Dating norris planes
I like to think my planes will contain some of the history of my professional life as a gold and silversmith, and as keen amateur woodworker, and in the distant past as a student in mechanical engineering.Not always being able to afford to buy named infill planes, I found lots of enjoyment in finding user made infill planes.This was effectively going back to the bare castings in brass and working forward.I reshape the casting, lead solder a steel base to the sole, re-cut the mouth, and remake the infill and a wedge if it's needed.(More on that later with some pictures of a Spiers plane in bits) The side plates of the skew mouth chariot plane with the tails formed.I cut down with a hacksaw and then cut along the base line with the jewellers saw, then file to the layout lines. The base is mild steel plate, and has the throat cut and the tongue and groove joint made. The pins cut in the base and are made to be about 1.5 mm proud of the sides.To know why they are the way they are, then to design a plane around those parametersits all part of the thrill of making a plane that works well, fits the hands, and looks good.
Most plane makers other then Spiers used this configuration on their planes, except for most mitre planes where the sides are often formed in one piece curving around the back, and /or already made into a open ended box with a bridge, so must come down from the top, and cannot be brought in from the sides as two separate pieces.
(silver and lead soldering) All planes will have critical angles, surfaces, or curves, and to make them I use the same techniques I use for hand making jewellery.
Most times I will just lay it out with a scribed line on the inked metal using a rule, square, protractor, bevel gauge and dividers, then go at it with saws, files and a drill.
Sometimes I will add decoration for its own sake, trying to get the happy balance of beauty and function that can be VERY elusiveeasy to see when it fails, but not so easy to dream up out of thin air.
I like brass sided planes so I use 3.0mm (1/8 inch) cartridge brass #260 for the sides, and I cut them out using a jeweller's saw on my jeweller's workbench.