the masts when lowered. Larry did a wonderful job, everything fitted as it should. As is often the case with these fittings, we worked out what we wanted, set the size, and when it was all welded up and sitting on the bench, it looked enormous. However, once on board, it looked exactly as it should have done, perfectly in line with what was needed.
The tabernacles were fabricated and tack welded in Larry's workshop, then brought over to Orange Grove and checked against the masts. We took this opportunity to drill the axis pin holes on both masts, easier at this stage and it also allowed me to get plenty of wood preservative and varnish into these holes before they went on board. The pins were 1.1/4" diameter stainless steel, getting them lined up and bored clean from one side to the other was a ticklish job that took a couple of hours for three of us, one drilling, two sighting for level and square. We had also fitted a 4" wide x 1/2" thick stainless steel stirrup under the heel of each mast, this was let into the wood and came up the sides several inches above the axis pins. The tabernacle base plates had several slots cut into them for pocket welding to the deck, along with full welding around the perimeter. 



                                                                                                                                                                                                         On the river.

The masts were trucked out of my workshop early on the 19th of November and transported to Northport Marine, we had one of Myaree cranes lift them on board horizontally, the mainmast first, the hinge pin fitted and then the top end lowered into wooden sheerlegs to support the mast head, the same then applied to the fore mast. We had retained some of the old wire standing rigging for temporary staying of the new mast. These were shackled on, the steel A frame was then set up on the foredeck and raised, its feet anchored to welded hinge fittings on port and starboard sides close to the bulwarks and roughly lined up with the foremast tabernacle. A forestay attached from the fore masthead to the top of the A frame, a set of triple blocks rigged from the top of the A frame down to the stem head and the end run aft. I had always planned this to be a manual lift, no winches to be used, three guys hauling, and one walking the deck to check that nothing was fouling as the fore mast went up. It really  only took a few minutes to get the mast up and vertical, and an hour or so to get it secured, checked for correct angle of rake aft when viewed for broadside and vertical when looking from forward.
The mainmast was raised using the throat halyard purchase fixed ten metres up on the foremast, this being run out to the lower band on the mainmast, just under the radar tower. The hauling end of this was run down the fore-mast to a bollard on the rail, the main mast being raised the same way as before, three hauling and one checking that things were running ok. 
These things are always a little bit of a worry, we was a long time planning this job, walking through it from all the angles, running it by the owner, getting the boilermaker to get his head around it all as well, he’s a motor boat man and not familiar with sails. A few years ago, it was quite a common job before we had the luxury of outside Marina’s that we have now, all the larger sailing vessels lowered as a regular occurrence. 

Getting the masts up on the 19th November at Northport was the trial run,  the real test was just prior to Christmas when we moved Willie up into the river. By this stage, we had the booms and gaffs fitted, sails dressed on the spars and the full set of standing and running rigging to contend with as well. The order of the day was to disconnect the booms and gaffs, complete with the attached sails and securing them off to one side on the coach house roofs, disconnection of the triatic stays set up between the mastheads, setting up the A frame and the mast head cradles for each mast and then lowering away. Securing the masts in their lowered positions so that they did not take charge during the run out of Northport, up through the main harbour, under the bridges and then on to Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club, where the whole process was reversed to make everything ship shape again.
I am very pleased with what was done by everyone concerned, it has all worked out very well and does all of the things that it is supposed to do. Willie was due to sail back to Broome this coming Sunday the 29th March for the coming charter season. However, due to the current Corona Virus situation, on the 25th, Jim was forced to lay up the vessel here in Fremantle for the foreseeable future. 


         Fully rigged. 


Christina and Jetts names stamped in-to the mast heels, 1919 pennies let in-to the bottom of the masts, traditionally placed under the heel, this was a sailors superstition, the penny paid the ferryman for the crews passage through the heavens in the unfortunate eventuality that the vessel was lost at sea. We put it here purely because of the story, of which few people know about, including modern day sailors.
Robin Hicks. Sailmaker.

Cox's Patent Auger Bit.

posted May 11, 2020, 5:28 PM by Geoff Emms   [ updated May 23, 2020, 11:48 PM ]

In 1903 Edward Thomas Cox of Yering, Victoria, received a patent for an improved wood boring auger.(Aus' Pat 13195) He also patented his auger in Great Britain (GB190315070), France and on January 3rd 1905 in USA (US778845).

The basis of his patent is the lead screw which is a long flat twist that terminates at the inner edge of both the cutters. It appears to be constructed from an extension of the auger formed as an elongated triangle, similar to a spear point, given a single twist to form a lead screw. The design of his lead screw is quite evident and differs from that of a Scotch bit, which coarse lead screw terminates at one cutter only. Cox’s lead screw continues up to leading edge of both cutters.

                               Lead screw on Cox patent auger.                                                                            Coarse lead screw as usually found on Scotch auger bit.

 A pair of this style of bit recently came to light, made by W. Marples & Sons and branded Cox's Patent. 
Enquiries in UK found no mention of Cox's bit in any Marples catalogues, the person I asked suggested they may have made them for the Australian market only.
An acquaintance in Brisbane found a pair of Cox's design, one made by Ridgeway’s, Sheffield, the other by Mathiesons of Glasgow. Neither bit has any reference to Cox on them indicating they may be later than the Marples versions.
Mr Cox gave his occupation as fencer and there is a war service record of an E.T. Cox at the Australian War Memorial as being killed in action 19th July 1916 in France aged 42.

Bailey No 11 Split Frame Spokeshave

posted Mar 6, 2020, 3:19 PM by Geoff Emms   [ updated Mar 16, 2020, 3:35 PM ]

Spokeshave No 11.." Patent No 55,599...1866 “. as heading describes is actually a frame split in half, as it was a time the industry was determined to be first with new inventions - one only has to look how many patent numbers were applied for.
Each part of the frame was marked numbered by dimples, or later model by numerals to match the parts of each shave. This shave was only in production for a very short time, as it had problems with the cast iron pressure bar cracking under pressure as the brass thumb screws were tightened. To alleviate the problems, later models were introduced with a brass pressure bar. 
But that wasn't the only problem; the split frame cast was also susceptible to breakage. 
Production only lasted a year after the Stanley take over in 1870. The No 11 was never manufactured by Stanley, although he still listed as a No 61.

Right. To the question asked via our web site. “How come my spokeshave Bailey No 10 Type-2- has a patent 'June-19-1866...No 55,599' same as my No 11 Bailey split frame spokeshave?”
Very good question and something I haven't noticed.
 Answer : Patent No 55,599 resulted in changing the cutter clamping system on the Bailey spokeshaves No 6,7,9 and 10...only on Type 1 & 2, but still being covered by the existing patent. 
Type I had front fitting pressure plate, few of these models have Bailey Boston on the face. 
Type 2 had a downward wedge pressure plate, and downward screws to secure. In the case of the Stanley No 60 spokeshaves the same method was used up to and including Type 6 but in 1930 a nickel plated, pressure plate was introduced and screwed on the face. 
Hope this is of some help to you.


                                                                                                     Bailey No 41 and No 43 Spokeshaves.

Bailey manufacturing activities in Hartford USA started mid 1875, in a shared factory with A.F.Cushman, who manufactured Lathe Chucks and a Patent Box Scraper. 
On that same location was where Leonard Bailey became known for the Victor line of tools, being planes, spokeshaves, squares and bevels and the Stanley Rule and Level Co became an agent for the Victor range.
Controversy developed between Leonard Bailey and Stanley over patent infringement, even spying, mainly involving Victor planes legal action and long running disputes. Nasty stuff. 
Bailey had at least nine patents issued at the time, for planes and spokeshaves between 1871 and 1883. 
The trade name "Victor" was registered to Bailey Jan-4-1876 with Registration No 3299. 
One particular patent application related to a spokeshave patent No 182,881 but was actually for a box scraper. 
Bailey developed and manufactured two spokeshaves No 41 and No 43 and one box scraper No 48.
These spokeshaves differed from others at the time, the handles were open and called the "loop style" [that means they break more easily] although some earlier heel shaves are known to have open handles. 
The patent No 182,881 Oct-3-1876 referred to No 41 spokeshave, known as "double iron type", it involved the cutter being secured from behind and a machined screw which pressed the cutter forward. 
The No 43 spokeshave known as " lock type "differs, it has a locking lever that activates a cam, which when rotated puts pressure on the back of the cutter. None of that action refers to the 1876 patent. This shave also has a pivoting sole. [which to all intents and purpose seems useless]
The two Victor shaves, did not appear in the 1876 Bailey catalogue, so quite easily may have been manufactured 1876, as the patent wasn't issued until Oct-3 –1877. It is quite conceivable that the shave had not gone into production at that time. 
These new spokeshaves, No 41 and No 43 and also No 48 box scraper, were depicted in Stanley's 1879 catalogue, but at the time Stanley was only an agent for the Victor brand, till 1884. 
On July-16-1884 Stanley purchased the whole Victor range, but the No's 41, 43 and 48 were never a Stanley brand. 
Beware of the imposter, the Victor No 41, 43 and 48, were quite distinctive, and copied by others such as, Goodell & Pratt No 36, Sears also Dunlap and a few unmarked.


                                                                                                                               The “Victor Spokeshave’

                                           Top Card: These Victor Spokeshaves were never offered as a Stanley product because Stanley was an agent for Victor.


                                          Middle Card: Bailey “Victor No 41 Spokeshave. Double iron 1876—1884 Loop Body. Made in USA Pat. No 182881 Oct-3-1876

                                          Bottom Card: Bailey Victor no 43 Spokeshave. Lock Type 1876—1884 Loop Body. Made in USA Pat. Unsure but presume as for No 46.

                                  .....................................................This is my story and bringing tools to their original Glory......... Gerry Gradisen...............................................


posted Mar 1, 2019, 3:40 PM by Geoff Emms   [ updated Mar 16, 2020, 3:36 PM ]

The No 60 series of low Angle Block Plane, were primary designed, for freely planing end and cross grains, hence the low angle, and the sharpening degree of the blades 20° for the No’s 60 & 61 and 12° for the No 60½.



Now just a little diversion, but I will get to the point.

My knowledge of block planes, was very limited, that is besides using them.

So I decided to give my brain a bit of exercise, and do a full Case Study on the No’s 9½ series block planes, these cover the No’s 9¼ & 9¾ tailed version. But soon came to the conclusion, that it also covers the No’s 15, 15½ , 16 , 16½ , & 17, so the first production date, doesn’t necessarily become type -1- .

These planes pick up the Types as on the No 9½ case study.

But this wasn’t the case with the No 60 series of block plane, they pick up the Type No’s from production date, but the ’’ years ‘’ are, as per the ’’ chart.’’

Back to No 60 series............the No 60 Type -1-1898 has a ‘’Non Adjustable Throat’’, and a Rosewood Finger Knob.

The No 60 Type -2-1903 and following types all with ‘’Adjustable Throat‘’ but have a Brass/Nickel plated finger Knob, ceased production in 1950, but in the mean time in 1902 Stanley introduced a new block plane as No 60½ “Adjustable Throat’’. The only difference with this plane was it had a wider throat opening to accommodate the12° Blade Angle.

Confusion! With that slight alteration, you would wonder, why didn’t Stanley just add it to No 60 Block plane and add a new Type ‘’ say ‘’ Type -4-

Not to be: this block lasted till 1982.

Remember 1902/03 Stanley dropped the No 60 type -1- ‘’Non Adjustable’’ plane, and introduction of the Adjustable Throat, that were more popular and only for a few extra  dollars, became obvious customer choice.


So one wonders why. 1911 Stanley introduced yet another ‘’non adjustable throat‘’ .......................well this is it ........... ‘’ Not just another, Block Plane ‘’..............

This is a No 61 Type -1- ‘’ Non Adjustable Throat ‘’ Low Angle Block plane, has a Rosewood Finger Knob and the central longitude rib missing. It was only made for a few years and followed by Type -2- up till 1935, only [2] productions were ever made.




 It may well be identical to No 60 TYPE -1- except...

No 61 Type -1- has what no other No 60 Series has, raised Casted No 61 on the Heel of the Plane and a Missing Horizontal Rib ...

This is my story /  and bringing old tools to their original glory.

Gerry Gradisen.

Notes on Restoring a Plane.

posted May 1, 2018, 4:23 PM by Geoff Emms   [ updated May 5, 2018, 1:53 PM ]

Figure 1. The Plane as Found. Plenty of Surface Rust and Minor Damage to The Wood.

Among tools being auctioned by the club from the estate of former HTPSWA chairman and founding member, the late Bob Shoosmith, was a derelict rusty Spiers infill plane.
It would have attracted a lot of interest except for some major damage to its rear, where a long past former owner had cut away a section of wood in a most unprofessional and unattractive manner.

Figure 2. Major Damage at Rear of plane

I could, and perhaps should have avoided it, but I am a sucker for a challenge, so I bid for it with little opposition and won.
It was not at all clear to me how to deal with the plane. This is indeed a challenging restoration job.

To Restore or Not?
I don’t want to imply that restoration is always the best thing to do. Hand tool enthusiasts hold a wide range of views; from people who happily repaint black japanning, or polish with Brasso, to people who oppose ANY changes being made. Then there are pure collectors, and people who decry perfectly good tools being put on a shelf, and not used as originally intended. We as members need to respect such views, some of which can be held with a great deal of passion.
If you are thinking about restoring a tool, you would do well to be aware that there will not be universal agreement that it is the correct thing to do. The decision to restore is not one to take lightly.
I far prefer not to restore or repair tools, but I see little choice in this case. The plane would likely end up in a skip if no-one recovers it, so I am not compromising a valuable bit of heritage.

 Exploratory Surgery
At this stage the main task was to explore the situation as fully as necessary to reach an informed decision on the best way forward.
Before we go further, a note about how these planes were originally built is appropriate.
If you have ever considered making your own infill smoothing plane you will have come up against the difficulty of shaping and fitting the rear infill. It is an odd-shaped part with very few reference surfaces to measure from.
The commercial makers, Spiers, Mathieson, Preston and probably Norris all made this job easier by building the rear infill of their smoothing planes in two pieces (see Fig 3):
- A lower section with its top surface flush with the tops of the metal sides of the plane, and
- A top section glued to it that extends over the metal sides to be flush with the outer plane surfaces. If you look closely at any of these planes you will see the join by sighting down the blade bed, or at the rear, where you might see an abrupt change in grain pattern instead.

Figure 3. The Rear Infill is Made of Two Pieces of Rosewood Glued Together.

Close inspection revealed the top part of the infill to be slightly misaligned, in a way that would have prevented the plane working properly. With this being the case, it was necessary to separate the two parts of the rear infill. This was achieved by tapping a carefully-placed chisel, to reveal the original joint surface with its toothing marks and animal glue bond.
I learned something new about the original construction after doing this. The top infill has thin rosewood fillets glued to its sides. This is how the outer wood surfaces were made flush with the metal sides of the plane. The fillets are cut from the same bit of rosewood as the central bit. They are fitted so neatly that the joins are not detectable on the dressed outer faces.

Figure 4. Detail Showing Side Fillets Glued to The Main Part of The Rear Infill.

Having explored the situation in sufficient depth it was time to set the job aside and carefully think about the next step.

Cleaning the metal sides.
With the plane disassembled as far as it is going to be (see Part 1), this is the best time to tackle the metal parts of the plane.
The orange live rust was wire-brushed away to reveal shallow rust pits surrounded by unattractive dark blotches amid patches of clean metal. This is not great news because anything done to remedy the situation will irreversibly alter the surface.
Avoid this step if you can, but I draw-filed the sides until most rust pits disappeared, then used abrasive cloth down to 400 grit, to reduce the inevitable scratch marks. I used various holding methods to keep the scratches parallel to the sole and cleaned the file frequently with a file card to reduce the risk of pinned bits of steel cutting deep scratches. The steel ends up brighter than I am happy with and has coarser tooling marks than were originally present, but my experience is that these settle down over time.
I treated the sole similarly but left more rust pits than on the sides for fear of widening the mouth by taking too much metal off the sole.
This might be controversial, but I find draw-filing to be the most accurate way to flatten a plane’s sole to the standard needed for high performance planes. Sanding as suggested by the books may be simpler but is prone to rounding the sole in my experience. Although draw-filing leaves deep scratches on the sole, careful finer abrasion
can make smooth flat areas between the scratches, achieving a suitably flat and smooth surface overall.

Cleaning the Blade Assembly.
The parallel blade (or iron) is made by fellow Scottish maker; Mathieson and has an early serrated-border brand mark consistent with the early age of the plane itself. It is a composite of soft iron forge-welded to a tool-steel cutting edge. The soft iron part of the blade has a rough stippled surface with areas of dark oxide scale. These must be original features acquired from the blacksmith’s forge. In view of this I did little more than to wire brush the orange rust away. I doubt these early blades were ever bright metal, except at the cutting edge.

Cleaning the Gunmetal Lever.
My observations of well-preserved gunmetal screw-levers suggest their front faces were originally dressed sufficient to remove all tooling marks, before being coated by French-polish. Often the metal and polish have mellowed to give an attractive warm gold colour. This cannot be replicated successfully as you cannot abrade away all the little dents and scratches with their oxidised bottoms that the tool has acquired over its life. Polishing them as is would look like an amateur job.
The screw-lever had a few speckles of original polish surrounded by unattractive oxide patches in some parts and abraded scratched metal in other parts. I went for the minimum cleaning needed to make a more even surface. I used a worn bit of Scotch Pad with a salt and vinegar mixture which works well on brass and gunmetal and does not leave an unduly bright polished surface. One note of caution; salt and vinegar will be highly corrosive on the adjacent steel parts, so neutralise it with baking soda and wash & dry the area thoroughly. A final burnish with 0000 grade steel wool softened the finish.

Figure 5. Cleaned Gunmetal Lever and Blade

Repairing the Rear infill.
The top part of the rear infill was the most difficult part of the job, as it had a missing chunk sawn off by a previous owner. I cleaned the sawn rear face and planed it flat. Then I replaced the missing chunk of wood in four steps. First was a rosewood core fixed to the original piece with a sliding dovetail joint (see Fig 6). It extends to the back of the plane but does not extend to the top or sides. I then carefully fitted chamfered fillets to the top and sides of that core (Fig 7). The chamfered joins are much tighter than the end-to-end-grain joint in
the core piece.

Figure 6. Sliding Dovetail Core.                                                                          Figure 7. Chamfered Fillets Attached to Rosewood Core.

As the top and bottom halves of the infill were originally held together with animal glue, I used similar glue to reattach them.
This unhandled plane model presents a simple shaping job. There are enough photographs of similar planes on dealer websites to give a clear picture of the correct shape to copy. The vertical rear face of the plane is simply curved to the same profile as the curved heel of the steel sole. The radiused top edges are then continued around the back of the plane. These were achieved by sawing, rasping and sanding to shape.

You Can’t Get Rosewood Any More.
Prior to the Second World War the commercial plane makers, Spiers, Mathieson, Preston and Norris, mostly used Brazilian Rosewood for their planes, as did most tool manufacturers in general.
Since then, Brazilian Rosewood has become an endangered species, and was protected by the UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in 1992. Most countries prohibit export or import of rosewood blanks and manufactured items because of this protected status.
I used Indian Rosewood for this repair, having bought a few pieces from a Sydney specialty wood supplier many years ago. I don’t have enough left to do many more repairs like this.
Indian Rosewood and all other rosewood species were afforded CITES protection in 2017.
You will not be able to get rosewood for repairs like this in future.

I avoid refinishing if possible.
My preferred approach is to clean wood parts with one of the many cleaning mixtures available. I have used this one for many years: 3-parts turpentine, 3-parts raw linseed oil, 3-parts vinegar, and 1-part methylated spirits. I got this recipe from an article in HTPAA's Toolchest journal. There are similar recipes published in various furniture restoration books. Rub this mixture on and off with rags. Then remove stubborn spots of house paint etc. with finger nails and harder implements as needed.
Even if the resulting surface doesn’t look to have any preserved French-polish, it is worth trying this next step. It is an old French-polishers’ method for rejuvenating polished surfaces. It was first described to me by Ray Bellinger who used to give French-polishing talks at the Perth Wood Shows.
Thoroughly mix 2-parts raw linseed oil with 1-part methylated spirits. You only need a few drops of this mixture for a typical hand tool but be absolutely certain to have more oil than metho. Rub this on the wood with your fingers until the surface feels very slightly tacky. Then rub off with a clean cloth. This can brighten polish you didn't think was there. Any polish you could see beforehand, will look brilliant after this
treatment. The method does not add any new polish and does no harm to the patina of scratches and dents on old tools. I have found this to work wonders on japanned metal surfaces also.
For the present project, the repairs necessarily left bare wood, so the above methods are not applicable.
Up until about the 1930’s commercially made infill planes were French-polished. Later Norris planes are finished with some sort of varnish, similar to our modern polyurethane finishes.
The trouble with refinishing is that unless you sand so deep that you risk compromising the shape of the work piece, you still have dents, scratches etc that form part of the aged patina. Shellac or varnish sink into these depressions. Each little indentation ends up with shiny edges that are the hallmarks of an amateur refinishing job.
I solve this by filling the dents with hard stopping-wax before applying the first coats of shellac. This is a conventional French polishing technique. Once the French-polish is fully cured, you can either leave the filled dents, or pick the wax out of them with a none-too-sharp awl. This leaves the dents and scratches unpolished, more in keeping with their original state.
With only a few bits of rosewood to choose from, I could not get a really good colour match between new and old wood. Application of wood stain prior to polishing partly corrected this, and addition of spirit-based stain during the skinning stage of the French-polishing process further reduced the visual impact of the new pieces.
The repaired surfaces look too new for my liking and lack any patina. This was always going to be the case, however I prefer to leave them like this rather than attempt to forge an artificial patina.
The End of the Journey.
After tuning up the blade assembly, properly mating the cap iron to the blade and bedding it solidly on the blade bed, the plane now works superbly.


Figure 8. The Completed Plane Cutting Fine Shavings
This project has transformed the plane from an ugly duckling that attracted little interest, and did not work properly, to a presentable, fully operational item. The repair joints are very tight but are still visible to anyone who looks closely, and the market devalues repaired items. Nonetheless this work must have added value to the plane somehow. I am under no illusions that the days I spent on it can ever be reflected in the value of the plane, but that was never my purpose.
This has been about skill, historical knowledge, learning, and their preservation, values that go way beyond the object itself.
Or I could have avoided buying the plane in the first place….

Thanks to Vic for this interesting article.

Bailey Pre Type 1 Vertical Post Plane.

posted Feb 10, 2018, 7:45 PM by Geoff Emms   [ updated Jun 29, 2020, 1:43 AM ]

No 8 Pre Type 1 Bailey Vertical Post Plane. 

Leonard Bailey (1855-1905) was an inventor and manufacturer. Working as a cabinet maker approximately 1839-1849, he began messing around improving the wooden planes he worked with. Although iron planes have known recordings as far back as 400AD in Roman days, their blades were more in a position for scraping. Much later, around 1827, a man called Hazard Knowles ( a carriage maker ) came out with an iron plane but with a wooden locking wedge and a quarter of a century later in 1854, a Birdsville Holly obtained a patent on a jointer plane, which was twenty and a half inch long iron plane but it had a fixed back to house the blade. It also had a corrugated bottom with no frog.
Then along came Thomas Worrall of Boston in 1855, a maker of wooden planes but in a transitional form which he called a “Multiform Plane”. It had a wooden bottom and iron top section ( to house the blade ). His TRANSITIONAL PLANES are the most impressive type I have ever come across. 

Now this is where Bailey made his first mistake. His mind set stayed with the successful transition plane, but he wanted an all iron plane. Bailey applied for a patent, as we know now as the “Split Frame Plane” (Two separate castings ). In 1858 he introduced his Split Frame Planes - “Problem Plane” ( Metal on metal ) which again gave him grief over the control of movement of steel, the “rocking blade” and the main thing, tension. Bailey experimented with coil springs and spring steel, double springs, thumb screws and under front knobs.

There were too many moving parts. In 1859 he introduced the new version of these planes but stuck with spring coils but did add a pivoting frog and a solid cast lever cap. In the meantime, in 1861 Bailey moved to new premises in Boston and needed to make money. He decided to drop the production of the split frame. It was to costly to manufacture because it had to have numbered parts, sophisticated castings and filings.       

Hence the birth of what I call- Pre Type 1 Vertical Post Plane. No more split frame, but a one cast body but still staying with the pivoting frog ( a mistake because there was no gain ). The plane has limited adjustments, and on the face of it, the pivoting frog only gave the blade angle adjustment and no up and down movement. The pre - Type 1 Vertical Post plane was made from numbers 1 - 3, though mainly 3 - 8. Maybe only six Number Ones were made. Bailey Pre Type 1 was definitely the front runner of all the Bailey planes.

Thanks to Gerry Gradisen for this interesting and informative article.

Hert Varken. (pre 1740)

posted Apr 12, 2017, 3:38 PM by Geoff Emms   [ updated Mar 16, 2020, 3:38 PM ]

This is a Dutch plane which gave difficulties for the English translator for it is called “The Pig”. The reference book ‘Four Centuries of Dutch Planes and Planemakers’ has illustrations of the pre 1740 plane. One can see small holes front and back which were for depth pins, the horn at the front is for someone to pull the plane as is the hole at the toe which allows a rope to be used. This is thought to be a non adjustable plane because the single skate appears to need a locating track.


The illustration of the post 1740 Varken shows an adjustable depth stop. Also two holes which are for the posts of the adjustable fenceThis is the plane bought at the club auction and cleaned.  In the process one of the posts which had bowed was cut and re glued. No markings were found but because it had some features, such as a skate on the fence, a more detailed search was made and the Dutch option was  tried.



As to why Het Varken was called a pig is interesting. One thought is that it was a difficult plane to use hence in the colloquial language of the tradesman it was a pig of a plane. Also it may have been seen to make a trough through the timber as would a pig in dirt. If it took two to work the plane it may well have had a poor reputation with the tradesman.

Two friends - Wim asked Jaap could he give him a hand working this monstrosity [ it can cut up to 6 1/2 cm deep ] and after a while Jaap stopped for a breather and says to Wim looking at the Varken [ this stage unnamed ] “dit varken is moeilijk werk.’ in our phrase we might say, “ this monster is bloody hard work.”  ```` so the name Het Varken came about ```` true story, maybe, I think, could be .

There are many club members with skill to use the tools they collect. Gerry is one of them. He also has the research techniques which enables him to see the small differences in the progressive history of  Stanley tools and clearly identify each ’Type’. His collection of Stanley planes and shaves is of tools which  have been restored to original condition and with his cabinet making skills he has them displayed in fine Jarrah cabinets. His story is one of bringing tools to their original glory.

 Gerry Gradisen.

Editor: Thanks Gerry for your insight  and research into one of the most interesting tools to pass through the Club auction.



posted Oct 28, 2016, 2:47 PM by Geoff Emms

It’s All In The Story

How many times do we wonder if only the tools could talk. Recently we were donated some very plain well used and mostly ordinary every day tools that belonged to their Grandfather-Frazer Paterson Henderson 1894 to 1963

Frazer, from Scottish parents was an apprentice carpenter in Kalgoorlie/ Boulder before enlisting with the AIF in October 1915 and served with the 4th and 15th Field engineers. Whilst fighting in Marseilles he was wounded  and returned to battle on two occasions ,was returned to England  and repatriated with” debility” in 1918 and discharged in 1919.

He returned to WA and worked on a family orchard , was married in 1920 ,Worked for DJ Chipper and Son as a coffin maker and eventually joined his brother in partnership as a contract builder  where they went on to build many Gov't buildings and  houses . When the depression hit he returned to Kalgoorlie and worked for the North Kalgurlie Mine as a carpenter whilst endeavouring to repay loans for business debts. After 4 years he returned to Perth and continued his coffin making trade but now for CH Smith And Co in Newcastle street. Suffering from financial hardships, still repaying loans , they relocated several times around Perth to rental houses, eventually settling and building the family home in Daglish. He also made much of the family furniture for the immediate and extended family. This was one of his favourite pastimes.

Having experienced two of the most significant events in our history being WW1 and the depression  no doubt took its toll as he had his fair share of financial and medical hardships. He passed away in in 1963 and his tools remained and were no doubt used by Frazer’s family until now.

Are the tools of collectible significance –Not Really

 Should they be preserved –YES!!      because----- what a story they can tell!

(This brief history was written  by Nigel with information  from papers and documents supplied by the  family )

The Pin Stapling Tool.

posted Jul 4, 2016, 5:51 PM by Geoff Emms   [ updated Jul 5, 2016, 2:43 AM ]

 The Pin Stapling Tool is a pair of pliers that cuts the ends off an ordinary brass or copper pin, bends it into a U shape then allows you to staple 
your papers together in the normal manner.


 Patented in the USA on July 14th 1896 (563970) by James Keyes and Herman Lee of New York, the instructions with the tool are that steel pins are not
 to be used. This example, purchased locally, has suffered a slight amount of damage to one side of the jaw where the pin is inserted. Regardless of this
 damage the tool still works perfectly. 

                                 Pin is inserted in the hole in the bottom jaw, across and out the hole on the other side.  The  flat slider in the middle of the bottom jaw 
                                 is locked in the out position.

                                 The handles are squeezed together, the locked bottom slider causes the top jaw to extend out cutting the ends off the pin and forming 
                                  it into a staple.

                                The paperwork to be stapled is inserted between the jaws. The bottom slider, now not locked by the pin, is able to retract which leaves
                                 the top jaw unextended. The handles are squeezed again, the staple is pressed through the paper and the ends folded in. The result, a 
                                 perfectly formed brass staple holding your valuable papers together.

                                Thanks to Molly E. for her assistance.


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