What Is A Spill Plane?

spill planes
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A spill plane is an old, traditional plane used to create long spiral or coiled shaped shavings known as a 'Spill'.

Traditionally a spill plane was a wooden plane with an upright plane iron set at a heavily skewed angle. It is this blade angle / mouth setup that forms the spiral shaving.

A spill plane was unique in function compared to other wooden planes. It's unique function was to create the special shaving. It was the only wooden plane which wasn't designed with a purpose of shaping / moulding a piece of wood. It's purpose was to make a special 'Spill' shaving.

What Is A Spill Plane Used For?

The purpose of this originally, at a time when there weren't matches (pre-1870), was to help facilitate moving fire from one location to another e.g. from one lantern to another or taking the fire from the fire place to light a candle or a smoker's pipe.

The long spiral coiled shaving burns fairly slowly and therefore for longer.

While this is not really something needed today, the spiral shavings are good for the initial lighting of a fire and also makes good tinder in a woodburner.

From what I have observed and recall, most or I believe all of the wooden spill planes I have seen are planes without a manufacturer / maker mark which likely means they were made by woodworkers of the time.


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