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