…and it works so well.

DSC_0033The angle of the tapered iron lies on the bed at 12-degrees with the bevel uppermost and a crude and well-beaten wedge locks the iron to the body . I didn’t buy it because it was cheap (a £1 is now $1.62). I bought it because it was lost. I didn’t need it because I was short of a low-angle bevel-up plane, I needed it because it was abandoned and forlorn. I didn’t buy it because it was useful either. I bought it because it was useless and expired. The plane is the simplest of all. Simplicity often has deep meaning. It can mean pure, honest, truth and trustworthy. The plane looked as though I could trust it to work well. DSC_0083Whoever made the plane also used it and used it well. The casting has roughness to it from the coarse casting sand and file marks from the coarse and uneven file teeth. It’s not fancy or well engineered by anyone’s imagination, but its Ward iron matches the sharpness of the best and the steel is good and hard. All Ward irons were good and hard.

DSC_0077The ebony was from an old carving in ebony. African I think. That was lost and abandoned and useless too. Upcycling takes what others might abandon and brings life to work back into them. In so much as I saw spiritless things lying alone, I also felt hope that with my hands I could make life come from them once again. John poured himself into the steel for me as I worked to cut and shape the ebony to replace the fractured and spelched oak. Beneath the iron was the mouth adjustment. A single shim of an old tool catalog – about a playing card thick (0.25mm generally). When the plane came together I pressed it to the wood on the shooting board for the first time in most likely 50 years. There are many things about this plane that tell me of the man who made it. Perhaps later we can look at those things.


  1. francine magnan on 27 April 2014 at 10:33 pm

    dear paul,how do you bring back metal so clean??
    what a beautiful plane…lucky you..
    good day from canada

    • Paul Sellers on 28 April 2014 at 3:20 am

      It was John’s elbow grease in this case. The sides were out of square so we abraded them square so we could use with the shooting board.

  2. Siavosh on 27 April 2014 at 10:43 pm

    Beautiful job Paul, a very unique plane. Any chance to see some shavings?

  3. Keith Peters on 27 April 2014 at 11:53 pm

    It looks very happy now.

  4. ÒSCAR AGUIRRE on 28 April 2014 at 3:01 am


  5. Sandy on 28 April 2014 at 4:04 am

    Paul, There is something about finding and restoring old tools. I found an old wooden plane about a year ago. It has not been restored yet other than working on the iron. It had a name on it so I tried to look up some information on it and it appears to be around 100 years old. I pick it up sometimes when I out in the shop and I can imagine the old craftsman who bought this thing and how he must have beamed when he opened the box and pulled out his new tool. In my minds eye I can see the old boy putting it to task. If only a plane could talk and tell all the stories of it’s life…

  6. Eddy flynn on 28 April 2014 at 10:51 am

    great job guys ,Paul when you have finished with John send him across the Mersey i could do with some of that elbow grease in my shed ,the way you’s guys are buying at boot sales you’s are going to have enough stock to have your own stall ,i’d be first in the queue if you ever did .

  7. Roger on 28 April 2014 at 11:12 am

    The before and after pics are a great contrast. Inspiring me to have a go at finding something at a boot fair myself!

  8. Bill Wonneberger on 29 April 2014 at 2:51 am

    I wish I had sweet chunks of Ebony laying around for such fun

  9. Robert Brookins on 9 July 2014 at 10:14 pm

    Paul, when you first posted this I call my wife to come and listen to what you had written. Your words gave life to lifeless iron and steel. You made it a living thing. We both enjoyed the word and appreciated the finished work. Amazing, Thanks

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