Giant wooden hand plane at Cracker Barrel.

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Forum topic by David posted 03-04-2012 01:05 AM 2579 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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172 posts in 2840 days

03-04-2012 01:05 AM

Saw this giant wooden hand plane at Cracker Barrel tonight at dinner, I wanted to take it with me. The thing must have been about 4 feet long. The cutter looked like it was almost 3 inches wide. Also noted the handle was offset left of center, interesting. Anyone know a little history on these kind of planes?

-- “Don’t tell me what can’t be done, tell me what you want done then shut up and get out of my way and let me do it!”

5 replies so far

View ITnerd's profile


263 posts in 2597 days

#1 posted 03-04-2012 01:58 AM

It appears to be a long jointer plane, if i had to guess a tank builders or coopers jointer. Sandusky Tool Company (and alot of others) sold planes that ranged from 3 to 6 feet long in the late 1800s to early 1900s for coopers. Most were beech, although some premium versions were offerred in applewood. The Sandusky cutters are shown to be 2 1/2 -2 3/4 for these monsters. Traditionally, they were clamped in a bench or low to the ground, upside down and angled forward.

The cooper would pass single staves for buckets or barrels over it, until it had achieved just the right taper. Something thats going to take a little bit of firewood before you get the hang of. This is also why these were sold un-handled.

The 1925 Sandusky catalog also lists a series of ‘Tank builders jointers’ – these ranged from 22-40 inches, with beefy 3 inch wide cutters. These planes were sold with handles, because apparently when you ‘built tanks’ you brought the plane to the work? Which brings me to your next point; back then handled planes were often made ‘handed’; this appears to be offset left to make it easier for a right-hander to track straight. When the plane is that long, the is no ‘getting behind it’, you’re alongside for the ride like a sidecar. :)

Hope this helps, nice catch. Next time bring a screwdriver and a smoke grenade – its yours.

-- Chris @ Atlanta - JGM - Occam's razor tells us that when you hear hoofs, think horses not zebras.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3072 days

#2 posted 03-04-2012 02:32 AM

I own a similar plane that is labeled the “Ohio Tool Company”. Based on my research, my plane was probably built around the time of the Civil War and was, most likely, built by prisoners. The Ohio Tool Company formed agreements with prisons to “lease” prisoners to work in their plants, keeping the labor costs down.

My plane is about 3’ long and is stockier. The body measures about 4” x 4” and the blade is about 3” wide.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View David's profile


172 posts in 2840 days

#3 posted 03-04-2012 03:10 AM

Chris thanks for the great info. I was thinking boat builder when I saw it but a tank does make more sense. I figured it was for a right handed person, too bad I’m a lefty. I still may go back there and make them an offer. Otherwise I will have to “borrow” some smoke grenades from work, stage a kitchen fire, and have the wife keep the motor running, lol.

-- “Don’t tell me what can’t be done, tell me what you want done then shut up and get out of my way and let me do it!”

View Loren's profile


10390 posts in 3646 days

#4 posted 03-04-2012 03:48 AM

Likely a coopering plane. Used inverted usually. The sole
of the plane was used as a flat reference surface for creating
the slight tapers and exact bevels accurate coopering requires.

View Martyroc's profile


2712 posts in 2304 days

#5 posted 03-04-2012 04:22 AM

For boat building?Maybe it’s Noah’s, sorry couldn’t resist :-)

-- Martin ....always count the number of fingers you have before, and after using the saw.

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