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A Strange Plane

John Morrison recently bought this moulding plane. But it is not what it seems...

s l1603 1024x768The  maker is G.R.Collier, Queens Road, Southend. This puts the date of the MFG between 1899 and 1915.

The condition is good with a well shaped wedge and no deep rust on the blade. No signs of excessive wear. Size and overall shape matches the usual dimensions.

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BUT it's ass about face. The escapement is on the left hand size of the plane, even though the shoulder is on the right as per normal. The sole has, unfortunately, been interfered with. There is a slender piece of boxing inserted 14mm from the left hand side. Of this, 17mm of depth remains in the plane. The boxing is 2mm wide.

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The sole is 55mm wide but the mouth is only 20mm wide. Although there are nail holes in the remaining sole, there is no indication that this was sold with a fence (i.e. no large screw holes) although there was a bit of wood screwed on, which is now removed (very small modern screws). The holes which are there are very evidently nail holes or small screw holes. There are around ten holes in total, so temporary fences of one size or another have been attached over the years. I'm thinking of the sort of fence that is normally found on a Fillister. The screws used on that sort of plane are quite hefty - around M10 to M12 and there is no hole of that size on this plane's sole. Overall depth of the plane is just under 3-1/2 inches (reverting to imperial here) which is about usual and means that little or no material has been removed from the sole.

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John says that he has been using and collecting tools all my adult life and  thought he knew quite a lot about the planemaking industry but this has him stumped. It's nothing to do with casemaking, carriagemaking, or wheelwrights. Neither is it a left handed version of a run-of-the mill moulder or bead - if that was the case, the shoulder would be on the left (i.e. a mirror of the normal right hand plane). The actual moulding it cuts is a small quirk OG, but although the mouth is quite tight (2mm). John is certain this wasn't the original profile.

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John would welcome any advice or clues. 

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