Not many finds in the way of tools turn up unknown planes for me. From Norris to Spiers and Gabriel to Mathieson I think I know of them all in some greater or lesser measure. That doesn’t make me an expert so much as fortunate to have had them pass through my hands.
Last week I noticed an unusual plane come up on eBay as I have been buying #5 1/2 jack planes for the school and filming. I usually buy bargains in that class for between £15-20. This plane was not one I had ever seen or heard hint of before. I SORBY. Did Sorby make planes like the 5 1/2 type Stanley and Record? Obviously they did.
I wanted this plane more than any other I had ever bid on for two or three reasons. 1: I simply wanted to see it close up. 2: I wanted one that improved on what was currently available yet was no longer available. 3: I wanted to compare it to it’s counterparts. I was prepared to pay much more than the £65 I paid. My investment proved worth every ounce of effort.
My new I Sorby 5 1/2 in action
I was surprised to find all of the paint in tact and that the plane had been used so minimally. The sole was thick and dead flat. The cutting iron was not. A great surprise when the plane came from one of the best known UK Sheffield plane iron makers in the world.
Needless to say I love this plane and will use it for the remainder of my life. I would love to know if there was an I Sorby 4 1/2 smoothing plane made too, but, as with the 5 1/2, I haven’t seen one in 47 years of woodworking.
Close in it looks as good
I have seen grinding angles stamped into on plane cap irons made by Record planes but this method is a first for me. Most unique!
This feature could be handy. The funny think is that one time I saw the angles stamped into the actual cutting iron!