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71702 "TODD HUGHES" <dedhorse@d...> 1999‑11‑29 Re:Top Irons
Don , that was very interesting......The 1767 add in the Philadelphia's
Penn. Chronicle was placed by S. Caruthers, one of Phila. earlist plane
makers, it in part read"Double iron planes of late construction far exceding
any tooth planes or uprights whatsoever for cross grained or curled
stuff"[taken from American planes].......sort of leaves no doubt who and
what for thease new planes were intended, cabnet makers using difficult
wood......I was interested also in seeing in your research that even the
high grade single planes were still cheaper then equal grade double iron
ones, which sort of shoots down the theory that it was cheaper to make
double iron planes because of the precsion fitting required of the single
iron ones ..........I  think many plane makers were forced by a competive
market to evolve with the times, if they didn't produce what the craftsmen
wanted somone else would, and that it was thease craftsmen that decided the
fate of the single iron, just as they would later with them chosing the
metal plane over the wooden ones ..........As always just my opinion, Todd


71704 Marvin Paisner <paisners@n...> 1999‑11‑29 Re:Top Irons
Todd, Don and Galoots;

Todd replies to Don McConnell's  post;

>....I was interested also in seeing in your research that even the
>high grade single planes were still cheaper then equal grade double iron
>ones,

I believe Don actually said  "at times, the highest grade single iron plane
costs more than the comparable common grade double iron plane."

So the variable still remains for the metalworkers, is the real art to all
this the difficulty in working the large heavy single iron to the highest
standard?

best,
Marvin Paisner
Kootenay Lake,  BC


71709 "TODD HUGHES" <dedhorse@d...> 1999‑11‑29 Re:Top Irons
> Marvin quoted me about Don's rearch on plane prices,...'
>
>
>
>  in seeing in your research that even the
> >high grade single planes were still cheaper then equal grade double iron
> >ones,
> .................Then Marvin went on to say......"
> I believe Don actually said  "at times, the highest grade single iron
plane
> costs more than the comparable common grade double iron plane."
> ...............................Yes you are right but I assumed since he
said the "Highest" grade single iron cost more then the"Common" grade double
iron, that in equal grade planes the double iron would be the more
expensive, I could be wrong, and may be Don can tell us..................
>Then Marvin said................ So the variable still remains for the
metalworkers, is the real art to all
> this the difficulty in working the large heavy single iron to the highest
> standard?
> ................................I can tell you as a 'Smith there is no
difficulty in working a thick iron over a thin iron, the thin iron would be
the harder of the two to make,[ due to the danger of warping during the
harding process, and being harder to weld the steel onto the thinner iron
stock], would be far more difficult and time consuming to make a cap iron
over a thick single iron.[you are basically making 2 irons, sloting one,
tapping the other, and making a screw, then get the lip right on the cap]To
make a very good thick single iron I would think shoulden't present any
difficulters to any 'Smith that had any experance at all in making edge
tools.......Todd
>
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>
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71716 Don McConnell <Don.McConnell@a...> 1999‑11‑29 Re:Top Irons
Greetings,

I want to thank Todd Hughes for responding with:

> ....The 1767 ad in the Philadelphia's Penn. Chronicle was placed
>by S. Caruthers, one of Phila. earliest plane makers, it in part
>read "Double iron planes of late construction far exceeding
>any tooth planes or uprights whatsoever for cross grained or
>curled stuff"

As Todd notes, this came from Pollaks _A Guide to the Makers of
American Wooden Planes_. Under the listing for Samuel Caruthers.
Since I didn't know who had placed the ad I hadn't known to look
there. Under my nose all the time. =:^0

Without getting into the specifics of the claim (at least for now),
this does address one question I'd had. Specifically, I had
wondered if a part of the acceptance of double iron planes was due
to their being actively promoted by planemakers. Seems we have the
beginnings of an answer to this.

The mention of "late construction" indicates to me that Caruthers
was promoting a fairly new product to his market. Stands in some
contrast to an ad placed not quite 20 years later (April 18, 1786)
by Thomas Napier in the _Pennsylvania Mercury_. In it he simply
lists the various bench planes: first single iron, then ditto,
double iron. No targeted promotion at all.

Also, I did want to clarify the issue of comparative costs a bit. I
don't believe there is any real dispute that double irons and double
iron planes cost more than comparable single irons or planes. A
quick survey of any of the relevant catalogues makes this strikingly
clear.

Now for a bit of a detour, which will segue, I think, to a
clarification I wanted to make.

I also wanted to thank Todd for pointing out in an earlier message
that the 1791 Christopher Gabriel inventory shows a higher cost for
the top iron than the comparable plane iron. I hadn't noticed that
before.

In that message, he also wrote of the Gabriel inventory:

> ... Except for the coopers irons it appears that all the irons
>sold by Gabriel were for chip breakers,and this was in 1791 ...

At first I was puzzled why Todd would say this, but then realized
that he'd probably based it on a note the Rees' made with regard to
the list (correct me if I'm wrong). The list begins with several
"Plane Irons" of various widths, about which the Rees' say:

     "This and the next twenty entries are plane irons. As with most
of the more numerous tools, these are counted in dozens. ... It is
not clear whether these are cut (i.e. slotted for attaching a cap
iron) or plain, but as the listing includes wide irons suitable for
try and jointer planes, it is probable that they were cut. Top (cap)
irons are listed separately below ..."

Most of the catalogues and price lists I've looked at list single
and cut irons at the same price (again, I can think of one excep-
tion). In which case, for inventory purposes (at least for
assessing monetary value), there would be no reason to separate
them out. The truth is, we don't know whether any or all of these
irons are cut (as the Rees' themselves acknowledge). Though some
surely were. So, why would they  conclude that *all* of them
probably were?

For what it's worth, if you compare the various quantities between
the Plane Irons at the beginning of the list and the comparable
width Top Irons following, there usually are more Plane Irons than
Top Irons. This may not mean anything, but certainly doesn't lend
any additional evidence toward concluding that *all* the irons
were cut.

In other words, I feel the Rees' are assuming a fact which isn't
in evidence. I'm not intending disrespect to the Rees' (their
contributions speak for themselves), rather, I bring this up because
I think the presumption behind such a conclusion demonstrates the
degree to which we've all been conditioned on this topic.

Which brings me to the point I was trying to make by comparing the
price/cost of a "premium" grade single iron bench plane with that of
a common grade double iron bench plane. I had already given one
example in the "Shoppin' at Shannon's" message some time back, but
I want to give one more in the hopes of making my intent clearer.

The 1910 Ohio Tool Co. catalogue lists their "regular beechwood"
Double Iron, Polished Start Smooth Plane at 90 cents. A few pages
later they list their Applewood (Finely made, with Polished Starts)
Single Iron Smooth plane at $1.30

My purpose in this comparison is not to get into a detailed analysis as to
why the Applewood plane cost so much more. I know I'm comparing
apples with oranges, so to speak. ;-) Rather, it's to point out that,
as late as 1910, some woodworkers were making a conscious decision
to purchase a single iron plane, though a less expensive double iron
plane was readily available. I think it's interesting to actually
consider why this would be the case.

Don McConnell
Knox County, Ohio


71734 "TODD HUGHES" <dedhorse@d...> 1999‑11‑30 Re:Top Irons
>Don wrote about the Gabriel inventory list....."
>
> For what it's worth, if you compare the various quantities between
> the Plane Irons at the beginning of the list and the comparable
> width Top Irons following, there usually are more Plane Irons than
> Top Irons. This may not mean anything, but certainly doesn't lend
> any additional evidence toward concluding that *all* the irons
> were cut.
> ..........................................When I read about the more plane
irons then cap irons being sold the first thing I thought of is how a iron
will eventually wear out and a wood worker will need to replace it with
another, but a cap iron is more or less a one time buy , so maybe this was
why more irons then caps were in stock, again just
speculation...................
>
>
>Then Don tells us...................."
>
> The 1910 Ohio Tool Co. catalogue lists their "regular beechwood"
> Double Iron, Polished Start Smooth Plane at 90 cents. A few pages
> later they list their Applewood (Finely made, with Polished Starts)
> Single Iron Smooth plane at $1.30.........
>is to point out that,
> as late as 1910, some woodworkers were making a conscious decision
> to purchase a single iron plane, though a less expensive double iron
> plane was readily available. I think it's interesting to actually
> consider why this would be the case.
>
>
> I do find it a little amazing that  a plane making firm was offering
single iron planes at this late date,would be interesting if any one out
there has ever seen one.I think it is probably more of a case that the plane
makers could offer a single iron plane very easly then a case for demand for
them.After all a single iron is just a double iron not completed,[cut for
slot], and then bedded in the plane.So it would'nt be a major undertaking by
the plane makers to offer this product.During this same time period other
companys made simular offers, the fire arms giants Colt and Winchester
coming to mind where they made all types of options, some being so rare
today as only being a handfull known.So who was buying single iron planes in
1910? I don't know only I bet there wasn't many of them, but remember almost
a century later there are still people that swear by them,[as this
conversation proves!], so maybe they were some back then too and the plane
companys were only to glad to accomadate them esp. as it involved no extra
cost............................Todd
>
> --
>
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71748 Don McConnell <Don.McConnell@a...> 1999‑11‑30 Re:Top Irons
Greetings:

In response to my saying:

>> For what it's worth, if you compare the various quantities between
>> the Plane Irons at the beginning of the list and the comparable
>> width Top Irons following, there usually are more Plane Irons than
>> Top Irons. This may not mean anything, but certainly doesn't lend
>> any additional evidence toward concluding that *all* the irons
>> were cut.

Todd Hughes wrote:

>>....When I read about the more plane irons then cap irons being
>sold the first thing I thought of is how a iron will eventually
>wear out and a wood worker will need to replace it with another,
>but a cap iron is more or less a one time buy , so maybe this was
>why more irons then caps were in stock, again just
>speculation...................

As I tried to take some pains to point out, I wasn't drawing any
conclusions from this "discrepancy." I was simply attempting to point out
that they didn't provide any evidence for the Rees' to conclude that *all*
of the irons were cut. In fact, I'll have to agree that irons would have
been replaced, over time, much more often than top irons.

Rather, my intent was to suggest that this conclusion seemed to be
indicative of a mindset we all carry around with us.  In that light, let's
consider the following.

A set of cabinetmakers tools was purchased for Benjamin Seaton, by his
father, on December 15. 1796 (five years after the 1791 Christopher Gabriel
Inventory). With that chest was found an inventory of the tools as they
were purchased from Christopher Gabriel.

Among the items inventoried (some not still present in the chest) were (in
this instance, the "Do" stands for ditto):

1 dble Compass 4/6. 1 Single Do 3/4
1 dble Jack 3/  . 1 single Do 2/1
1 Do Fore 3/6, 1 Do Try 4/6
1 Do Smoothing 2/6. 1 Single Do 2/1

The Book on _The Tool Chest of Benjamin Seaton_ was a group effort of the
Tool and Trades History Society and published in 1994. Jane Rees is the
member listed as primarily responsible for the material on the Benjamin
Seaton inventory. The Jane & Mark Rees publication on Christopher Gabriel
is copyrighted 1997. Interesting.

Don McConnell
Knox County, Ohio



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