Sometimes one finds things by accident. That was the was for this Rapier pressed-steel smoothing plane. The Rapier series of planes was manufactured by the Anglo Scottish Tool Company Ltd., of Team Valley, Gateshead 11 in England. The planes produces by this company are considered to be budget planes. They generally had components that would be considered somewhat rougher than similar tools from Stanley or Record. They are generally heavier than their Stanley cousins, and usually have handles made of “shockproof plastic” (not Bakelite).
The company produced a range of bench planes (No.400 & 450 Smooth, No.500 Jack, No.600 Fore, and No.700 Jointer), block planes, and plough planes in the 1950s and 1960s. The company’ logo has a rapier in it, X, but beyond that not much is written about the company. There is a photo of the factory in Gateshead Team Valley.
The plane is a pressed steel bench plane, one of a number of these smoothing planes manufactured over the years by different companies. It has the classic Rapier red colour scheme, and nickel-plated lever cap.
The thickness of the pressed steel is 9/80″, roughly twice the thickness of the pressed steel Stanley No.104 “Liberty Bell”, which is 1/20″ (0.8/16″).
The plane is based on two UK patents : No.634,026 of March 15, 1950, and No.631,568 of Nov. 4, 1949. (it seems these are the only patents filed by the Anglo Scottish Tool Company). The plane is described in detail in patent No.631,568:
“this plane has a body which is formed from a steel pressing, in place of the more usual iron or steel casting”
The plane body is constructed of two main parts: a pressed steel plane body, and a thick frog (or rather support plate) which is welded to the sides of the body. The front knob and rear handle are constructed of plastic, and attached via stems which are welded to the upper surface of the sole. The handles are attached to the stems using capping nuts. The lever cap is also constructed of pressed steel, and is nickel plated.
The lever cap, and the support plate used to rest the blade on.
Two of the most interesting aspects of this plane is the lever cap, and accompanying blade adjustment mechanism. The depth adjustment mechanism is very similar to the Norris-style adjuster. In the photographs below-left, one can see the cap iron with the plane iron fastened behind it. The plane iron has an elongated opening, which registers with the keyhole slot in the cap iron and is held in place with a bolt. This bolt is hollow to register with the pin of the blade adjustment mechanism. The photograph below-right shows the support plate, with the moveable adjustment pin projecting through the opening in the plate. The second patent No.634,026 relates to the cutting/backing iron arrangement.
The support plate
The blade adjustment mechanism provides both depth adjustment, longitudinally into and from the throat, and laterally across the throat. On the back side of the supporting plane there is a pivotally mounted block, through which passes a rotatable adjusting screw. The adjusting screw has a finger knob at the upper end to allow adjustment of the blade, and at the lower end is threaded into a nut assembly comprising a support plate, and the pin which engages with the blade/backing iron assembly. In this way, the adjusting screw can be pivoted laterally to move the blade laterally, or rotated to move the blade longitudinally.
The blade adjustment mechanism