Hollows & Rounds Moulding planes Routledge Snipe bill

A day trip to Worcestershire

Routledge moulding planes
Excited to have such a great collection of moulding planes in such wonderful condition. The gentleman who owned these really looked after them.

Last week I had the pleasure of going back to the Midlands, the place where I was born, to meet an excellent fellow named Robert who had some wooden planes for sale. I’ve been hunting for a nice half, or full-set of moulding planes for a while. These Routledge planes were particularly attractive to me, being born in the Midlands, and Routledge was an excellent planemaker from the area.

Robert was passing on a collection of planes from his grandfather, who had been a cabinet maker. Rob turned out to be a very good salesman. As well as agreeing a deal on an extra bunch of planes and miscellaneous tools, I went back home with a bit more weight than I anticipated!

By the time I left, the planes were joined by some lovely Thos Ibbotson ‘pig-sticker’ mortise chisels, some Sorby and Marples carving chisels, too many awls and screwdrivers to list, and one other thing. Robert made me a deal which included also taking away his grandfathers home-made tool chest. A wondrous great mahogany beast, which will take a bit of work, but will be a nice piece when I’ve finished it. The Volvo was nearly doing a wheelie all the way back to London.


Routledge moulding planes
When I bought these I didn’t actually notice the box also included a matching pair of Routledge snipe-bills and a matched pair of side-rounds, both in stunning condition.


Routledge snipe-bill plane
Boxed snipe-bill with makers mark, the other snipe-bill is just as crisp.


Routledge 'round' moulding plane
Makers mark, ‘Routledge, 64 Bull Street’, BIRMINGHAM’.


Routledge side-round moulding plane
Again, matching pair is in fantastic condition for age.


Routledge 'round' moulding plane
Irons will just a need a hone, not much more.
College Practical techniques

Back to school

This week, I’ll be going back to school, well, university to be exact. I’ve decided to finally get back to doing something I enjoy, rather than devote 100% of my time to designing for publishing.

And so life is dividing itself a little. My Fridays will now be spent at London Metropolitan University, with a small group, devoted to learning the craft of furniture and cabinet making, something I’ve become fascinated with in the last couple of years.

It’s ridiculous of course! People are living in smaller houses. They don’t have big money to spend on handcrafted furniture. They have faster-changing tastes, brought on by the rise of advertising and consumer culture. The ‘need’ has been surpassed by the ‘want’.

And you know what? I don’t care. It’s not about making things to sell. I’ve been heartened by folks around me who have re-discovered the value of learning a craft and enjoying the process, rather than racing to the end product.

And so, as the one reader of this blog will already be aware, I’ve been amassing old tools, quality tools from British manufacturers, some of whom sadly don’t even exist anymore. I’ve been introduced by friends to people who produce the most amazing work, old fellows who have so much knowledge, hands that have been making things all their lives.

It’s also been enlightening, when I mention building a tool collection and starting my learning process, the amount of people who talk so openly about relations or friends who were in the business. ‘I think I still have some of his tools in the loft!’.

So Friday I start learning all over. Somehow scraping a living from this may, or may not come later. It might become a part of my life, it may not. For the time being, I’m just enjoying having a new challenge beyond life in front of a computer.