Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Latest eBay Find

The Good:

18th Century Ovolo Moulder
I decided to bid a few quid on British eBay, to see if I could get a nice example of an 18th century moulding plane, for use as something to look at while I make my own.  I found this nice example for a low price.  18th century planes seem to go for a lot on US eBay, no matter what kind of shape they are in.

This plane has gorgeous color.  My guess is someone put a coat of wax on it in the not-too-distant past, but the wax actually gives the plane a nice glow.  And it is clean.  Not a speck of dust on it, so I know it didn't come out of someone's user kit.

The arises on the bed are crisp and clean.  This plane was not ragged out.  Also, the blade very well could have last been sharpened when this plane was new.  I'll have to take a closer look at this blade to see the tool marks on it.

The little details are what I needed to see for real.  I have never seen an 18th century plane in real life before, so I was excited to get this one.

The Bad:

The wedge on this plane is a replacement.  Not only is it probably a hundred years or so too new, but it is from a plane that had a skewed blade.  Strangely enough, it cants in the mortise because it is too narrow, but holds the blade.  This in itself isn't the end of the world, as I could make a replacement and fit it properly.  That might be good practice.

Because the wedge is for a skewed plane, it has apparently put stress on the blind side of the mortise, and a small crack has developed.

The Ugly:

I think I know why the sole and the blade look brand new.

My guess is that there is no point trying to get this thing to cut.  It is so far out of whack, that I hold little hope for it as a user.


I am not too overly upset, as I didn't buy this plane specifically to use, but to inspect.  There are a couple things I really like about this plane, such as the treatment to the wide edge below the grip (I forget the name of this part at the moment).

I could put it back up on eBay and sell it, but I am thinking of a better use for this plane.  After I am done with my inspection (and hopefully a hollow and round pair), I am thinking of passing this plane on to someone else who would like to do the same, with the caveat that they pass it along to someone else when they are done.  This old dog may have a way to benefit the world other than being nailed to a wall somewhere.

Who's in?


  1. I think that plane is beyond help. That twist is humongous. I wonder how much plane body would be left after removing it?

    1. Perhaps enough for a #2.

      I thought after I opened the package that it was a potato chip.

  2. Just curious: Is it neatly quarter sawn? Or does the grain have a twist from front to back? Or even, does the wood have a huge knot in it somehwere? The 18th century planes from the famous Seaton cheast are also second class, with knots and splits and not all being quarter sawn.

    1. It looks beautifully quartersawn to me. Although the grain doesn't go downhill from toe to heel, It goes in a gentle arc, with the highest part being the middle.

      My guess is this is a user made tool made from a piece of incorrectly seasoned lumber. It is amazing it has lasted this long without being thrown in the woodstove.

  3. Good post Brian. I always enjoy reading and looking at photos of old tools (both hand and power types).

  4. I guess flea markets are the best place to hunt for this kind of planes...

    1. Probably not a bad idea. They will be available to inspect closely in person before you fork out any money.

      The bad part is English planes this old don't pop up too often at the flea markets I go to in Germany.