Who am I? My name is Mike. I live in Toronto, Canada. I cook, I renovate, I build, I read. I’m a rhykenologist, which means I collect woodworking planes. And other woodworking tools – and I restore them. I also collect cookbooks, but there doesn’t seem to be a good word for that. Maybe I’m a culinarian?



I like model trains, although that’s more of a winter hobby. Only N scale, and mostly trains from Germany and Switzerland. I read mostly historical mystery and some thrillers… and lots of non-fiction from travel books to design, woodworking, crafts.

This blog focuses mostly on things that are made by hand, travel, maybe some reviews, recipes.

18 thoughts on “About

  1. michaellangford2012 says:

    We definitely have a common interest in planes. I’ve been restoring and using woodworking tools for about thirty years, really like old coffin smoothers. Have you ever run across a sort of rabbet plane called an Up-to-Date? It’s a cast aluminum body with an L-shaped cutter, actually very useful for adjusting door hinge mortices. I’m trying to find one for a friend. thanks, M

  2. Mike D says:


    Great topics and a fascinating read. I actually found you through a post you made on another site regarding a deck you built. I would love to have an offline email chat about that experience.

    (also) Mike.

  3. Gary Roberts says:

    Great blog! Instead of sleeping, I spent a good hour or more reading through your posts. To be sure, I’ve added a link on my browser to keep up to date on your words.

  4. Steve Casey says:

    I am sitting here looking at a Stanley 65(?) I just bought. The plane body has no foundry marks. The pin for the eccentric lever is integral to the body. It has the 1/8″ high front knob boss(pre 1910). It came with a hooded bottom lever, fine cross hatching lever cap(looks like from an 1886-1900 Stanley #9 1/2). It also has the thicker knurled knob rear adjusting screw which was introduced in 1930.
    It IS a low angle.
    So, I figure neither the lever cap or the adjusting screw are original to this plane. It is definitely a 65 body because I have it next to one of my other 65s and it is identical except for thicker casting on the sides.
    Any idea what this plane really is?
    Steve Casey

    • spqr says:

      Hi Steve,
      Do you have a pic you can post? As often the case, I suspect over the years the plane had parts modified. It could
      however be a really early No.65, as they had the same lever cap as the 9 1/2. The weird thing may be the pin for the eccentric lever, but if it is integral, it could also signify an early model.

  5. Susan Shaw says:

    Hi Mike, I recently acquired an old Stanley block plane. I think it might be a #18. However, it doesn’t look exactly like the two you shared in a blog. Can I email you a pic for your opinion on what model/age plane I have?

    Thanks for your awesome blogs 🙂


  6. Marzena says:

    Hello Mike, is it possible to email you? I have got a lot of vintage toolls from my grandgrandparent house and I would like to direct them to someone who is worth theirs value:) Best regards, Marzena

  7. Greg Ricketts says:


    Just found your website. It is wonderful. Well organized with excellent content. I have been collecting and researching Fulton cast iron hand planes markets by Sears, Roebuck & Co. from 1904-1943. I was wondering if you have written anything on these tools? My research has been very fruitful to date with a clear timeline of features emerging that allows an ever narrowing date range of various planes.


    • spqr says:

      Hi Greg,

      Sorry for the delay. No, I haven’t written next to anything on Fulton. I know that it was a pre-Craftsman brand, usually made by Sargent. (similar to the Dunlaps made by Stanley or Millers Falls). Sometimes its hard to find info on these makers, as they are often brands attached to clones.
      sorry, I’ll post anything if I find something.

  8. Dana Linck says:

    I Seek assistance with identifying the maker / date of a heavily oxidized plane blade from an archeological site near Princeton, NJ.? It may be associated with a church constructed in the 1830’s. The blade has boldly stamped letters across the butt end that may be: “..WROU..”, “..WHOU..” OR “..WBOU..”. At least one preceding letter and maybe two following letters are illegible. No similarly bold letters are on lines above or below those. I’ve photo’s to send, if interested.
    Thanks for any consideration given. Dana Linck

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