A pair of Norris rebate mitre planes
Well here they are - the “mystery planes” I have been teasing about.
Here is the deal... in 1941, Norris was commissioned to make a plane to be awarded as the first prize in a furniture making competition. The recipient of the plane kept it in new condition all these years. It was sold at auction in 2006 for over £16,000. Shortly after the auction - I was commissioned to make a reproduction of this plane with one change - infilled with ebony (the original was infilled with Rosewood).
It was a fantastic and challenging commission to say the least. The only reference I had was a series of photos and two dimensions - the overall length of 13-5/8" and the width of 2-3/8".
Norris clearly emptied the bag of tricks on this plane. The handle tilts to the left and right just like the Stanley No.10-1/4 - but it also pivots left and right.
I was also excited to try a wedged plane with an adjuster. The screw that passes through the keeper engages a brass insert in the wedge. The mechanics of this is very cool. The brass insert is offset and when the screw is tightened - it acts as a drawbore - driving the wedge tighter into the body of the plane. Very cool indeed!
After studying the photos I agreed to the commission. I also decided I would make a prototype to work out any unforeseen bugs. I did not want to “prototype” the commissioned plane. Infilling the prototype with Rosewood seemed like a logical choice.
Everything worked without a hitch for the most part - and keeping the prototype ahead a few steps certainly helped refine the building process.
The mouth was one aspect that I really had to psych myself up for. I use what can only be described as an antiquated method - but it has always worked for me, and I did not see any reason why I should re-invent the wheel now. Here are a series of photos of cutting the mouth.
I still use a hacksaw to cut the mouth on shoulder and rebate planes. The difference with this plane is that it is 2-3/8" wide as opposed to the widest shoulder at 1-1/2". I was a little nervous.
My friend Steve had stopped in a few times as I was working on the pair of planes and he asked how I was going to do the mouth. I handed him the hacksaw. His only comment was “ I gotta see this!” I guess his response freaked me out a little bit more, so I decided to cut and file the mouth on my own (sorry Steve). I was not sure I would be able to handle an audience if I messed it all up!
As it turned out - it worked perfectly and I felt bad for not inviting Steve to be there for it. He was on hand as I was finishing it up though - and I handed him the triangular piece of waste from the sole.
Here are a few detail shots of the mouth being done;
Two of three cuts are done - the last one is the “easiest” :)
Here are some further photos of the two planes.
I should also mention that I have decided to sell the Rosewood filled prototype. This is only the second prototype I have sold - all the others live on my bench. This plane is marked KP30-08 on the bed - KP stands for “Konrad Prototype”. The price is $9,000.00 Cdn.