Review By: I.Ball
Category: Old Wooden Planes
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".
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 1940's when the plane pretty much ceased being manufactured.
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 (at the time of writing this) has to be Jane Rees 'British Planemakers - 4th Edition'. The 'British Planemakers fom 1700 - Third Edition' is also good if you come across a secondhand copy.
Below is a list of just a small amount of the British wooden bead plane manufacturers:
Atkin & Sons
Cowell & Chapman
Kirk & Asling
The wooden beading planes were eventually in effect replaced by the iron combination planes such as the Stanley 50 plane and the iron multi planes such as the Stanley 45 plane.
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)
<1700 - 1940's>
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