English Braces

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English Saws


Plane of the Week with Ryan Sparreboom

  Mathieson in March - Part 2 2 of 4  

Stewart started making planes in 1774, so I would date this plane to the latest part of the 18th century.

The wide chamfer extends well across the shoulder of the plane, to almost the very corner. On the opposite side of the plane, or the “blind side,” the chamfer ends at exactly the shoulder height. On the back end of the plane, the shoulder chamfer is mirrored, but the blind side chamfer stops higher.

On the heel, the plane is struck with the numbers indicating the size of the moulding it can cut - 5/8 by 6/8. The lack of the proper fractional line on the numbers indicates an earlier plane. The first number refers to the width of the cut, and the second, 6/8, to the thickness of the sash bar that this plane can cut.

When Alex Mathieson took over the Stewart business in 1849, he put his son Thomas, then 23 years old, in charge. The business traded for a few years as Thomas A. Mathieson & Co in Edinburgh, while Alex Mathieson continued his business at the Saracen Lane in Glasgow.

In 1851, Alexander Mathieson passed away, and Thomas Mathieson took charge of the entire business.

The Arthur / McPherson Connection

In 1793 David Arthur started his business as a Wright’s Tool Manufacturer and Turning Lathe Maker in Edinburgh. With time David’s sons joined the business, and by 1825, the company’s name changed to David Arthur & Sons.

Planes made by Arthur, especially later models, are not rare which indicates that the business produced large quantities of planes and other tools, including lathes.

Below are an example of a beautiful beech brace with a lignum vitae head and a set of brace bits made and marked by Arthur.


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English Chisel



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