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The 1882 Miller Patent Plough Plane Kit by Paul Hamler

A couple of years ago Paul Hamler offered a kit for the 1882 Miller Patent Plough Plane. This is an extraordinarily beautiful plane, and it was cast and presented by an extraordinarily talented craftsman renowned for his reproductions and miniatures.

The original Miller Patent Plough Plane was reported to sell in the $25,000 range. Clearly a rare and sought after plane by collectors. The kit was a limited run of 80 planes with a price of $400. These were advertised as follows …

Hamler investment-casts these planes in silicon-bronze. The kit comes fully assembled, with all drilling and machining completed by Hamler Tool. To complete the plane, you will need to disassemble the plane, smooth the surface areas of the castings (including the filigree work on the main body, skate and fence), apply a patina, if desired, and reassemble the plane. Then simply pein two pins and press-fit the knob into the fence in any vise with a four-inch opening.

These planes are fully functional and include one 1/4" iron of 01-tool-steel that can be hardened to your desired Rockwell hardness. The blade is non-tapered and has a V-groove that aligns with the skate.

I almost missed the boat. I dithered .. it was a lot of money .. then made up my mind … too late! Luckily for me Rob Lee heard about this and let me have one of the couple he had purchased. Thanks again Rob!

The kit arrived and looked exactly like the advert above. While it was beautifully made, and the casting was nearly complete – nothing like the rough kit for an infill block plane I have from St James Bay – it was nevertheless a little daunting at the time, and I put it aside.

Well it is now nearly two years on. Where has time gone? Too many projects …

The urge hit me to just do it today. So .. with files, sandpaper, and a couple of deburring wheels on the drill press … I got to work. About three hours later I came up with this …

The detail is simply superb!

And inspite of the blade not being tempered, I just had to try it out … not bad!

Well I hope I have done this plane justice. It is a stupendous piece, and I am very fortunate to have it. I do plan to use it – that is the best praise I can offer.

Regards from Perth


November 2009