Wood smoothing plane, ca. 1850

Contributed by Southern Aroostook Agricultural Museum


Wood planes were made of hard wood such as walnut cherry or maple. Simple planes were merely chisels held in a smoothed block of wood by a wedge. The block of wood controlled the depth of the blade so that only a shaving of wood was removed with each pass of the plane. Types of planes can generally be broken into four basic categories: smoothing, molding, beading and beveling. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries a master carpenter would have a hundred or more finely tuned specialized wood planes. In the second half of the nineteenth century, planes with iron soles started to be made. Later, planes were made almost completely of iron then steel.

Smoothing planes ran in size from the 6” – 8” smoothing plane, to the 12’ – 17’ jack plane, to the 60’ – 72’ cooper’s jointer. This 26’ long plane is a “long” or “trying plane.” The long stock, or body of the plane, made it possible to smooth the entire length of a board.

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About This Item

  • Title: Wood smoothing plane, ca. 1850
  • Creation Date: circa 1850
  • Subject Date: circa 1850
  • Location: Littleton, Aroostook County, ME
  • Media: Wood
  • Dimensions: 19 cm x 66 cm x 8.3 cm
  • Collection: Luther and Kay Grass
  • Object Type: Physical Object

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For more information about this item, contact:

Southern Aroostook Agricultural Museum
1678 U.S. Route 1, Littleton, ME 04730

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