Taths logoTools and Trades History Society

Handrail Planes

 

Last year I was lucky to find this set of 5 ogee handrail planes by R.NELSON with, I think, his 1817-1822 mark.

IMG 20200325 150800967 HDR 1 1024x768 Copy

The pair of straight ogees are 6 5/8th x 2 3/4 inch,compassed ogees are 5 3/8th x 2 3/4 inch all with moveable fence and single irons by PARTRIDGE. Lastly a radiused and compassed top capping plane 6 x 2 1/2 inch with a BUTCHER iron and PARTRIDGE cap. All have very fine mouths.

IMG 20200325 160517161 HDR 1 1024x768 Copy
British Planemakers 4 refers to the capping plane "In most instances the tradesman must have used the general tools available for the top surface as these planes are almost unknown". I've been involved with with the installation of new and repair of old geometrical staircases and continuous handrails for a while now. The making of new handrail components was by others or their CNC machines, but all repair work and some new needed "cleaning up" especially around joints after fitting.

IMG 20200325 162245578 HDR 1 1024x768 Copy
I use hollows and rounds on the straight sections, and as suggested by BPM4 a variety of spokeshaves, abrasive paper and most effectively home made scrapers (see example made from an old plane iron) on radiused work. A recent repair gave me an opportunity to try out the capping plane which was a close match and with a near set iron made the job easy. Unfortunately the ogee sections weren't a good enough match to try out the other planes.
I'm surprised that these capping planes are so uncommon as I would have thought them to have been indispensible in a specialist workshop. Perhaps they became separated from their brothers for use on non handrail work,borrowed and never returned.

IMG 20200704 144659526 HDR 768x1024


It's very difficult to find handrail specialists prepared to make small pieces for repair and restoration work,and my efforts to understand the process of setting out and making curved parts, aided by old books and some excellent American videos, has been limited by time. One of these books,"The Carpenter, Joiner and Handrailer" by Robert Riddell has the attached frontispiece showing work in a specialist shop entitled "Dignity of Mechanic Art". I can't spot any special planes,and barely a shaving on the floor but dignified and artistic it is.

 

 Comment on Facebook

Add comment


Security code
Refresh

 If you would like to make a donation to TATHS click on the donate button   DONATE   Thank you.