Classic Hand Planes

Where the precision hand plane becomes art.

The A1 Panel / Jointer Infill plane (Norris style).

A1 Jointer Infill plane This infill plane is designated A1 and the same profile/pattern was used through the entire range of sizes. These planes start at 13½" to 17½" for panel planes, and 17½" to 28½" for jointers. In the Norris catalogue it states that all sizes are available up to 36", although very few, if any, have been made at the largest sizes. Normally I recommend jointers only up to 22½" but I have made a small number of 28½" as special commissions.

A1 Infill plane- detailed view
A1 Infill plane - general view

The pictures [above] show a 22½" A1 on which I used a particularly nicely patterned piece of Rosewood.

It could be stating the obvious when mentioning the importance of flatness to a plane but I have described some of the techniques that I use in my blog – which has caused some discussion.

The picture below shows a 28½" Jointer.

A1-28½" Infill Plane

Below are some pictures of various A1 panel planes and jointers.

  • A1 Infill plane - with bag & blade.
  • A1 Infill plane - closeup of front handle.
  • A1 Infill plane - Jointer with bag.
  • A1 Infill plane - side view.
  • A1 Infill plane - view of adjuster stem.

The vast amount of work, attention to detail and thought that goes into these planes is difficult to describe, but I am trying to do so on my blog.

A1 Smoothing Plane

A1 Smoothing Plane. A1 Smoothing Plane - Work in progress.

This is an A1 14 1/2” panel plane in the Norris style, with Cocobolo infill, dovetailed steel sides and bottoms with gunmetal fittings and a 2 1/2” x 3/16” thick blade in my A2 steel.

As I now want to concentrate on my own designs I am unlikely to be making this plane again. It is a sad statement to say this but there are far too many other projects piling up. I have detailed the making of this plane before which is available in my blog.

This is a very good all round plane because it is on the larger side for smoothing but also has a good capability for jointing. The plane is an absolute joy to use.

Although I decided not to show any workshop images I had to show this one (left) as it is on the last leg home, though there is still many hours of lapping and flattening to go - it is not practical to surface grind. The dovetails and rivets are being flushed off in a vertical mill.

The picture (below left) shows the adjuster and blade bed. Also showing the lever cap retaining spigots and the captive recess in the lever cap. This allows for approximately two complete turns before the lever cap can be removed. This is a great improvement to the original infill planes where the lever caps were permanently captive.

It is because of these innovations I have been inspired to design my own planes.

A1 Smoothing Plane - Adjuster detail.
A1 Smoothing Plane - Detail of front bun. A1 Smoothing Plane - Detail of rear handle.

A1 28½" with Boxwood Infill

Normally I recommend jointers only up to 22 1/2" but this 28 1/2" A1 was a commission.

A1 28½" with Boxwood Infill.

I prefer to make planes up to 22 1/2" but in the case of a commission I have to break a few rules. It would be interesting to know how other plane makers keep their planes flat, especially from panel plane onwards and I will be including this on my blog.

A1 28½" with Boxwood Infill.