What is certain is that Preston
stopped making this plane sometime before 1909 as it was no
longer featured in the 1909 catalog. I suspect that the
plane wasn’t that popular because Preston was still making
the more classic infill planes at that time.
Even though in 1901 this plane was
a cheaper option at nearly half the price of a similar steel
rosewood infilled plane (model 1334), I would suspect that most
artisans that could afford it, preferred the finer rosewood
The Preston model 1354 plane has a
cast steel body, walnut infills, and a unique body shape.
But what is most unusual about this
plane is the hollow centered lever cap. It is removable. The
cap is secured in place by the cap screw, as is the case with
many infills, but unlike most infills, this lever cap is not
secured to the body of the plane. Instead, it simply fits behind
a cross pin and can
be set in place at any depth.
The cap still holds the iron in
place very securely but comes off when the iron is removed. I’m
not sure that there is any advantage to this design, and of
course, there is a risk of the lever getting lost when it’s
apart from the plane. I suspect Preston realized this and may
have been part of the decision to discontinue this model.