Those who are interested in this subject will be familiar with the Goodmans British planemakers from 1700, editions 1-4, that have developed over the years with superseded versions with enriched content. The later versions, being authored by Jane and Mark Rees.
The books themselves are worth owning as a collection as not everything was included when they were revised. The latest 4th edition does have more planemakers but I have to be honest with the exclusion of the rarity aspect would have been worthy of the extra effort needed, maybe this will be addressed in future editions. Saying that it doesn’t take away the enormous effort it must have taken to complete the 4th addition.
Books are only part of the story with this subject as there is much more to learn besides when identifying important rare wooden planes. There are those characteristics of early planes that once learned, help to identify them amongst a batch of regular 19th century manufactured planes.
The earlier 18th-century moulding planes are usually around 10″ in length and when you find them their softer chamfered edges, rounded backs and a rounded wedge contribute to what are usually high-quality planes.
Moulding planes were great survivors as they weren’t used every day and were often placed on a shelf by users gathering nothing but dust if they were kept in a dry place. Other wooden planes that were used on a daily basis didn’t get this luxury and why it’s rare to find any wooden 18th-century Jointers, Jacks, or Smoothers but often get overlooked by many a tool collector.
I’ve learned more as I have gone along with this subject and still have a way to go yet that’s for sure, but it’s a fascinating subject, it’s well worth taking the time to educate yourself in this subject.
Prices for the rarest makers have fallen steadily as knowledge has been lost and this is an area that is really important with the history of tools.
Respecting the fact that anything prior to 1820 is now over 200 years old it’s surprising that this area of the antique tool market isn’t followed by more collectors or appreciated as much as maybe it should be.
If you ever use the later types, one that’s been set up correctly and is sharp you will soon realise how underrated these planes are.
It would be good to hear your thoughts on this subject.