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Plane of the Week with Ryan Sparreboom


 
  Unique Carved Plane 1 of 2  

As a rhykenologist (woodworking plane collector), I often seek unusual planes to add to my collection. Elaborately carved or decorated planes are at the top of my list of desirable pieces.

 

Most often originating from Dutch and a few other Central European regions, these planes can be difficult to find and fetch high prices. When I had the chance to buy this little plane several years ago, I had to grab it.

Planes are utilitarian objects, used for a specific task or to make a living. To some craftsmen, a hand plane was a significant object in their lives. Decorating items of importance with personal symbols or words used to be a common practice.

A craftsman might have decorated a hand plane with carvings to show his skill or to make the tool identifiable as his. Such a plane may also have been made as a gift or family heirloom.

The plane shown here is chip carved with a strong Christian motif. It features a cross on a hill on the top front, facing the user. On the left side of the plane is a symbol for Maria.

The right side of the plane shows the date of 1821. It is easy to assume that this was the creation date of the plane. However, I donít think this assumption is necessarily accurate. If we consider the many reasons for these carvings, then itís easy to imagine that the date may have a different meaning. It may be the date of birth of the maker, or the person to whom the plane was gifted. It also may be another significant family date such as an anniversary or the year business started to operate.


 

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