The block planes of superheroes (iv) – Miller Falls

Millers Falls were a late player into the realm of steel block planes, actually a later player into the plane-game as a whole. Although they were not without merit, and didn’t simply copy the designs of others such as Stanley. In both their steel block planes, they introduced an air of streamlining which is most noticeable in the lever caps. They used the same bevelled holes as “hand-y” finger grips, as Stanley. As mentioned, the nickel-plated lever caps really stand out, and would not exactly be trivial to stamp from metal, and are thus drop-forged.

(These planes are in pristine condition, likely never used).


The No.206, with a 20º bedding angle, was introduced circa 1940, and remained in circulation until 1959, when it was replaced by the No.206B. The lever cap was drop forged, so not pressed steel like some of the other steel block planes.


The plane suffers somewhat from a small usability issue – the shape of the lever cap interferes with the manipulation of the lever-cap thumbscrew (this problem still exists in the No.206B, but to a lesser extent). Conversely, the fact that this thumbscrew is low means that t does not poke up into the users palm. The frog on the No.206 is almost in the form of an arch, with two feet at either end that are spot welded to the plane base. This holds both the machine screw to retain the lever cap, and the depth adjustment mechanism.


From a cost perspective, the No.206 sold for $4.00 in the No. 49 catalog (1949), versus the more standard No.16 or No.56, which sold for $3.80.


Following the cancellation of the No.206, Millers Falls introduced the No.206B, with the only perceivable differences being the reduction of the bedding angle from 20º to 12º, and modification of the depth adjustment mechanism.


In contrast to the No.206, the No.206B has a one-piece moulded frog, which is also spot welded to the planes body. This is likely due to reduced complexity, and the low-angle stature of the plane.



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