Unpopular Planes #1: Unpopular, Unloved or just overlooked?

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Blog entry by Johnnyblot posted 08-15-2012 10:00 PM 14811 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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In my time here on LJ’s I have seen, [especially Handplanes Of Your Dreams topic] what great lengths many of us go to, to bring a woodworking tool, in this case Hand Planes back from the junk heap to a full [wood]working life!

The big boys, particularly here in the UK are /were:-
1) STANLEY, made in USA & England

2) RECORD, made in England

But there are many others available that have not, shall we say been taken to our hearts like those above.

So here I’d like to show you a plane that I own, picked up for pennies at a car boot fair [Flea Market]. It has remained under my bench stashed away, unloved. Until now.

This is a RAPIER 400. Which to all intents and purposes is a Bailey pattern #4 bench plane. they were made by Anglo Scottish Tool Co. Gateshead, England.
Gateshead just happens to be approx 20 miles from where I live. I’d never heard of these planes until I saw this one and read ‘Gateshead’. Which in itself is a bit odd because usually planes simply say ‘MADE IN ENGLAND’. Also Gateshead is not particularly [be polite Johnny] well known, other than being on the south side of the river Tyne, across from the more famous [?] city north of the Tyne, Newcastle. However I’m waffling.
Carry on!

To make a point I Googled RAPIER and found a link to the UK Workshop site [like LJ’s] and found this ...a typically pithy comment by ALF [She’s on LJ’s too somewhere] it reads…. RAPIER...

Brandname of the Anglo-Scottish Tool Co. of Gateshead, c.1950s/60s. Generally considered not the greatest planes ever, although their #3 mini grooving plane (a knock-off of the Record #043) is well regarded. There’s a bit in the archive on them, but not much more than this really – no-one seems to know (or care) much about all the various companies skulling about in Britain at that time.

Cheers, Alf

Thank you Alf, I couldn’t of put it better myself :-)

Why don’t I like this plane much? Well it’s silly really- it’s got ‘Plastic’ handles and it’s not black [Stanley] or blue [Record] and it hasn’t got a nice shiny chrome Lever Cap?

But is it well made? Yes. The castings of the body & frog is excellent.

It is also slightly heavier than the equivalent Stanley #4 by 5 ounces

Are the handles comfortable- fit for purpose? Yes, apart from being made from plastic.

Are they cheap to buy off Ebay? Hell yeah- nobody wants them!

Can it be tuned up into a smoother? Dunno- Yet!


-- Gossamer shavings just floating around the back yard….-Bandit

4 comments so far

View Don W's profile

Don W

19841 posts in 3540 days

#1 posted 08-15-2012 11:54 PM

i’ve never encounter a RAPIER. Something to look forward to. I’ll be you make a smoother

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View racerglen's profile


3112 posts in 3753 days

#2 posted 08-16-2012 10:28 AM

I have seen Rapiers by times, and for some reason there are a couple of their blades in planes on my wall,
they seem to be an OK blade, not stellar, just OK..

-- Glen, B.C. Canada

View Johnnyblot's profile


319 posts in 3249 days

#3 posted 08-16-2012 07:12 PM

This Stanley of mine, surprisingly has a RAPIER blade in too.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPad App

You can pretty much be sure that whoever made these cutters for Rapiier, made them for Stanley and Record too.


-- Gossamer shavings just floating around the back yard….-Bandit

View Druid's profile


2205 posts in 3768 days

#4 posted 12-01-2017 07:30 PM

Interesting posting. I didn’t know that these planes were made in Gateshead, but I only lived there until I was 6 years old . . . could be the reason?

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

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