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A Rapier Hand Plane Overview

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Forum topic by poopiekat posted 07-01-2014 11:06 PM 1138 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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poopiekat

3736 posts in 2487 days


07-01-2014 11:06 PM

Topic tags/keywords: rapier planes gateshead british

Rapier Handplanes...What’s up with that? In North America, they are around, for sure, but there is not a whole body of research on them, as far as I know.

Produced in Gateshead, England by the Anglo-Scottish Corporation, these planes are an interesting alternative to the Stanleys.

I’m guessing they are all postwar, I dunno, I’ve never seen a really early example, if they exist at all. I suspect that with billions poured into postwar Europe for reconstruction, is when these factories started popping up, England and West Germany mostly. Most of mine, pictured above, have that plastic handle, which I really have no objection to. It might get uncomfortable in your hand if you’ve worked up a sweat…but they do stay tight to the sole.
My planes, pictured above: three #400’s, one with the earlier ‘slab’ lever cap. Kinda resembles a Miller’s Falls cap. A #450, similar to a Stanley 4 1/2 dimensions. And, a #500, again comparable in size to a Stanley.

Other chacteristics: Lateral adjustment lever is bent into an “L” when viewed from behind. Frogs on all of mine have a fore/aft screw adjustment. And… that unmistakable Chevrolet engine-block red/orange from the ‘60’s!

I only know of the #300 thru #700 series, plus an #043 dado plane. There must be other planes or other tools produced by this maker!!

Any Rapier questions, answers, links, any info you have, please post it here!

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!


15 replies so far

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racerglen

2400 posts in 1533 days


#1 posted 07-01-2014 11:15 PM

P.K, I’ve got a couple Rapier blades but never seen a whole plane ?
You may be starting a whole new curator’s string !

-- Glen, Vernon B.C. Canada

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poopiekat

3736 posts in 2487 days


#2 posted 07-01-2014 11:19 PM

Hey, Glen, that Rapier cutter…is it for a #4 size?
Yes, I’m adding a new wing to my muze… gonna call it the Guggenheim. I’ve got a weird assortment of British postwar planes… Ever hear of a ’Acorn’ brand? How ‘bout a ’4-Most’? I can’t resist ‘em.
It was DonW who said he’d never seen one… So I started this thread.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

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upchuck

262 posts in 417 days


#3 posted 07-02-2014 12:07 AM

I, too, have never held or seen a Rapier plane. I have heard that the bas/sole casting was beefier than most planes. I’d love to see that #450 broken down and the details photographed.

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poopiekat

3736 posts in 2487 days


#4 posted 07-02-2014 01:02 AM

@upchuck: I will tear down the #450 in the days ahead, but I may post it in Don’s website. I’ll let you know when it’s done. Thanks for the interest!!

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

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poopiekat

3736 posts in 2487 days


#5 posted 07-02-2014 02:02 PM

Okay, here’s some views of the Rapier #450 as promised:


Views of the bed. Not much evidence of painstaking machining where the frog sits.

Some exploded parts. Hopefully, the images stamped on the parts will show in these views. Seems like Rapier was obsessed with having their name stamped on every single part. I checked the tensioner screw on the lever cap, and by US standards, it’s 26 threads per inch. That’s an oddball! It’s undoubtedly metric, which provides a clue as to whether or not Stanley or other American plane producer was involved in the development of Rapier planes. I’m thinking.. probably they weren’t.

Here’s some frog details. I can’t help but notice some odd inconsistencies here, like how they all have the extra process of a screw-adjustable frog setting…and a really cheezy 2-piece stamped steel yoke for the cutter height. To me this all screams of rushed production before all the glitches were ironed out, rather than, say, the road Stanley took of deliberate year to year improvements.
Lacking a good foundation of company history, we can fill in the missing details with our own hypothetical conclusions until somebody comes forth with some solid info.

Anybody recognize any pieces or castings that resemble that of other manufacturers? We gotta know!

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

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upchuck

262 posts in 417 days


#6 posted 07-02-2014 03:30 PM

Thank you poopiekat-
Yes, I too am struck by the “odd inconsistencies”. The main one that caught my eye was the flat frog bed (a feature I really like) in contrast with the total lack of work where the frog and bed mate. They didn’t even remove the paint!
I asked for the #450 because I like the #4 1/2 size. But I also noticed that it seemed of a different era (type?) then the other Rapiers shown in your first photo of your collection. The differences that first caught my eye were the lever cap (cam vs. screw) and knob shape (Maybe just the difference between shaped wood and plastic). How about the beefier main sole casting compared to other makers? True or about the same?

Thank you for going to the trouble of sharing your collections and thoughts. To me you have the reputation of collecting a wide and varied assortment of planes by lesser known makers. I for one hope that you show us more of the uncommon makers that you have. I am interested in what you have to share.
chuck

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poopiekat

3736 posts in 2487 days


#7 posted 07-02-2014 04:27 PM

Thanks for the kind words, upchuck!
This Rapier #450 is indeed earlier, IMO, based on the wood handles and primitive-looking tension lever cap. The #400 with the MF-style lever cap is probably an intermediate design, chronologically.
Once this fever for buying handplanes winds down, and I have no idea when that is, I want to have everything cataloged. Every time I think about starting it, I end up coming home with an armload of new acquisitions, and I’ve got everything listed, but I discovered I have three different lists, written on 3 different graph pads! And then… do I want to group them by brand, or by size?
I suppose I’d have to just create one enormous Excel spread sheet. But then, I’d want to ID every plane with a numeric sticker. (Do they still make ‘Dymo Labelmakers?)
Anyhoo… I do want to get started on a massive pictorial, focusing on British and Australian planes, there were so many different small-time flash-in-the-pan makers and I got many of them, as well as a pretty good representation of Pope Falcon planes too. Not sure which medium will be best for this. In due time!

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

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bandit571

7518 posts in 1436 days


#8 posted 07-02-2014 04:40 PM

Big undertaking…..catalog ALL the different maker’s planes sold at Sears….

Dunlaps

Fultons

Companion

Craftsman Blue logo

Craftsman Red Logos

SEARS Red Lever cap

And those with the grooved sides, and not the soles.

Had a Shipleigh’s plane, made by PEXTO for awhile…..

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

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bandit571

7518 posts in 1436 days


#9 posted 07-02-2014 04:42 PM

I have two Blue logo Craftsman planes…1 by Sargent ( #408) and one by Millers Falls No. 5C BB.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

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BigYin

246 posts in 1169 days


#10 posted 07-02-2014 05:02 PM

Rapier planes, plough planes and spokeshaves are on British Ebay.

-- ... Never Apologise For Being Right ...

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Don W

15572 posts in 1320 days


#11 posted 07-02-2014 05:08 PM

the grooved sided craftsman were made by Sargent.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

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sikrap

1065 posts in 2111 days


#12 posted 07-02-2014 07:14 PM

I have a Rapier little plough and I really like it. Its comparable to the Record 043

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

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poopiekat

3736 posts in 2487 days


#13 posted 07-05-2014 02:11 PM

Thanks for all the great replies!
I’ll be keeping my eyes open for more Rapier info in the days ahead.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

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poopiekat

3736 posts in 2487 days


#14 posted 07-05-2014 05:09 PM

Ooopsie! Found this Rapier block plane hiding among the other blocks. It’s a #11, and I’m assuming it is comparable to other 110’s out there. Odd how they added zeroes to the larger plane sizes, and knocked off the zero on this block, when compared to the Stanley numbering system. This is a good plane, and the knob is a nice little extra, since a lot of 110’s don’t have a knob, just a depressed finger pad. This has the parallel 2-pedestal support for the cutter. There’s a trace of a decal on the cap, too.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

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poopiekat

3736 posts in 2487 days


#15 posted 07-05-2014 05:16 PM

Big Yin: British eBayers have to realize that if they want to expand their market to the North American buyers, they have to include us in their preferences, or we don’t see their planes in our filtered listing results. I’ve bought lots of planes and chisels from British sources who include North America in their target groups.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

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