Wooden Plane Makers

by | Oct 7, 2013 | 8 comments

This years European Woodworking Show (a couple of weeks back) was definitely the busiest one yet. Saturday in particular was heaving which was fantastic to see and great for all, but you can trust me to still have a moan because it meant I didn’t find much time to have a good neb around.

As ever we were inside one of the spectacular barns and our spot was surrounded by plane makers – we had Phil Edwards to one side and David Barron to the other. It was fantastic to hear that both were incredibly busy and that so many British made planes have been heading overseas to their customers. It’s encouraging to know that there’s such an appreciation and interest in these wooden planes yet what excited me even more than the beautiful tools was seeing the engagement from people trying them out. I saw people picking them up to admire the craftsmanship and then of course they had to give it a go and push them along the plank of wood. Now a days we see so many old wooden planes at car boot sales and the like that many of us are used to seeing these tools when then are very worn and out of shape. I think people delight in seeing the new planes because not only do they create nostalgia but they actually work! Hellsbells do they work!

Philly Planes

Selection of Philly Planes

Phil Edwards

We trusted Phil will a little wooden mallet for the show, we’re not sure if he’s ready for edge tools


David Barron cutting dovetails with his nifty little guide

Much of my plane collection is made up of wooden ones and if they’re for fine use then I can use that as an excuse to go new. Philly Planes make a full range of traditional hand planes from block planes to jointers and moulding planes. I’m a big fan of Phil’s work and use his planes nearly every day.

I’ve tried out David’s planes numerous times as well and they work flawlessly. He laminates them in a style much like Krenov but takes them to a perfection level of finish. I’ve yet to own one, though one day that’s got to change! Along with his planes David makes a nifty little device for dovetailing – I’ll be talking about that in a future post.

If you’re looking to get started with wooden planes then this post I wrote early this year may be of interest: Getting The Gist Of Wooden Planes

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About Richard Maguire

About Richard Maguire

As a professional hand tool woodworker, Richard found hand tools to be the far more efficient solution for a one man workshop. Richard runs 'The English Woodworker' as an online resource and video education for those looking for a fuss free approach to building fine furniture by hand. Learn More About Richard & The English Woodworker.


  1. Mark

    It was a good show, wasn’t it. Even my wife enjoyed being dragged around the barns (both days)! It was very nice to meet you both. I am one of those who spent some time at Phil Edwards stand, what a nice bloke and fantastic planes too. While I am impressed with both Phil and David Barrons planes, I probably won’t be buying any. This isn’t because of cost or aversion to wooden planes. It’s just that I’ve refurbished/modified so many old originals I would now rather make my own. It has an extra special feeling using a tool yuo actually made. That said, with the hassle I’m having with moulding planes a the moment I may weaken and order a few hollow and rounds from Phil. Nah…. too tight, too stubborn, basically too bloody minded. Like the toothless budgie, ‘I will suck seed’
    I purposely avoided trying any of them. Once I’d tried them….. you know what’s next! Ohhh no, I’m not that daft!
    As an aside, that Schwarz fellow is a nice chap too. Had a little chat with him and even got him to sign my copy of ATC. (I know, sad act that I am).
    Keep up the good work with the posts and videos. You really should take a look at some of them, Helen works wonders with the post production (considering what she has to work with 🙂 You look after that girl.
    Must go,I’m rambling.
    Regards, Mark.

    • Richard

      Good to hear you’ve been having a go at making your own planes. I would certainly agree that using tools you’ve made yourself is very satisfying. Let us know how you get on with those moulding planes – I’d love to see the results.

      • Y

        Ever hear of A Earl, St Louis MO. I have a wooden plane 24” With A Earl St Louis MO?

  2. Mac

    I very much like the comment you made on old and new planes in your post. And this is why:

    I have to make some flooring and some paneling somewhere soon. I do have an old plane from my great grandfather that makes the groove, but the one for the tongue is missing, I have never seen it. So…. Philly to the rescue. I send my old plane over to Phil and he made a matching tongue plane for me. Not only do the two planed parts fit perfectly well together but also I have a “set” now. And though there is a 100 year or so difference, Phil managed to make an exact copy of the original “Nooitgedacht”. Only thing I have to do is to use it and get patina on it.

    So..old being a reason for new 🙂


    • Richard

      ‘Philly to the rescue’… he’s a great man to know if you’re having a plane dilema! There’s a lovely feel to your story in creating a new partner to put your old plane back to action – I hope they get planty of use.

  3. TC

    It was the first time i’d been to the show and could only do the last 3 hours on the Saturday as i’d been on a night shift on Fri. The 3 hours just about gave me time to nip round and see everything but i regret not having time to go back and ask more questions and look at more things in depth. Often there were a queue of people looking for info so i didn’t wait, great for the exhibitors though! The wooden tools looked great and i would have loved to have had a go with one so i’m counting on the show at least being as good, next year. It was nice to meet you and a shame i couldn’t steal the cash to buy some holdfasts and look at your benches a bit more in depth. Hey ho!
    I did purchase some wooden rebate planes online but they do need cleaning up and work to straighten them up but i’m amazed at how such a simply made tool can do such a good job, a block of wood with a blade and a wedge. I’ve noticed as well that these older tools blades hold a better edge than many modern ones even though they look like rusty rubbish which is probably why they end up in car boot sales. More power to these simple devices!

  4. Andre

    I find wooden plane makers a bit on the stiff side in execution usually.
    Makers of wooden planes on the contrary are far more flexible 🙂

  5. Albert Hector Marfe

    I have an antique wood plane by H. Wilson, Garret Rd., Manchester.. Although this name appears in British Planemakers from 1700 by W L Goodman, this address is not cited. I would very much like to know when he was working at this address


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