The block planes of superheroes (vii) – Linford

In the second last post of the series, we look at a more unusual pressed steel block plane. This plane was manufactured by the Linford Engineering Co. Ltd., of Sparkhill Birmingham. This is one in incredible condition I recently purchased from Old Hand Tools, in the U.K. Linford steel plane came in its original box, and looks as though it has barely been used.

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It is hard to find out a lot about Linford, except that their address was 93a Baker Street, Sparkhill, Birmingham, 11, England. The company may have existed in the early 1900s. Single digit postal codes appeared in the U.K. circa 1932, so it is likely these planes stem from the 1930s. When I Googled the address now, it seems to be a residential address, which maybe implies that it was an industrial area bombed during WW2, and rebuilt as residential postwar?

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Side elevation of plane and original box

This plane is one of the longer steel block planes, at 7½”, with a width of 1-5/8″. In the toe of the body is stamped “LINFORD / PAT APP. FOR / BIRMINGHAM / ENGLAND.” Linford also made a No.2 sized plane, also 7½” in length with a 1-5/8″ wide blade.

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The blade

It is possible that there was a patent for it, but none that I could find. The adjustment mechanism would be the one unique feature on this plane – the top of the blade has been stamped, with two “ear-like” tabs, that are then folded over, and 90° to the blade, forming a partial lip (above, left). These “ears” engage with a groove in a knurled adjustment nut. In the inner portion of the groove is an eccentric lever attached to the threaded stud used to adjust the depth of the blade. When the lever is adjusted by moving it side-to-side, the “ears” of the blade also move from one side to the other, pivoting the blade and allowing for lateral blade adjustment (i.e., such that the cutting edge of the blade is set parallel to the sole).

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The adjustment mechanism

The blade is held in place on the bed of the plane using another knurled nut attached to a threaded stud attached to the plane’s built-in frog.

Although it seems somewhat lesser quality plane, the knurled knobs say otherwise, although not all components are as quality driven. Below (left) shows the rear palm brace welded onto the sole, and (right) the seam where the frog is joined to the planes sole.

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Still, an extremely comfortable plane to hold.

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