Norris A5 smoother - I just have to share my joy.

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Blog entry by mafe posted 06-27-2012 04:16 PM 13158 reads 0 times favorited 37 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Norris A5 smoother
I just have to share my joy.

This is the fellow it is all about.

Norris A5 smoother.
Infill plane beech – post war model.

54 mm blade width 2 1/8”.
(No 4 Stanley = 2” – 50 mm. / No 4,5 Stanley = 2 3/8” – 60 mm.).

Weight: 1.8 kilo – 4 lbs.
(No 4 Stanley = 3 3/4 lbs. / No 4,5 Stanley = 4 3/4 lbs.).
This was a surprise since I heard so many people argue that the infills were better since they are much heavier than the Stanley’s…

I gave myself this plane as a ‘leaving the old workshop gift’.
Got it at a fair price I think, 150 British pound / 230 US dollar.
(I have been waiting a long time to find a plane of this quality at this price so I am happy).

The wood is ‘infilled’ into the body of metal.
As you can see the plane iron rest on a bed that are also the handle, inside this is the adjuster.
This gives a really strong construction, together with the front handle that is also adding mass and stability.

It’s a legend of British plane making, the famous Norris Company and the patented adjuster for lateral and vertical movements 1913 that made it possible to adjust the plane iron up and down with a screw and not a hammer.
My A5 is a post war user plane, it has been restored and I might work some more on this since I bought it to be a user and not a collection item.
(The later Norris planes can be bought at reasonable prizes).

The adjuster is grabbing the cap iron screw, and the blade moves like this.

A close up of the adjuster.

And a wonderful closed mouth in mint condition.

So no more excuses, I need to set up a place for sharpening.
I have not had a place since the move.
First the Japanese stones in water so they can suck as I get organized.

After a little setup, sharpening begins and what a pleasure it is to see the iron get to life.

The first shaves gives me the goose bumps.
To set up the plane is really easy, in fact more easily than a Stanley I feel.

The shaves are crisp and wonderful.

Now I back up the blade a little and look how the shaves change.

Rough to smooth.

Look how this wonderful old smoother brings life to this wonderful piece of Hungarian locust tree / Robinia.

That is why it is called a smoother, no need for more finish.
Look how it brought life out to the surface – yabadabadoooo.

So what can I say to this…
I have no doubt that this will be the plane I reach for when I need to make a superb finish, it brings me more than just a beautiful surface, it brings me joy, joy from the way it seems to stay on the wood even the weight is not much more than a Stanley.
The extremely thick iron that cuts with no effort but also its history and its beauty that made me wish for it in the first place.

Yes I should have bought it years back when I started, some say you got to deserve a good tool, I say I don’t care. This plane deserves me, and I will make my outmost effort to use it the best I can.

I am one happy user of a Norris A5.

The Norris story:
Compare Stanley’s and Norris:
Tune and setup:
If you win the lottery:

Best thoughts,


-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

37 comments so far

View SPalm's profile


5320 posts in 3880 days

#1 posted 06-27-2012 04:45 PM

Mads, your enthusiasm just bubbles through your writing.
I am so happy for you.

And what a fine looking tool. The age and patina show a lot of history. Nice.
It now has a wonderful new owner that will cherish it.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

20482 posts in 3103 days

#2 posted 06-27-2012 04:48 PM

Mads, that is such a sweet little plane. I can see it is another of your enjoyable hand tools!............Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View madts's profile


1862 posts in 2338 days

#3 posted 06-27-2012 04:51 PM


-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3332 days

#4 posted 06-27-2012 04:52 PM

Very happy for you Mads, congratulations on a great find. I have seen replicas of this plane selling for over $5,000. It couldn’t have landed in better hands. I know you will treat it with respect and even more importantly use it. I hate the idea of planes or other woodworking tools just sitting in collections, even though I realize that preserving them is important too. I can feel your joy, have fun!!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View meikou's profile


115 posts in 3633 days

#5 posted 06-27-2012 04:58 PM

Lovely plane and it couldn’t have found a better bloke to take care of it. I hope your kannas don’t get upset by the newcomer ;)

View Bricofleur's profile


1442 posts in 3191 days

#6 posted 06-27-2012 04:58 PM

Hi Mads. It’s so nice that you like sharing your tools as well as sharing how well they work and how they’re made and what you can make with them. It’s very appreciated. Before reading your lines I never heard of a Norris A5 smoother!

Thanks again for sharing.



-- Learn from yesterday, work today and enjoy success tomorrow. --

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15351 posts in 2616 days

#7 posted 06-27-2012 05:12 PM



Simply outstanding, Mads! Congrats on owning such a fine plane. You’re right – it deserves you!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 2652 days

#8 posted 06-27-2012 05:15 PM

There is not a bad angle to take a picture of that plane from. It’s gorgeous and a workhorse.

You deserve it. Enjoy.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View Don W's profile

Don W

18715 posts in 2565 days

#9 posted 06-27-2012 05:20 PM

Mads, thanks for sharing this. I really like the Norris planes, I need to own one myself. And you DO deserve it. I am sure it will serve you well.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3646 days

#10 posted 06-27-2012 05:31 PM

what a beauty!

enjoy the zen of using it

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 2483 days

#11 posted 06-27-2012 05:43 PM

I’d be gloating if I had one too.

-- Brian Timmons -

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3284 days

#12 posted 06-27-2012 06:10 PM

If you are trying to make me jealous—-it worked!

I would love to get one of those.

Thanks for sharing, I know you will use it well.


View nobuckle's profile


1120 posts in 2759 days

#13 posted 06-27-2012 06:29 PM

What a beautiful tool. It looks like it would be a dream to use.

Take care.

-- Doug - Make an effort to live by the slogan "We try harder"

View Triumph1's profile


890 posts in 3077 days

#14 posted 06-27-2012 06:58 PM

That is a thing of beauty! What an excellent find…seriously jealous.

-- Jeff , Wisconsin Please...can I stay in the basement a little longer, please!

View Brit's profile


7376 posts in 2841 days

#15 posted 06-27-2012 07:05 PM

What a gorgeous plane! I’d say you deserve it Mads.

-- - Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

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