Wooden Side Bead Planes

wooden bead plane
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Review By: I.Ball

Manufacturer: Various

Tool Type: Wooden Planes

Plane Type: Side Bead

The old British wooden side bead plane is a plane designed for producing as the name suggests, a bead.

A bead is effectively a round (produced by a hollow plane) with a quirk.

The side bead plane consisted of a hardwood body, hardwood wedge and an iron bead cutter.

The wooden bead planes were nearly always made from beech as this was the hardwood that was commonly available in Britain.

The wooden beading planes were sold in sizes: 1/8", 3/16", 1/4", 5/16", 3/8", 7/16", 1/2", 5/8", 3/4", 7/8" and 1".

old wooden beading plane

I believe I have seen sizes 1/16" and sizes above 1". Many of the old wooden plane manufacturers were happy to satisfy customer's specific requirements and often advertised customised tool making services and prices.

The wooden side bead has to be the most common plane produced. This type of plane has been made by literally hundreds of manufacturers over at least a 250 year period until 1950's – 1960's when the plane pretty much ceased being manufactured.

Finding More Information About Wooden Beading Plane Manufacturers

The manufacturer's mark (if present) can virtually always be found on the front nose of the plane. If the plane is quite mucky or you hadn’t realised, this is the place to look to identify who made it.

Most planes also have an owner's name or many owner's names stamped into the front of the plane; these can often be easily spotted as they have been stamped more than once on the plane.

If you wish to delve deeper there are a few books out there to help identify the age of the plane(s).

The authority of these books has to be W L Goodman’s ‘British Planemakers fom 1700 – third edition’ book but be prepared to pay some money for this book as it is no longer available to buy new (at the time of writing this) and secondhand copies of the book are in demand.

British Wooden Beading Plane Manufacturers

antique wooden side bead planes

Below is a list of just a small amount of the British wooden bead plane manufacturers:

Atkin & Sons
Cowell & Chapman
Kirk & Asling
Preston (Edward)
..many others

The wooden beading planes were eventually replaced by the iron combination planes such as the Stanley 50 plane and the iron multi planes such as the Stanley 45 plane.

New Wooden Beading Plane Manufacturers

There are a few makers in various places around the world who make new versions of this style of wooden side bead planes, often with higher-end materials and/or additional features:

Philly Planes (England)


Manufactured Dates

<1700 - 1970>


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