AWGB Woodturning Forum

General Category => Tool tips & reviews => Topic started by: Derwent Woodturning club on April 19, 2019, 08:50:57 PM

Title: Mystery wooden plane - Solved!!
Post by: Derwent Woodturning club on April 19, 2019, 08:50:57 PM
One of our woodturning club members brought in this wooden plane but we are all puzzled at its design and for what it was intended to be used. The name on the body is Yarvill & Sons Ltd. Ebor works, York but we don't know if that is the manufacturer or the owner.
It has an iron fitted but we doubt it is the original, as its width doesn't match the width of the slot in the body.
Does anybody have any idea of its use?
Title: Re: Mystery wooden plane
Post by: Les Symonds on April 20, 2019, 06:07:26 AM
The hefty slot at the nose of the plane suggests that this was used to clean up such things as glazing bars, after frame assembly. The sole would run along the edge of the glazing bar and the slot would allow the plane to reach right into a corner. Just a thought!
Title: Re: Mystery wooden plane
Post by: Sandy on April 20, 2019, 09:03:59 AM
Hi Paul,

I believe the name's misspelt.

If you search online using "Varvill and Sons Ebor Works"  you'll be able to delve deeper as several links contain some historical notes.  One in particular links to a webpage:  "Discovering Shropshire's History"  (this is the link: )  and you'll see at the end of a description for a hand plane it states:

"The Varvill family were a major player in the plane and tool making industry of 19th century England. The company was established in 1793 in York by Michael Varvill as a woodworking tools business. By 1829 the firm was known as M. Varvill & Sons. In 1840 Michael's son, Summers Varvill, took control of the family business and moved it to the Ebor Works, North Street, York. Summers died in 1862 and his brother Robert Varvill took over the running of the firm. At this time the company was described as a manufacturer of planes, files, joiner's tools, gimblets and a wholesale dealer in ironmongery.on one of the links."

It also states:  For more information contact: Shropshire Museums.

Hope this is helpful.


Title: Re: Mystery wooden plane
Post by: Derwent Woodturning club on April 20, 2019, 09:48:46 AM
Hi Sandy,

Well spotted, and you didn't have an image of the logo. Having looked again, the name is definitely Varvill and with that and your links, we've got a load more information and potential contacts to find the purpose of this plane. I will post any information we get, as I am sure others like to know the answers to this type of question.
Title: Re: Mystery wooden plane
Post by: dr4g0nfly on April 20, 2019, 04:33:40 PM
I'm nearly with Les on this.
Except the sole shows no signs of limited wear, no groove where it ran along a narrow section of wood.

I do agree though that it is likely to be some sort of glue or trimming plane, that needed to be able to get around an upright section, though I'd have thought the standard 'Bull Nosed Plane' or 'Chisel Plane' would have done that quite well anyway.

Also of interest is the number 2 on the Iron Tang, it makes me think a range of blades could be fitted, which is also why the mouth is wider than the fitted Iron. For this reason I think it might have been some sort of Router Plane (Grannies Tooth) but I'm not completely sure.
Title: Re: Mystery wooden plane
Post by: Derwent Woodturning club on April 21, 2019, 09:56:03 AM
I have had a response from Bill Carter who has a fascinating website ( on planes. Bill sent me images from a book of his showing very similar design of planes. See attachments  These planes were used for cleaning out the bottom of slots and known as Router planes, Old Woman's tooth and Granny's tooth (Well done to Dragonfly on that).
We had noticed the number on the iron but the fact that its width did not match the width of the slot, even at its widest, suggested it was not the original cutter.  In my plough planes the cutter tip is profiled to the form required but the upper body width is consistent and held firmly in the tool.
Thanks to everyone for their interest and suggestions. It's nice to solve a mystery, and improve our knowledge of tools.