Item WP21 - Scottish Barrel Plane.
beech wood barrel plane is typical of the genre, which appears to be endemic to
the North Sea fishing villages in Scotland. Here a lot of fishing was
historically done for herring, mackerel, and such, which were usually split and
salted down in barrels shortly after catch. A prodigious number of wooden
barrels were needed for this largely 19th century enterprise, and
barrel planes were commonly made local to this activity. The planes are
constructed similarly to ordinary cooper’s head shaves, but typically have side
handles screwed and attached to the body with sliding dovetails. The most
unique feature is the presence of a concave sole (front to back) and a slight
concave blade edge. My understanding is that the planes were used to plane the
outer sides of the casks after assembly by passing the plane transversely across
the staves to smooth the outer surface. Alternatively the cask might be rotated
by machine while the plane was held stationary to affect the smoothing. This
example has a body, side handles, and wedge all made of beech. The body is 6
inches long and 2 ½ inches high at toe and heel, and is 3 ½ inches wide. The
side handles give the plane a total wingspan of 11 ¼ inches. The Robt. Sorby
blade is long and clean and is 2 ½ inches wide. This plane is fairly clean but
has seen enough use to show wear at the bottom of the right side at the sole,
and a pronounced depression in the wood on the left side top, behind the toe.
This surely is due to wear by the user’s thumb, with a smaller wear mark also
seen on the right side. The wedge has some chipping to sides of a mortise
running across its face, probably for mounting in some sort of machine. The
plane is marked (twice on the toe, and once on the top and just behind the toe
with “J. Shand / Torry / Aberdeen” in a circle, with “Torry” in the center. My
research suggests that in the 19th century Torry was a fishing
village just outside Aberdeen. “J. Shand” is more equivocal. It may be the
name of a plane maker who is not listed in Goodman, or a place name in Torry.
This is an interesting and unusual plane—good for a collection or for
conversation. Of course if you casks to smooth, it could be useful. Good+
Price - $75.00
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