Hand Tools Archive

Re: Birthday gift to myself

John Aniano in Central NJ
Hello Chuck,

I looked again at the infill planes I own and found that those that are stamped "STEEL" on the toe are always dovetailed. I'd guess yours is dovetailed too. Those not stamped, well it's a 50:50 chance...

And I stand corrected - none of my planes are stamped "Dovetailed" on the toe end. Only "STEEL". I guess I was misremembering...

Look carefully at the front (and back) corners of the sides and bottom. If the inside corner is very sharp and defined, it could be dovetailed. The few cast examples I have show an indistinct, often rounded, inside corner. The dovetailed ones are quite sharp in the corners.

Also, the sides can often be quite a bit thinner than the bottom in a dovetailed plane. Almost half the thickness of the bottom. Cast plane's sides and bottom are nearly the same thickness. At last in my examples.

It is often very hard to see the actual dovetails. Let's face it, they were aiming to make them invisible! Look carefully and you might see them. Use a magnify lens. Maybe rub some India ink or Dykem blue over the region and wipe off the excess. Perhaps it will make the dovetail joints more apparent.

Best of luck with it!


© 1998 - 2017 by Ellis Walentine. All rights reserved.
No parts of this web site may be reproduced in any form or by
any means without the written permission of the publisher.