Provenance of cloned woodworking planes

Few Rhykenologists would likely admit to collecting planes with a label such as Craftsman, or Dunlap – cloned planes made for catalog companies such as Sears – by toolmakers such as Stanley, Sargent and Millers Falls. However such planes are often not much different from their company brethren, except they have a different name stamped onto them. Vintage catalog-type planes were quality made tools. The trick with any of these planes is deriving their provenance, more so than branded planes. Provenance usually implies manufacturer, model and date of manufacturer. With branded planes it is more often the case of identifying the version of a particular plane. Often there is very little written about these clone planes, except for a non-descript catalog picture. Tracing the origin of such a plane is not as trivial as it seems, and requires access to vintage or reprint catalogs, and some forensic work. Below is an example of an original Sargent catalog from 1926.

sargent_1926cover

For Stanley planes there is the the ubiquitous Patrick’s Blood and Gore, or for Millers Falls OldToolHeaven, but beyond that online resources can be sparse, especially when it comes to planes like block planes, or combination planes – a great resource for the latter is Cornish Workshop.

Other than catalogs, it’s good to have access to books such as:
* David. E. Heckel, Sargent Planes Identification and Value Guide (2nd ed.) (2004)
* Clarence Blanchard, Antique Trader Tools Price Guide (2nd ed.), (2007) ISBN:978-0-89689-519-5
* Ronald S. Barlow, The Antique Tool Collector’s Guide to Value, (1991) ISBN:0-933846-01-0
* R.A. Salaman, Dictionary of Tools used in the woodworking and allied trades c.1700-1970, (1975) ISBN: 0-684-14535-9

Deriving the provenance of cloned planes requires a knowledge of the physical characteristics of similar planes, often obtained from catalogs.

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