Benefit Auctions

Paul Hamler Bronze Plow, Two Sets Jim Reed Irons

Wiley Horne--So. Calif.
Paul Hamler Bronze Reproduction: Charles Miller’s 1872 Patent Improved Joiner’s Plow Plane

AUCTION. Auction ends Thursday, Nov. 9, at 6pm Pacific (9pm Eastern). I pay shipping; your entire winning bid goes to WoodCentral. If purchaser is not pleased with the tools, for any reason or you just changed your mind, please email me and I will buy them back for what you paid. No questions asked or other unpleasantness, and I'll be happy to get them back.
Bids from overseas are welcome and same buy-back guarantee applies. Will ship Air Mail. So as not to repeat an unhappy experience, out-of-country orders (including Canada) will be shipped ordinary post (not UPS, etc) with customs form marked 'gift' and indicating used condition, so you don't get stuck with brokerage and taxes.

DESCRIPTION. This auction contains three items:
1. Charles Miller Patent of 1872 Plow Plane (Paul Hamler reproduction in bronze).
2. Two sets of 7 irons each, made by Jim Reed.


Here are two references to the original 1872 patented plane. The first is Patrick Leach’s ‘Blood and Guts’, almost to the bottom of the page,

and the second is Meeker’s ‘Patented Antiques’,

The original plane is extremely rare, and equally desirable, with examples when found going for many thousands of dollars. Patrick states that the plane was likely made by Stanley, for the Russell & Erwin Mfg. Co. of New Britain, CT., and considers it ‘...a masterpiece in Victorian tool design’ (from above reference to Patrick Leach’s well-known website.). Meeker states that the plane only appeared in the Russell & Erwin catalogue for one year, in 1875. It is believed never to have appeared in a Stanley catalogue; indeed Stanley was selling the other competitive Miller’s Patent ploughs 41-44 during this period.

Paul Hamler reproduced the gunmetal version of the 1872 original, in silicon bronze. Ellis’ original WoodCentral ad in 2007 for the Hamler reproduction was as follows: ‘Paul has sold over 375 completed planes, the last 125 at a price of $800 each. Now he is offering 80 of the remaining planes as kits, for $400 each, including shipping to the lower 48 US states.’

This auction is for one of the WoodCentral-offered planes. The plane was shipped to me fully cast and drilled, with the fence arms polished. What remained was to file and sand some casting dross from the main body and fence, and to peen two brass pins which connect the blade-holding linkage. I have completed the filing and sanding, but did not peen the pins, which I will point out in the photos. Some people added a patina coating to their planes; I did not add any coating to this plane, as I think the natural patination of the bronze is fine.

You are perfectly free of course to further detail places where you think I could have done better, using abrasive paper or files. The plane’s surface will quickly, in just a few days, repatinate naturally to an even tone and color. You can do this any number of times—I have gone back and redone this place or that—the metal surface will always return quickly to an even tone and color throughout.


Jim Reed, known to many of us, milled a set of 7 plough irons from O-1 steel, had them heat treated and tempered, and then ground them to a sharp, usable edge on a wet-grinder. He modeled these irons after the original Miller Patent plane irons. Jim’s irons were made specifically for use with the Paul Hamler plane, and Jim marked each iron with an ‘H’ in recognition of this fact.

The irons are 3/16, 1/4, 5/16, 3/8, 1/2, 5/8, and whimsically, 1”. They are accurately dimensioned, and work very well. (NOTE: I bought two sets of these irons, and am offering both sets in this auction. I wavered as to whether to split the sets, so as to make a set available to those who bought the plane, and now want irons for it. In the end, I decided to keep it all together, and give the winner the option to sell the extra set if there is demand for it.)

Jim shipped the irons with a page of comments on the Paul Hamler plane reproduction, and instructions on how to install the irons. These are in the package you receive. You could figure out the blade installation quickly yourself, but I want the package to be complete.


The irons will be shipped in a waxed-canvas tool wrap; the plane in a canvas bag, so that you have a way to keep it all together, plus the quality of the plane and the irons calls for respect.


The plane is a miracle of casting, with the ornate Victorian floral scrolling is crisp and perfect, without voids or flaws. Second, as a user it is compact in the hand, and the bronze is hefty. It ploughs well. Jim Reed did a fine job on the irons; they are hard and sharp. I put a final light hone on them with my best natural Japanese stone, but they were usably sharp when received.


1. There is no 1/8” iron, because the skate itself is 5/32”. The smallest iron is 3/16”.
2. Jim Reed, whose statement is included in the package, says the bronze is not stout enough for really vigorous ploughing. I can only say that I have used the 3/16 and 1/4” irons, ploughing with what I think are normal thickness shavings of 10-15 thousandths in maple, and the plane felt rock solid. If any doubt arises in the buyer’s mind about the soundness of the plane for work (or for any other concern) I will buy back the plane in any condition, no matter how much time has passed, with no questions asked, and will not feel put out.


1. Side view
2. More Side view
3. Top (note the two pins, unpeened)
4. Oblique


The bronze plough plane reproduction by Paul Hamler, and two sets of 7 irons each by Jim Reed, each with wraps:

The irons and their wrap:

The plane and its bag:

Plus Jim Reed’s shipping enclosures, Thanks for reading this far! Happy bidding!

Wiley Horne

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