Wooden Compass Planes

wooden compass plane
Our Rating


Review By: I.Ball

Manufacturer: Various

Tool Type: Wooden Planes

Plane Type: Compass


The old British non-adjustable wooden compass planes were basically a wooden smoothing plane with the sole moulded in a curve (convex).

These wooden compass planes were designed for use planing concave curves.

As these wooden compass planes were non-adjustable a user may have a few different compass planes with different curvatures.

There were numerous wooden compass plane makers however it was also straight forward and common for a woodworker to transform a smoothing plane into the desired profiled compass plane by re-shaping the sole.

old wooden compass plane

It is difficult to judge whether a compass plane is an original compass plane or a compass plane which has been converted from a wooden smoothing plane into a compass plane, either way it makes very little difference.

In addition to the non-adjustable style wooden compass planes there is an adjustable wooden compass plane.

The wooden compass planes were eventually replaced by iron compass planes such as the Stanley 113 compass plane and Stanley 20 compass plane to name a few. Wooden compass planes were still sold and used for a long period when the iron compass planes were available.

old wooden compass plane

There are various other types of wooden compass planes to be found, often once again planes which have been made/adjusted by a user rather than a manufacturer making it.

Some alternative compass planes are rabbet / rebate compass planes and some compassed both along the length and width of the sole.

old miniature wooden compass plane

There are also miniature compass planes and compass planes with a steel sole.

Miniature compass planes are as the name suggests, a tiny version of compass plane, usually about 3" - 4 1/2".

This type of plane was suited to small and detailed work including model making.

old wooden compass plane

Compass planes with a steel sole are much less common, no doubt due to the work / skill needed to make the smooth curved steel sole.

The steel sole offers the plane a chance of longer life and uniform sole which is much less likely of need of repair.

old wooden compass plane
old wooden compass plane

Manufactured Dates

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