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I Sorby #5 on eBay – texture in iron

DSC_0037I was the happy recipient of an eBay buy but couldn’t understand the surprisingly low price at £13.01p plus £6.00 shipping. I suppose I Sorby is really not known for its all metal cast planes so much as it’s plane cutting irons and wooden bodied models of yesteryear and more the iron and blade side rather than the stock holding it. I own the #5 1/2 model I Sorby already, which has proven to be such a wonderful plane, and I didn’t know that a #5 I Sorby existed anywhere. DSC_0031These two planes are rare planes indeed now but though slightly heavier than Stanley and Record models, I don’t believe them to be altogether greatly better planes. I do think the engineering seems to a higher standard but only marginally. The thickness of the sole is thicker and so it seems that this gives the plane more weight.

I don’t know that any of this validates my wanting to own these two rare planes, but I like the thought of Sorby recognizing the value the Bailey-pattern plane played in the history of plane development. Bailey pattern bench planes became the most highly manufactured of all metal bodied planes and this then led to the replacement of wooden bodied planes altogether. I think it’s this that lead to a texture few will ever know. These planes signify a juncture if you will; a point in time when like many of us wanting to make a difference, we strive to further improve what exists and create progressive steps leading to that end. DSC_0028Over the years I have grown to respect what some modern-day planemakers have done in creating beautifully engineered planes unparalleled by past generations. It isn’t so much that we needed such art works to work with but that we strove for something finely crafted and are indeed blessed by refinement such as these hand wrought things gave to us. Some are sculpted planes finely made as examples from ebony and ivory, some produced as castings and some meticulously crafted as decoration, but, still, the ones I like to see that hold the most for me are the ones shaped by their working, worn by hands and wood. These planes contain within what they work the signature marks of texture and will wear more such marks as I follow on to use them in my own work. What was written in the body of these planes will be continued testament to I Sorby and to the man who works with the planes in years yet to follow.


  1. Sean Ahner on 28 December 2012 at 8:48 am

    Texture of iron is depends on what form its in. It could be rough, smooth, bumpy, scratchy etc. The equipment was very awesome!

    • Paul Sellers on 28 December 2012 at 9:06 am

      I think that wood on wood still feels the best of all. Wooden planes are still wonderful but I want to help people work with what is commonly available and the Stanley range definitely swamped the world with an unfathomable depth and wealth of planes.
      They work really well and rarely go wrong. The Bailey pattern planes were better than any plane ever made from cast metal. When it comes to minimising friction, nothing ever made beats wood on wood.

      • Dave on 26 January 2014 at 5:44 am

        Hi Paul
        The thickness of these Sorby planes resemble the body of the Clifton plane, I’m sure you’re familiar with and some are even more expensive than the Lie Nielsen which I’d consider the highest end in quality (not mentioning the custom Lazarus ones).
        I have two wood planes one an Ulmia 48 mm and a John Weiss & Sohn Wien 2″ , both blades are in hair shaving condition but, for the life of me, I can’t use them successfully, they clog all the time, they’re in almost “new” condition, maybe you can suggest something to do with them to make them work properly.
        Sincerely, Dave.
        P.S. If you will be In Somerset NJ Feb.21. 2014 at the Woodworking show, I’ll be happy to show them to you, plus, I’ll be honored to meet you again.

        • Paul Sellers on 26 January 2014 at 8:36 am

          I love solving plane problems but without seeing them I’m afraid it’s a nearly impossible task. I’m also afraid I will not be traveling the Woodworking Shows show circuit this time around so will not be in Somerset NJ.

          • Dave on 27 January 2014 at 5:51 am

            Too bad,I was looking forward to meet you again, maybe some other time. If you have a solution for the wooden planes, I’d like to read about or if you have a video, no pressure though.
            Thanks, Dave.
            P.S. I left you a comment (suggestion) on Carving a Wooden Spoon with an Axe.

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