Most unique woodworking tool? Ideas welcome. Here is mine...

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Forum topic by Paul Sellers posted 03-05-2012 07:05 PM 9335 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Paul Sellers

278 posts in 3584 days

03-05-2012 07:05 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question trick pine plane video

I thought this might be quite fun as a forum post where people can post their own ideas of unique tools.

Please remember it is unique that we are looking for not rare.

Here is mine.

What kind of plane creates this?

It was advertised on eBay a while back as a toothing plane. You can see that it’s not. These planes were fairly common in joiner’s tool boxes at one time , but as their use became redundant, they gradually disappeared from most woodworker’s tool box, yet at one time this plane was an essential piece of equipment.


To add further to the bemusement, this plane had nothing to do with the finished wood but the shaving itself. This is the only plane developed to actually produce a shaving as the end result. All other planes were developed to remove wood and form something in the main body of wood being planed.


The plane was called a spill or taper plane and was used to make spills which were tight cones of wood formed by each swiping stroke of the plane. The angle of the blade in relation to the sole compresses the shaving and unites the long edge in a continuous spiral that can be glued and used to make a perfect wooden straw.

I believe this is the only plane designed to produce a shaving as the finished product. That’s why I think it is quite unique.

Here is a video of it in use.

-- Paul Sellers, UK

14 replies so far

View Dan's profile


3653 posts in 3894 days

#1 posted 03-05-2012 07:44 PM

Those shavings are very neat.

Lee Valley/Veritas makes a metal spill plane and has them for sale on their site. This is the description they give

”Before matches became widely available in the 1860s, long, coiled wood shavings known as spills were used to transfer a flame from one location to another, such as from a fireplace to a candle, lantern or stove. Typically made using a special inverted plane, spills burn more slowly and consistently than paper, and also double as a convenient tinder material. We based the design of our spill plane on an 1850s Edward Preston spill plane in our collection.”

I am not sure what I think the most unique tool I have seen is. I will have to give some thought and share later. This should be a good topic though.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 3668 days

#2 posted 03-05-2012 07:47 PM

Spills are pretty useful in my house since I purn wood for heat. if you don’t want to use a match to transfer fire they work great (of course since I prep my wood by hand I alsways have plenty of tinder for the fire without resorting to spills)

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View Danpaddles's profile


588 posts in 3325 days

#3 posted 03-05-2012 07:54 PM

Louver Groover- without a doubt.

-- Dan V. in Indy

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Craftsman on the lake

3711 posts in 4451 days

#4 posted 03-05-2012 08:04 PM

This is a unique and cherished tool in my shop. 30 years ago my brother was a nuclear pipe welder at a federal submarine yard. He made this there and came home with it one day. The blade is submarine hull steel, Nickel Cobalt. I’ve never been able to sharpen it and it’s never really gotten dull. I had a diamond stone but quickly stopped using it as the diamond dust was being stripped off the stone. It has nostalgic and useful meaning to me.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View Don W's profile

Don W

19896 posts in 3581 days

#5 posted 03-05-2012 08:19 PM

I always thought it would be cool to have a spill plane.

My last unique project

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

View Brit's profile


8303 posts in 3856 days

#6 posted 03-05-2012 08:27 PM

Don – This is where you should post the Cooper.

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

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Don W

19896 posts in 3581 days

#7 posted 03-05-2012 08:32 PM

At Andy’s request.

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

View NJWiliam's profile


32 posts in 3581 days

#8 posted 03-05-2012 09:44 PM

Frank Klausz’s twist lock marking gauge.
I watched him using it at the recent woodworking show, very intuitive and clever.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5343 posts in 4974 days

#9 posted 03-05-2012 09:58 PM

My double blade purfling cutter used in guitar/violin building. Look it up.
Then, there are my golf clubs which haven’t been used in almost 10 years. Wanna buy a lefty set?

-- [email protected]

View jjw5858's profile


1135 posts in 3616 days

#10 posted 03-05-2012 11:30 PM

Well I certainly can say most times when anyone comes into my shop they always ask….what’s this do? Although not my own design I do get many questions on the German Springpole Lathe from Roys last book. It’s always a fascinating conversation piece…and usually gets people that have never worked wood really interested and wanting to learn more. When I show them spindels and how it works I always get an impressed or entertained reaction.

Then there are my attempts at some other old tools with my own unique design ideas applied to them, these two bow saws…usually that gets a few questions as well…even other woodworkers that are not as into older handtools usually really get a kick out of it.

Great post and thanks for sharing,


-- "Always continue to learn, laugh and share!" JJW

View Don W's profile

Don W

19896 posts in 3581 days

#11 posted 03-05-2012 11:45 PM

I never did get a firm answer as to what this was.

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

View DocBailey's profile


584 posts in 3373 days

#12 posted 03-06-2012 05:05 AM

View eddie's profile


8565 posts in 3627 days

#13 posted 05-19-2012 04:29 AM

Paul i got a order in for you book and dvd look forward to learning from you

-- Jesus Is Alright with me

View Jorge G.'s profile

Jorge G.

1537 posts in 3489 days

#14 posted 05-19-2012 04:20 PM

Welcome back Mr. Sellers, while I might disagree with you on some things I always enjoy your posts and techniques.

The only unusual tool I have is the Bridge City Tools Jointmaker pro…but on the subject of spill planes, I believe cigar smokers also prefer to light the cigars with spills, since (they say, although it does not make sense to me) a shaving of wood won’t contaminate the “flavor” of the cigar as a match or lighter would do.

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

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