Review By: I.Ball
Category: Old Wooden Planes
Extra Info: What is a Compass Plane?
Tool Type: Wooden Planes
Plane Type: Compass
The old British non-adjustable wooden compass planes were basically
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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