A Tale of Two Planes

Well. This is a tale of one plane actually, but the second image may as well be a second plane, for all you will recognise.
I sold this Norris A5 a couple of weeks ago. Straight from a master carpenter’s toolchest. I ‘ummed and ahhed’ about selling it, because it had just the right amount of wear, no damage whatsoever and a full original iron.
However, I tend to keep only tools I really need, or don’t have, and decided to sell it to cover the outlay of buying a large job lot. The plane went to a buyer and all was good on the transaction.
The plane is now back on the market, with what I can only describe as a ‘makeover’. It has been buffed to oblivion, all trace of it’s history, the marks from it’s owner and it’s own patination removed.
Not a hint remains that this plane has been lovingly used and cared for, for well over a hundred years. The buyer is flipping it on eBay in it’s freshly polished, preened and shellaced state. The poor owner must be turning in his grave.
It’s my personal opinion that only grime should be wiped from quality tools, (and there are other methods for sensitively removing other problems such as rust).
These quality tools will likely outlast us all if kept properly, doing this sort of terrible work to a good plane not only ruins it in the short term, but denies future owners the chance of seeing how time has worked it’s magic.

5 replies on “A Tale of Two Planes”

Yes – purely motivated by thoughtless greed without any feeling for the history of the artifact. The work done is on it makes it totally valueless to collectors, and is totally unnecessary to the functioning of the plane. Some potential buyers may even suspect that it’s a forgery, as there isn’t enough patina / detail left to indicate it’s how old it may be. And how many “users” (as opposed to collectors) would be be prepared to pay the extra £146 premium he’s added for the clean-up job??? As a user I’d rather spend that sort of money on a new Veritas, Lie Nielsen or ECE Primus or on a Norris in original condition – and have still have a serious amount of change left over for some other classic!

The transaction was even more annoying as the chap pleaded a ‘small budget’, leading me to assume he was a struggling craftsperson who would appreciate a good deal. Ho-hum. I know it’s not against the law, and some people even like this sort of ‘look’ to their tools, but there are only so many of these tools in the world, it pains me to see them adulterated in this way.

Gary I agree with you 100%.

I hope he loses money on this plane and sees the error of his ways.

A quick search in the obvious place reveals that this plane sold to some sucker for £345.95.

Maybe they believed the seller’s description which said

“Beautiful Norris A5 Infill Smoothing Plane, an excellent example that has clearly been well maintained by it’s previous owner… the infills have almost lovingly been kept polished and maintained and are in excellent condition.”

I’ve bookmarked him as a seller not to trust; I suggest others do the same.

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