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JOEL Joel's Blog

Norris Plane Collecting.(Part Whatever)

04/26/2011 A look at three rare early Norris planes

Norris Plane Collecting.(Part Whatever) 4It seems that T. Norris and Son, the great plane maker, really only started making infill planes in the 1880's or so. It's a hard date to pin down and there is an excellent chance that newer research that I don't know about means I'm wrong. But certainly the thing that make Norris a "Norris," that is the Rolls Royce of planes, was the introduction of their adjuster in 1913. Not only does the adjuster make them the leader in infills, the quality of their planes take a real shot up.
However while Norris is currently famous for the quality if their infills they made (or at least branded) other stuff, that wasn't so high end. Previously I did an entry on a Norris saw. Here is a look at several lower end tools. First (from the left) an early wooden hollow plane with the Norris stamp. It's nothing special - except that it has the Norris mark on it. In the center is one of the rarer Norris plane models, a 114. Norris Plane Collecting.(Part Whatever) 5This particular plane has been heavily worked on and repaired, the front bun is a terrible design and guaranteed to break off and in fact this plane has a metal top cap that is an attempt at a repair. The model 14 was one of the lower end Norris models with a cast base. This 114 is even lower end and is just about a low end and rough made as you can imagine. We know it's not user made because of the way the model markings are scratched into the lever cap and a few others exist. But it either pre-dates any of the known catalogs, or it was an unsuccessful attempt at a really, really inexpensive design.
Norris Plane Collecting.(Part Whatever) 6Finally we have a wooden Norris smoother from the early 20th century. It's an OK plane, but nothing special (with replaced iron). Whether or not Norris actually made the plane or just bought it in and stamped their logo on it I do not know. A wooden smoother might not have been popular or different enough to warrant putting it in a printed catalog but it would have been a good item to stock for the many people who wanted a fancy plane but decided at the end of it all that a regular wooden plane would do fine.

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