|Project by YorkshireStewart||posted 06-08-2008 03:02 PM||8518 views||12 times favorited||36 comments|
The ash of Pompeii (AD 79) preserved the earliest planes ever discovered but the earliest physical evidence appears on silver coins from nearly 100 years BC, although, naturally, the details are scant. It is possible to see from the series of coins that different styles of plane already existed, so, clearly, much development had already taken place 2100 years ago.
Having said that, there is no evidence that the ancient Egyptians had developed the wood plane. All the evidence shows that wood was smoothed by adze, followed by rubbing down with stones and sand.
It is possible that the Greeks in the fifth to the second centuries B.C. had the plane to work their finely panelled doors. None has ever been found however.
A number of planes survive from Roman times. Some are very simple, being entirely wood with the iron wedged against a pin. Evidence suggests that most Roman planes were of this type. Others, like the Goodmanham Plane, comprise a wooden body riveted to an iron sole-plate. Despite the complexity in making a plane this way, the Roman makers had realised how much the iron sole extended the life of a plane.
Others incorporated iron cheeks to strengthen the throat sides. Those from Pompeii are of a similar width as this one (The Goodmanham Plane) at 55mm, but only 8” / 200mm long as against 13” / 330mm.
The iron of the Goodmanham Plane is 1 5/16” / 35mm wide falling nicely in the middle of the range of the other planes that have been found complete with irons (27mm to 40mm). The iron is set at an angle of 65° +/- 1°whereas the iron of a modern general duty plane will be set at 45 degrees (known as Common Pitch). The rake of all other excavated Roman planes ranges from 50° to 66°. An angle as great as 65° would be most suited to harder woods.
History lesson over!
The Goodmanham Plane was fairly recently found near the village of that name in East Yorkshire, and is now in a museum in Beverley.
This is my attempt at re-creating that plane which is from about the second to fourth century AD. The original was made of ivory and iron.
My construction method is outlined here on my blog.
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