Doing some research on a W. Butcher plane blade

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Forum topic by oldwolf posted 04-25-2010 06:11 PM 19793 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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100 posts in 4749 days

04-25-2010 06:11 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question plane

Once again I’m looking for a little help from my fellow lumberjocks,

Yesterday at a new/used/antique store, (its a cool and interesting place) I picked up a huge wooden joiner plane 24” long, in pretty good shape, There is no markings on the plane body, but there is on the blade and cap iron, The cap iron is stamped “Butcher” and the blade is stamped “W Butcher” with a crown below and then “Warranted Steel”

Doing some research online this morning I found W butcher is supposed to be a William Butcher who had a hand in making tool steel blades from 1830 – 1870, and that’s pretty cool, but as near as I can find his blades are stamped the same but instead of a crown, there is an arrow and a Maltese Cross. I can find no reference to the crown, though I know that’s related to manufacture in England.

Does anyone have any ideas about the difference in the markings? Could there be another W Butcher? so far my research says there was only the one…

this is mostly out of curiosity, I pretty standard clean old plane blades up with a wire wheel brush to remove all the tarnish, I’m not a collector, I’m a user and removing all the oxidation make things better users. But I always try to research before I do that so I don’t feel like I’m doing undue damage to something that may be historically significant or something like that.

So any help that can be offered in identifying the marks would be way cool. Thanks


-- Oldwolf -

17 replies so far

View Matt Vredenburg's profile

Matt Vredenburg

193 posts in 4906 days

#1 posted 11-29-2010 01:13 AM

Hi Oldwolf,

My family has a centennial farm (homesteaded in 1800s) and in one of the dilapidated sheds outside of the house is wood shop…has a woodworking bench and lots of templates. A number of years ago, I found a old wooden plane similar to the one described above. I am cleaning up the plane this weekend and I wanted to see if you found out anymore information about your plane. My iron has a crown with the name “W Butcher” and below the crown there is a five point star and below that “warranted caststeel” as you mentioned above. The iron isn’t in good condition and I am in search of finding a replacement. I would also like to know what you found about the history of the plane you have…



-- Matt, Arizona

View oldwolf's profile


100 posts in 4749 days

#2 posted 11-30-2010 06:41 AM

Hey Matt,
I wish I had found something additional to share. I have some suspicions but that is about it. I think that the crawn and the stars may be an earlier incarnation of his work, maybe as he was begining and before he was able to ramp up into full production. But that’smore of a feeling and hunch than anything I can back up with research or answers from those smarter than me… maybe I will have to use some different resources that I didn’t have when I first put this post up… if anything turns up I will for sure report back and let you know.

I haven’t thought about this blade in a while…thanks for bringing it back up

-- Oldwolf -

View moses2452's profile


1 post in 3466 days

#3 posted 12-30-2012 01:03 AM

I have a butcher plane, the blade ihas an arrow with a sidewars b on the left and onr the ritea maltese cross, under the name is a 2, in a box

View Straightbowed's profile


717 posts in 3790 days

#4 posted 02-28-2013 12:08 AM

have a giant rabbit plane with W Butcher stamped on the blade cutter is 3 3/4 inches wide weighs about 9lbs

-- Stevo, work in tha city woodshop in the country

View haakie2's profile


2 posts in 2981 days

#5 posted 04-28-2014 10:22 PM

I have my grandfather’s wooden plane. It is 26 inches long and has a 2 1/4 inch cut. The blade says W. Butcher and has what looks like a star under the name and below that an arrow. It is in great shape. My grandfather was a carpenter and builder in the late 1800s and into the early 1900s.

View Loren's profile


11549 posts in 5140 days

#6 posted 04-28-2014 10:40 PM

I’ve seen quite a few wood-bodied 19th century planes
with W. Butcher irons. The chisels are said to be very good.

View haakie2's profile


2 posts in 2981 days

#7 posted 04-29-2014 05:20 PM

I was delighted to find this site. I have my grandfather’s wooden plane with a W. Butcher blade. Under the name there is what appears to be a star and below that an arrow. It is in great shape. My grandfather was a carpenter and builder in the late 1800s and early 1900s. For years the plane was with my parents and now I have it. I also have his folding rules and a couple of Marking & Mortise Gauges. Don’t know for sure who will have them next as I am 85.

View 7Footer's profile


2575 posts in 3440 days

#8 posted 04-29-2014 06:20 PM

Yeah Butcher Steel was some of the best ever made, they say that Sorby was the only ones known to be better quality, and only slightly. A few weeks ago I found an infill plane with a Butcher blade in it, it’s super cool. After doing some research I found this: History of W. and S. Butcher ... It’s very interesting, William and Samuel Butcher were the $hit in Sheffield for a long time. Interesting story on them.

Welcome to LJ’s Haakie!


View Bertha's profile


13635 posts in 4185 days

#9 posted 11-19-2016 06:56 PM

As a collector and user, I find this article very well done:

I’m not aware of any dedicated books out there. Plane irons are common enough that I don’t fear using them. It’s my hands-down favorite steel. I only have a couple of butcher cap irons, though. I’m not sure if they’re as uncommon as my experience would suggest. Both of mine have Sheffield-maker irons paired to them. Go find more!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Rayroot's profile


1 post in 1985 days

#10 posted 01-19-2017 12:14 AM

I picked up 2 planes at a habitat for humanity store, the one is a stanly no 110. the other has a W. Butcher blade that has the crown before the w. butcher which the writing is a 180 degree curve, has what looks like a 1, a arrow and some kind of cross, also across the bottom says warrented cast steel

View BossStompTV's profile


1 post in 1513 days

#11 posted 05-06-2018 02:10 AM

Excuse the necro here buuut I had the pleasure of holding this chisel today that seems relevant to your interests.

View ksSlim's profile


1304 posts in 4382 days

#12 posted 05-06-2018 03:40 AM

Very complete research Bertha!

Regards Slim

-- Sawdust and shavings are therapeutic

View DrTebi's profile


406 posts in 4758 days

#13 posted 03-01-2019 09:30 AM

Indeed they made some very nice steel.

I just got a 28” wooden jointer plane with a W. Butcher “cast-steel warranted” blade and cap iron (no star or crown, by the way). I flattened the sole (which took forever) and sharpened the blade, and now it’s making some wonderful see-through shavings again :)

Great to learn a bit about the History of William and Samuel Butcher. I don’t think the links above work anymore, here is a new one that should work:

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5369 posts in 5452 days

#14 posted 03-01-2019 05:09 PM

I have been gathering Butcher items for a long time. Great quality steel and workmanship.
I even have a tenon saw made by Butcher. I buy Butcher whenever I can, but the market in MS is a bit of a wasteland.

-- [email protected]

View Paradiso's profile


1 post in 607 days

#15 posted 10-27-2020 05:49 PM

I just purchased a 22” wooden jointer plane with a W Butcher cast steel warranted blade and cap iron. Mine has a star and below that an arrow.

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