Unknown tools please help identify

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Forum topic by changeoffocus posted 12-03-2014 09:08 PM 1368 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View changeoffocus's profile


467 posts in 2070 days

12-03-2014 09:08 PM

Topic tags/keywords: planes tools

I took pictures of what appear to be specialized tools in a 150 year old building that was at one time associated with wooden barrel and vats. These were three of several at the site.
The building owner would like to know what they are and I told him I know just the place to find out.
The have hooks and fittings that make me think they were connected together to perform their intended function.
They are quite heavy and the width of those shown is about 3” for perspective.
Thanks in advance for information you can provide.

8 replies so far

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10669 posts in 4505 days

#1 posted 12-03-2014 09:16 PM

Obviously OLD Plane parts…

.. pretty sure… BUT…

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:

View Chris Cute's profile

Chris Cute

2 posts in 1725 days

#2 posted 12-03-2014 09:20 PM

I’ll bite and state what appears to be obvious to me.

They’re hand planes. Although I’ve never seen a curved hand plane before. However, since you mentioned that they are from an old barrel factory, then I’d have to assume there was a need to plane the exterior of the barrels or the edges of the circular lids (top and bottom) for the barrels that they made. The flat plane I’m going to assume as to flatten the top and bottom edges of the barrels.

Those are just my guesses, but I’m sure they’re hand planes.

-- Make the First Cut Woodworking

View bold1's profile


328 posts in 2300 days

#3 posted 12-03-2014 09:21 PM

The one looks like it is a sun plane for the top of the staves. The other appears to be a croze.

View Tim's profile


3828 posts in 2414 days

#4 posted 12-03-2014 09:22 PM

I’ll state the obvious and say they look like they are non adjustable versions of a circular/compass plane, but I don’t have any specific information to confirm that. Circular/compass planes are used to plane curved surfaces and these fixed ones would probably be used for a given circle or curve of an approximately fixed radius like a certain size barrel or vat top or bottom. It makes sense since an adjustable plane like a Stanley 113 wouldn’t be as sturdy and hold up to being used over and over in a production environment.

View Stew81's profile


45 posts in 1818 days

#5 posted 12-03-2014 09:37 PM

They are planes for smoothing barrels. They would put the barrels on a large lathe and a hook was attached to the hoop in front of the plane to help keep the plane under control. Pretty rare planes these days I bet… There is a short description of the process near the back of “The Hand Plane Book”. It also describes the planes they used for flattening the tops and bottoms but the planes in the picture are definitely the type used for smoothing the outside of the barrel on a lathe.

-- Stew

View Arlin Eastman's profile

Arlin Eastman

4261 posts in 3014 days

#6 posted 12-03-2014 10:19 PM


I am pretty sure Stew is right. Hope you can fix them up and use them on something.

-- It is always the right time, to do the right thing.

View changeoffocus's profile


467 posts in 2070 days

#7 posted 12-03-2014 11:01 PM

I am amazed how fast these were identified, they do not belong to me.
I will pass on this information to their owner.
Amazing all the answers in about two hours.
Thank you all.

View bobro's profile


320 posts in 1763 days

#8 posted 12-03-2014 11:34 PM

Ever wonder how they get those topiary-like hair-dos on poodles? Now you know!

Seriously though, they’re cooper’s planes. The big one looks like a topping plane, but the small concave one can’t be a croze- the croze plane is convex, as the croze of a barrel is the groove along the inside into which the head fits and a croze (the plane) therefore looks like a kind of convex rabbet plane. The howel is similar to the croze but chamfers the edge around the inside above the croze (groove).

I think that Stew81 is correct in saying that these are specifically for the outside of the barrel, on a lathe.

I’ll keep an eye out for these at our local swap meet- there are generally almost no decent woodworking tools, but this is wine country so cooper’s tools are one of the few things that turn up a lot, saw half a dozen differently shaped drawknives the other day.

-- Lao Ma: You are so full of anger and hatred. Xena: Everybody's gotta be full of something.

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