Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Tale of Two Planes

I bought these two planes on eBay, from separate sellers, about a year apart.

The first is an Ohio Tool Co. #75 one inch tongue plane. I'm not sure of the age, but judging from the particular version of the maker's mark, and the width of the bevels, I'm pretty sure it is from mid to early in 19th century. It also has a "L. PHILLIPS" owner's mark stamped in several locations.

The second plane is an H. Chapin plane. H. Chapin was the precursor to Chapin/Union Factory, which I believe dates this plane to the first half of the 19th century. I'm not sure how it started out, but it is now a cove plane. You can see in the picture that its sole has been modified - part of the original No. 219 stamp was planed off. When I got it, there were the remnants of a fence attached to the plane. I removed these bits and replaced it with a new fence. It is stamped 3/8, but the cove it cuts is closer to 1/4 of an inch.

So, you are probably wondering why I am writing about these two planes. What do they have in common? Well, they were both once owned, and presumably used, by one Jacob Myers, who stamped (branded?) his name into both planes.

Now, I'm always a bit sentimental about planes and owner's marks. I wonder who they were, and what they made with the plane. I have multiple planes with the same owner's marks, often with the same chain of owners' marks. But those planes have always come to me as a set - still together after all the years - which is amazing. But these two planes were together, probably on the east coast, got separated who knows when, and now, through random chance and the combined power of the Internet, eBay, and the U.S. Postal Service, are together again on my shelves in Alaska. I think that is pretty incredible...


  1. WOW! What are the odds? That's really cool.

  2. It is nice to see there is someone else out there who is as sentimental about old tools as I am.

    Owners marks on tools really leave me in a quandary. On the one hand I love to see them. The few tools that I own that have them give me pause for the same reasons they do you; who was this guy and what did he do with this? On the other hand, if I ever met up with them I would give them hell for marking up the tool the way they did.

    On the one hand they add so much to the tools' meaning and history. On the other, most are just damn ugly.



  3. Synchronicity or Divine Intervention? We may never know.

    But the two little guys sure look like they missed one another!

  4. Wow.

    Just out of curiosity - do you remember what states the sellers were in? It would be even more amazing if they were in states like Oregon and Texas that would be far from one another and the east coast.


  5. I did some searching and found this info on Jacob Myers, 1810-1864,

    "Family notes and stories have Jacob as being a wagonmaker and carpenter in Indiana and worked for the Studebaker Brothers making Conestoga Wagons before the advent of automobiles. Until 1983 we owned a HUGE wooden box of his carpenter/wagonmaking tools."

    You can read the whole post here:


  6. Bob - Thanks, it's validating that others find this interesting too. I thought maybe it was just me...

    Mitchell - I particularly like the ones where they stamp their mark in dozens of places. Maybe those are from people who had bad prior experiences with theft?

    Kari - I know, they do! I was imagining their reunion: "Yo! Ohio! Where you been man?"

    Jason - unfortunately, I don't remember exactly where the sellers were located. I am pretty sure one was on the East coast - NC maybe? The other was PA maybe? I wish I could remember.

    Thanks for the information! Very cool! I wonder if that was him? It seems like the right time...

    Thanks All!

  7. That is so cool!! I am sure that Mr. Myers would be proud that a woodworker in the 21st century will use his tools once again to create fine works of art.

  8. David - Well, he's going to need to be satisfied that someone is using his tool to make something - if he insists on the fine art I might need to pass these on to someone else ;)

    But seriously, I'd like to know that my tools will end up with someone that appreciates and uses them, so maybe he is happy...


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