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Plane of the Week with Ryan Sparreboom

  Preston Patented 2500P Router Plane 1 of 3  

The innovations and inventions of the Edward Preston and Sons Company of Birmingham, England
are some of the most remarkable in the history
of tool making.


Edward Preston began as a plane maker reportedly in 1825 but was first listed in a Birmingham directory in 1833. Over the next 100 years, Preston and his following generations built an impressive legacy of tool making.

By the end of the 19th century, Preston was a leader in innovation in tool making. With no less than 26 individual patents and 37 registered designs, Edward Preston was one of the most enterprising toolmakers and designers in Europe at that time.

The No. 2500P “Preston Patent Adjustable Iron Grooving or Depthing Router Plane” as it was advertised, was designed under Patent No. 17792 in 1910. As such, it did not make it into the famous 1909 Preston Catalogue No. 18 (reprinted in 1995) but was offered as an available tool in the 1912 amendment to the same catalog.

The 2500P (P was for plated as the entire tool is nickel plated) was an improvement on the Preston No. 1399P, which was patented in 1907. The Preston catalogs list three improvements over its predecessor: An adjustable milled head screw pin and lock in front of the cutter, An adjustable sliding front, and left and right-handed moveable fences. Let’s have a look at the features of this remarkable and finely crafted plane.

The “adjustable milled head screw pin and lock nut” can be seen in the photo above as the large threaded vertical post (pin) on the left.

The knurled lock nut is near the bottom of this post just above the plate and locks the pin into position. When the lock nut is backed off, this pin can be adjusted up or down to any depth. When set to the same depth of the cutting iron, it provides downward pressure on the wood fibers in front of the cutter, the same as the bed in front of the mouth on a bench plane would. The bottom of this pin and its relationship with the cutting iron we can see in the photo below.

The second feature, the “adjustable sliding front,” allows for the movement of this pin to be closer or farther from the cutting edge of the iron. In the catalog, Preston cites that this feature can also be used to compensate for the wear of the cutting iron.

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English Chisel


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