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Metal Planer by George Plant & Son

Small manual metal planer

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Bazyle31/03/2017 15:46:42
6042 forum posts
220 photos

This is an overview of a small metal planer.
The bed is 17 in by 6 in with a bit over 7 in between the stanchions to allow a little extra width. Travel is 12in though something seems to be jamming at 10in at the moment. The tool slide has about 3 inches of unusable range without an excessively long bit but can be used practically over a 4 in range while the cross travel easily covers the maximum 7 in of a workpiece.
planer overview.jpg
The tool slide is precisely engraved "Geo Plant & Son Birmingham". This name gets nothing on an internet search so does anyone have any information on this company or its products? There are no other identity markings on the castings.
planer name.jpg

Bazyle31/03/2017 16:02:46
6042 forum posts
220 photos

The gantry cross slide is a10 tpi V thread though all other threads are square so this might have been a modification. The dial is marked on the face with 100 divisions labelled every 10 but the periphery is divided into 64 which might suit an eight tpi screw better (ie 4 divisions = 128th) for someone used to working in fractions.
planer gantry.jpg

Note the beautifully inlaid brass scale for setting tool slide angle.

The ratchet mechanism has 20 teeth to give a 5thou advance which is probably reasonable. The pawl flips over for rewind with the arms as shown but could be better set up for flipping for alternate direction. The vertical bar clamp is possibly not original.
planer ratchet.jpg

Bazyle31/03/2017 16:21:38
6042 forum posts
220 photos

The clapper has acquired a return spring at some time, probably a while ago as the spring is not a wire spiral but nowadays uncommon flat clockspring type. regrettably slapped straight through the name but shows it was used at some time by someone more intent on actually using it than the niceties of appearance.
The operating handle is for 4 spokes rather than an adjustable flat bar as seen on other small machines. The holes are not threaded or provided with grub screws so only practical for a single bar. Perhaps it was envisaged that the owner would fix the handles post delivery. Each stanchion is held by two bolts and a dowel and note the hole in the base casting flange for fixing to bench. There are no holes underneath for the stubby feet many bench planers have.
planer handle.jpg
The rear of the slide has two tapped holes for an end plate for aligning work. The thrust of course is in the opposite direction where perhaps some provision could also have been made at the other end.
planer slide end.jpg
The middle of the bed has a threaded hole probably for oiling the unusual chain drive mechanism. The front end of the chain has a rather worn adjusting screw to take up slack which also has a top hat washer indicating perhaps a missing spring.
planer chain.jpg

Bazyle31/03/2017 16:30:37
6042 forum posts
220 photos

You will have noticed the breaks in the table T-slots in the first photo. The other bodge that needs repair is the end of the cross traverse screw that has a washer that has been soldered in place.
planer bodge.jpg

Overall a nice little machine weighing in at about 120lb I guess. The key advantage of a planer such as this is the ability to make long rather than big items like machine slides or longer keyways which a shaper can't handle. It would also perhaps be useful to flatten cast clock plates.
Perhaps George Plant was a small instrument maker or clockmaker who made this as a one off for his own use. If for hobby users I wonder if there is an advert in pre-war ME which predate my collection.

peak431/03/2017 16:41:27
1504 forum posts
162 photos

For anyone in the North East who may be interested, there's a slightly different one for sale on ebay at the moment


Michael Gilligan31/03/2017 16:59:13
18994 forum posts
945 photos

Very nice looking machine, Bazyle ... and I think I know why.

Put "George Plant & Son" [including the quote marks] into a Google search.

... Several very encouraging hits.


Ady131/03/2017 17:26:24
4755 forum posts
715 photos

Put "George Plant & Son" [including the quote marks] into a Google search.


Bazyle31/03/2017 18:15:21
6042 forum posts
220 photos

Ah, thanks. I should have known that. His factory in Nelson street has been well flattened.
It will be interesting to see if there are any similarities in workmanship in other Plant products.

James Williams 329/08/2021 11:44:44
1 forum posts

I have started designing a power drive mechanism for a small planer and was looking at the Richard Wilson planer as the basis for my design. Do you have dimensions of the various parts of the planner as it seems to be a more straight forward design to produce. I would ideally like to increase the bed length and the throat size by about a quarter.

old mart29/08/2021 16:11:50
3351 forum posts
210 photos

Its a shame about the broken tee slots, I wonder if there is any way of turning the table round?

There is a bigger one at the Underfall Yard at Bristol.

imgp0881 (1).jpg

Edited By old mart on 29/08/2021 16:14:29

Bazyle29/08/2021 21:38:30
6042 forum posts
220 photos

James, the table is 6 in wide by 17 in long. However the stroke is only 11 in. Apart from the 2 in lost at each end by the slot design the table only goes forward until the back is level with the back of the gantry. Thus the slides put the tool further forward than expected. A cranked tool doesn't help as the stroke is limited by the fixings of the chain drive underneath. A rack drive could be made to give a longer stroke.
The gantry also has to be quite a lot wider to accommodate the width of the carriage.

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