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Forum topic by m4778 posted 09-28-2021 11:41 AM 744 views 0 times favorited 31 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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m4778

26 posts in 292 days


09-28-2021 11:41 AM

I have recently acquired a number of old hand tools and I was hoping to find some information about them. My grandfather was a Master Cabinetmaker for over 70 years, but due to declining health he had to move into assisted living which is why these tools have come to me. I really wish I had gotten into woodworking earlier to be able to learn from all his experience, but sadly that no longer seems possible.

I have done some research on wood hand planes and it seems like most of the time they aren’t really worth any money and are fairly common, but considering the personal/family significance I just wanted to make sure these weren’t overly special/collectable before I went ahead and put them to work.

Anyway, here are the questions I had:
1) Are these at all unique or worth much money (ie should I put them on a shelf or use them).

2) It looks like some or all of these are made by a company E.C.E. which appears to still exist. (and one made by “Rey”). Are they a highly regarded maker of quality tools?

3) To my untrained eye they seem to be in working order (albeit dirty), but does anything stand out from the photos that indicates otherwise?

4) Besides sharpening the irons, is there anything else I should do to these before putting them into service?

5) Any way to tell how old these are?


31 replies so far

View tvrgeek's profile

tvrgeek

2292 posts in 2896 days


#1 posted 09-28-2021 12:03 PM

I would not hesitate putting them to use.

Anyway, searching quickly there are many forums on vintage wood planes. ( most just sales)
but some more about. For instance: https://www.collectorsweekly.com/tools-and-hardware/planes

My grandfathers tools were a little more modern. Ditson, Bailey, and chisels. Most from 20’s through 50’s. I did hesitate briefly before taking a file to the saws, but now confident and they are a joy to use.

View controlfreak's profile

controlfreak

2912 posts in 848 days


#2 posted 09-28-2021 12:06 PM

Those look great. Lots of good videos out there on how to adjust with a brass hammer. I say learn how to hone the blades to a razor sharp edge and use them. I would study the edges and shape carefully before attempting to alter them. Your Grandfather probably had them setup well. I personally think planes should be used but if you would rather put them on a shelf to look at that’s okay too. I only have one tool of my Grandfather and Father and it always makes me think of them when I use or look at them.

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987Ron

2210 posts in 563 days


#3 posted 09-28-2021 12:43 PM

Having Grandfathers and Fathers tools in the shop used often or seldom is like having them overseeing what you are doing, making sure your work is done with care and patience. Enjoy the planes.

-- Ron

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SMP

4841 posts in 1152 days


#4 posted 09-28-2021 01:39 PM

Are you in Germany or was grandpa from Germany or nearby? Most of those are from Germany or surrounding area. I would say value wise they are each in the $30-50 range, so no worry with putting them to use. Just get a good sharpening system and put them to work.

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m4778

26 posts in 292 days


#5 posted 09-28-2021 02:11 PM

Yep, Grandparents were from Germany. That is where he started his cabinet maker apprenticeship at 14 or 15. Then came to the US just after WW2.

Does that mean these tools were likely with him through his entire career?

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SMP

4841 posts in 1152 days


#6 posted 09-28-2021 02:38 PM



Yep, Grandparents were from Germany. That is where he started his cabinet maker apprenticeship at 14 or 15. Then came to the US just after WW2.

Does that mean these tools were likely with him through his entire career?

- m4778

Well ECE has been around since like 1850. I am almost sure that most of those planes are pre WW2, so my guess is he has had them that long if he had been woodworking for that long. And it looks like he bought the best at the time.

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m4778

26 posts in 292 days


#7 posted 09-28-2021 02:46 PM

Wow thats really cool. I didn’t realize they’d go that far back. Hard to imagine how much these have been through. I definitely feel lucky to have them.

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SMP

4841 posts in 1152 days


#8 posted 09-28-2021 03:47 PM



Wow thats really cool. I didn t realize they d go that far back. Hard to imagine how much these have been through. I definitely feel lucky to have them.

- m4778

Tools were built to last back then. I have a wooden plane from a maker that only made planes in London from 1748-1775. It is literally older than our constitution and still works fine.

View DevinT's profile

DevinT

1944 posts in 213 days


#9 posted 09-28-2021 09:42 PM

SMP, I would love to see pictures of that plane some time

-- Devin, SF, CA

View Francisco Luna's profile

Francisco Luna

1051 posts in 4640 days


#10 posted 09-29-2021 09:18 AM

I am sorry to hear about the health condition of your grandfather, but he is still giving you a legacy, and inheritance of an amazing trade and art that gives lots of joy to all of us.
Some research about the planes need to be completed in order to tell their real value (Manufacturers, dating).
The most complete page I have seen so far about German type planes is https://www.holzwerken.de/sitemap.phtml, there you can find valuable info about all manufacturers like E.C.Emmerisch, Ulmia, Steiner, Two Cherries, Franken Ott &Co….
But the real value of these planes is they all belonged to your grandfather. One of the most beautiful experiences I have once in a while, is when I acquire a lot like this. About a 2 months ago, I found a tool box for sale online, it was made by a craftsman in the 20’s, inside there were planes, a spoke shave, plans, lay out instruments, two magnificent sets of gouges and chisels, antique home made tools….to me is like being a sort of steward of these beautiful tools, that I am going to preserve, care and enjoy, but at the end, I am going to pass all them on to a younger woodworker.

If you decide to put all them to work, I advice to get a plane hammer, its a special hammer used to set the irons, since these the of planes do not have a setting mechanism. The hammer has a brass head in one side to hit and set the iron and a wooden head at the oposite side to hit the plane body and retract the blade. Lee Valley Tools has the one at the Picture
The ones at the picture are my German style Planes, I love their simplicity and beauty.

-- "Menos es mas" Ludwing Mies Van Der Rohe

View Peteybadboy's profile

Peteybadboy

4019 posts in 3196 days


#11 posted 09-29-2021 10:27 AM

Those are beautiful.

Nice to hear they have been passed on to the right person.

-- Petey

View m4778's profile

m4778

26 posts in 292 days


#12 posted 09-29-2021 12:24 PM



I am sorry to hear about the health condition of your grandfather, but he is still giving you a legacy, and inheritance of an amazing trade and art that gives lots of joy to all of us.
Some research about the planes need to be completed in order to tell their real value (Manufacturers, dating).
The most complete page I have seen so far about German type planes is https://www.holzwerken.de/sitemap.phtml, there you can find valuable info about all manufacturers like E.C.Emmerisch, Ulmia, Steiner, Two Cherries, Franken Ott &Co….
But the real value of these planes is they all belonged to your grandfather. One of the most beautiful experiences I have once in a while, is when I acquire a lot like this. About a 2 months ago, I found a tool box for sale online, it was made by a craftsman in the 20 s, inside there were planes, a spoke shave, plans, lay out instruments, two magnificent sets of gouges and chisels, antique home made tools….to me is like being a sort of steward of these beautiful tools, that I am going to preserve, care and enjoy, but at the end, I am going to pass all them on to a younger woodworker.

If you decide to put all them to work, I advice to get a plane hammer, its a special hammer used to set the irons, since these the of planes do not have a setting mechanism. The hammer has a brass head in one side to hit and set the iron and a wooden head at the oposite side to hit the plane body and retract the blade. Lee Valley Tools has the one at the Picture
The ones at the picture are my German style Planes, I love their simplicity and beauty.
...
- Francisco Luna-Posada

Thanks, i’ll definitely look at getting a hammer for this task, I don’t want to bang up the body with a framing hammer.

Interesting information on that website, it looks like the original E.C.E. shop where my planes would have been made burned down during the war. It’s always incredible to think about how close it was to me not even existing. He used to tell me stories about the fire bombings, how both houses on either side of theirs burned down, and how a dud bomb dropped through the ceiling of their house which he had to throw out into the street with a shovel.

(passed through google translate)
https://www-holzwerken-de.translate.goog/museum/hersteller/ece.phtml?_x_tr_sl=auto&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=en-US&_x_tr_pto=nui,elem

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m4778

26 posts in 292 days


#13 posted 09-29-2021 12:28 PM

What should I use if I wanted to just delicately cleanup/moisturize the wood on these. I don’t want to restore it or anything, I just want to make sure the wood doesn’t dry out too much and maybe get a little bit of the gunk off them.

I was reading some people talking about steel wool and mineral spirits but that seems a little harsh?

View Francisco Luna's profile

Francisco Luna

1051 posts in 4640 days


#14 posted 09-29-2021 02:32 PM



What should I use if I wanted to just delicately cleanup/moisturize the wood on these. I don t want to restore it or anything, I just want to make sure the wood doesn t dry out too much and maybe get a little bit of the gunk off them.

I was reading some people talking about steel wool and mineral spirits but that seems a little harsh?

- m4778

I can’t imagine what many europeans and jews endured during the nazis era, I read recently “The Hiding Place” by Corie Ten Boon and its heartbreaking. God bless this nation where so many have found freedom!

people have all sort of opinions about restoring”, “cleaning” and keeping this tools….I have “Restored” many hand planes and have read abundantly about the topic….rule number one is this:

DONT DO ANYTHING ON A TOOL THAT IS NOT REVERSIBLE

Problem with solvents is that wood can suck them up, what is not good. Steel wool leave particles in the wood that when in contact with humidity in the air will stain the wood.

This is my advice:
1. Im sure you already know this, but keep the tools inside the house or in a climate controlled area. High Humidity and temperature changes/extremes are tools worst enemies.
2. I use RENAISSANCE microcrystalline wax polish to help protect the wood. It can be applied with a regular piece of cloth
3. if you want to clean the wood and remove the gunk, this is my method, it works for me. I rub the tool with a 3M gray Pad and abundant “feed and wax”. After all dirt and gunk has been released, I remove all the excess with a paper towel. I would love to hear more opinions.

-- "Menos es mas" Ludwing Mies Van Der Rohe

View SMP's profile

SMP

4841 posts in 1152 days


#15 posted 09-29-2021 03:16 PM

Depends on if you want to preserve their old, worn look or not. Most of them are coated with shellac and some are pretty badly peeling. if you do anything there is a good chance you will remove more of the shellac. If it were me, I would just coat them with more shellac. Shellac or denatured alcohol will “melt” into the old finish and bring it back to what it was.

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