|My friend Raney Nelson dropped by the showroom yesterday and asked me to bring in some interesting infill plane. Lately he told me he has been thinking about making a mitre plane and I thought bringing in one might be interesting enough. "Mitre" is the English spelling of "miter", but I always use the English spelling because the mitre plane is a distinctly English phenomena. I own older mitre planes but Towell is considered the first of the full-time English infill makers and he built the first signed infill panel plane that we know of today and probably the first infill rebates planes too. |
In general his work always shows elegance and in some cases innovation as infill design struggled to mature, something it finally did in the hands of Steward Spiers the most prominent of the next generation of infill planemakers.
This particular plane has a 2" iron and is fairly typical of mitre planes from before the mid 19th century. The sole is steel and the sides are wrought iron.
The secret to a well performing mitre plane is a very tight mouth both in front of the iron and in back, supporting the iron to the very edge. This is because with a bevel up iron, even if the iron is supported close to the cutting edge, the bending moment of the iron around the body is at a very thin section, at some point at the bevel. In a bevel down plane the bending point of the iron is further along the iron well away from the bevel. (That's why it's easier to make a good bevel down plane than bevel up plane.) In any case comparing pretty good mitre planes to really excellent ones instantly shows the important of a fine mouth behind the iron.
Towell's mitre planes are constructed just like his contemporaries, with the sole tongue and grooved together around the mouth, and the sides dovetailed in. However one thing I really like about Towell's planes is his most elegant and curvaceous bridge.
Incidentally before you ask, the chances that Towell had any metal working tools other than a few hacksaws, a few metal cutting chisels, a forge, and a lot of files is pretty small. This plane was done all by hand.
I'm guessing that this plane is fairly early in his career, and of all the types of planes Towell made, the mitre plane is the most common. It's also the earliest form of infill that existed and the jumping off point for Towell and other innovators.
|Comments are closed.|