Unknown, Hand-operated Planers - page 3
- typical examples from the mid 1800s to early 1900s -
Small Unknown Planers Home Page Unknown Planers Page 2
Shown without attribution as to its maker, this robust, hand-operated bench-mount planing was featured in the 1913 catalogue of Richard Melhuish, 'Retail, Wholesale and Export Tool, Machine and Hardware Merchants' of 50, 51 & 54 Fetter Lane, Holburn Circus and 143, Holburn, London EC.
While there is no hint of a maker on the planer, some parts are number stamped with small items such as the dovetail T-bolts and the table gib strip marked "3" and the cross-slide both "9" and "441" - the latter being, perhaps, the machine's serial number. In addition the letters "JJ" appear - could these be the initials of the fitter who assembled the planer?
Threaded fasteners are all metric, obviously indicating a continental origin, and the dimensions of most parts measure up, sensibly, in whole millimetres. Nut and bolt hexagons match early French rather than German standards and a number of fine threads correspond to the French Automotive Fine Standard - all clues that indicate the maker to have been based in France.
With a travel of 600 mm on its BV-edged ways, the table has a bolting surface of 200 mm x 500 mm and a usable clearance of around 150 mm under the cutting tool. Two wide longitudinal slots were provided in the table, these being of a dovetail form - as is the slot along the back face used to take the feed-trip dogs. Although the table has been drilled and tapped in several places (probably to take fixtures), it exhibits virtually no 'accidental' damage and, with scraping marks still visible on its ways, provides evidence that the machine has had little use. Fastened beneath the table is a long rack, engaged by a pinion on the end of a shaft whose wooden-tipped handle is adjustable for length.
Formed with 90-degree ways, the cross arm is fitted with 3 mm pitch 'wrong-handed' square thread that incorporates a simple, pawl-type indexing mechanism - though this appears to have been modified from that shown in the catalogue illustration. Happily, various redundant holes and bosses in the rear standard (upright casting) mean that the present owner should be able to return it to its original specification. Instead of a complex system of screws and bevel gears to elevate the cross arm, as found on so many planers of a similar size, this model uses a single, central screw to move the arm up and down simple, square-section ways.
Although the tool-slide is arranged to swivel for dovetail cuts, its degree scale is, inconveniently, marked only at positions 0, 15, 30 and 45.
Similar planing machines covered in the Archive include: T.Taylor, Milnes, Senior, Fomm, Selig Sonnenthal, Kennan, Hesketh Walker, Brittain, Kennan, Britannia - as well as examples by unknown makers.