Roman woodplane 3 re-created

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Project by YorkshireStewart posted 02-13-2010 12:07 AM 2771 views 8 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

In 1997, at De Meern near Utrecht in The Netherlands, a sunken Roman barge was excavated. It’s believed to date from the second century AD. The barge held a large variety of objects including four woodworking planes. They were all reasonably similar in style and my reconstruction is based on the one that was most complete. Overall dimensions are 340mm x 55mm wide x 45mm high, the pitch is 42 deg. and it’s made of ash. It’s amazing to think we’re using just about the same style that was around just after the time of Jesus Christ.

The replica will join the two previous ones (see my other projects) in a private museum in West Yorkshire.

-- Res severa verum gaudium - True pleasure is a serious business.

15 comments so far

View jm82435's profile


1283 posts in 2782 days

#1 posted 02-13-2010 12:17 AM

Very cool, Interesting design. I have never seen anything like it. that is a big hunk of steel, I guess it will be a while before one would wear that out…

-- A thing of beauty is a joy forever...

View Grumpy's profile


20617 posts in 2891 days

#2 posted 02-13-2010 12:29 AM

Nice one Stew. Looks like a very practical design from way back then.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View CedarFreakCarl's profile


594 posts in 3093 days

#3 posted 02-13-2010 12:45 AM

That’s one beautiful creation YS! I’m sure you’d be the envy of every Roman.

-- Carl Rast, Pelion, SC

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10850 posts in 2155 days

#4 posted 02-13-2010 01:16 AM

great plane you have made
how does it work
as a jointer or has you
made it for ruogh work


View Jeison's profile


947 posts in 2148 days

#5 posted 02-13-2010 01:31 AM

that sir, is badassery in action

-- - Jei, Rockford IL - When in doubt, spray it with WD-40 and wrap it with duct tape. The details will attend to themselves.

View a1Jim's profile


113725 posts in 2617 days

#6 posted 02-13-2010 01:34 AM

Very nice Stew an interesting Idea recreating historic planes.

-- Custom furniture

View Karson's profile


34987 posts in 3440 days

#7 posted 02-13-2010 01:45 AM

Stewart, a great looking plane. Nice reconstruction.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View zwwizard's profile


200 posts in 2749 days

#8 posted 02-13-2010 02:42 AM

Outstanding plane, sir. If you have time and if you haven’t, drop over to—
They would like to see them. And by the looks of your shop, you will fit right in.

-- Richard

View F Dudak's profile

F Dudak

342 posts in 2850 days

#9 posted 02-13-2010 03:00 PM

Great plane Stew! Is that a push me pull you!?

-- Fred.... Poconos, PA ---- Chairwright in the making ----

View stefang's profile


14706 posts in 2374 days

#10 posted 02-13-2010 10:10 PM

A wonderful reproduction Stewart. The handles make me think it might have been designed for two man use. One pulling during the planing action and the other pulling to retrieve it to the starting position. The advantage would be that you could plane very wide or long pieces while maintaining good downward pressure through the entire stroke. Just a thought.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10850 posts in 2155 days

#11 posted 02-13-2010 10:37 PM

FJDIII and mike It is used nearly as a normal jackplane/jointer you just put your hands
on both handholds an use it nearly sideways a while back chris swartz had a blog on it i think


View norwood's profile


303 posts in 2110 days

#12 posted 02-14-2010 07:36 AM

cool nice plane

-- of all the things Ive lost in life i miss my mind the most

View YorkshireStewart's profile


1127 posts in 2941 days

#13 posted 02-15-2010 09:39 PM

Thanks to all for your comments.

jm82435 – ”That is a big chunk of steel” I can imagine the owner came out with a few Roman curses when he saw the barge going down, especially if he’d just fitted a new iron!

Dennisgrosen – I doubt the plane will get a lot of use in the museum, although I did give it a good blast. With no cap iron, and quite a wide throat opening, it’s ok for roughing.

Jei’son – badassery – that’s a word we rarely hear in Yorkshire!

zwwizard – Thanks for that link; I wasn’t aware of it.

FJDIII & Stefang it’s as Dennis replied, just a one man operation. This link should take you to the Christopher Schwarz article. It looks like I did this the hard way – from one chunk of wood. The kit that Chris used is a glued up body with pre-cut ‘ramps’.

-- Res severa verum gaudium - True pleasure is a serious business.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10850 posts in 2155 days

#14 posted 02-15-2010 10:13 PM

still is a great plane

View bigike's profile


4042 posts in 2328 days

#15 posted 04-08-2010 01:21 AM

very neat looken plane!

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

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