Friday, January 6, 2017

An Old German Wooden Plane - Part 1

When I bought the wooden toothing plane of my recent posts, the seller was offering two planes for $20, so I took both.  The other plane was a German smoothing plane - the type with the horn in front.
German smoothing plane
On the top of the body, behind the horn is stamped "DRGM" in a circle, and "V. C. & Co. Germany", though it's possible that it is V. O. & Co).

Stamped marks

Apparently DRGM is short for "Deutsches Reiches Gebrauchs Musterschutz" - meaning protected patented design under the Reich Government.  Basically a German patent mark.

The plane is 8 5/8" long, 2 9/16" wide, with a 2" wide blade / chip breaker assembly.  The wedge seems much longer than it needs to be - the blade is short enough that you need to try not to hit the wedge when setting the iron.  [Note: after clean-up, the wedge sits lower and allows easier adjustment.]

The horn has an interesting shape as you can see in the first picture above.  But look at the shape when viewed from the back.  I'm sure this was for right handers who place their left hand on the horn.  Fortunately for me, I'm right handed.
Interesting horn shape
The heel of the plane is shaped for a comfortable grip - except for the hanging hook that the prior owner had installed.
View from back
The sole was in rough condition, with a few long gouges, a chunk missing at the left side of the toe area (top left in pic) and a divot just in front of the mouth on the plane's right side (bottom center of picture).
Sole (toe is to the left)
Close-up of toe area of sole
Close-up of mouth area of sole
I was most concerned with the mouth area, but as shown later, this was not too deep and a few swipes with a jointer plane leveled it.

This plane was very dirty, but the throat area was just plain disgusting!
Filthy! Disgusting! (said with a French accent from some cartoon of my youth)
The horn area had a lot of grime in the corners where it's hard to remove.

Horn area
The wedge was pretty gnarly, too, but not quite so bad.
Front of wedge
Back of wedge - note recess for the tip of the cap iron bolt
Here's a close-up of the recess.  You can see some machine marks at the bottom.  I'm not sure what, if anything, this tells us about when the plane was made.  But I'm starting to suspect that the iron and chip breaker were not original to this plane (or vise versa) and maybe not made in the same century.
Close-up of chip breaker bolt recess in the wedge
This recess is far too big for the tip of the bolt that fits into it.  Here's the iron and chip breaker assembly.
Iron and chip breaker - the tip of the bolt is all that goes into the recess in back of the wedge
Back side of the iron
Bevel side of the iron
Front of chip breaker
Back  of chip breaker
Note the extra piece attached to the back of the chip breaker.  This was added to give extra thread length for bolting the iron and breaker together.  This piece fits into the slot in the iron and the bolt is affixed from the back of the iron.  The head of the bolt resides in the recess in the plane body's bed.

The iron and breaker were made by Peugeot Freres ("Freres" is French for "Brothers").  This is the same Peugeot family that eventually made cars.  I'll get into that later.

Chip breaker engraving
This chip breaker needed a bit of work.  Where it meets the back of the iron is a little nicked up.
See the dent?  It also doesn't sit flat on the iron.
The bolt is a little dinged up, but it won't be a problem.
Chip breaker bolt
It's clear this plane needs a little TLC.  Next time I'll write about the clean-up and fettling.


  1. Interesting find. The manufacture of the plane and marking points to a 1920-30s era ( i could be off by 10 some years, going off the top of my head) the blade is probably a replacement, being French, which would explain the loose fit in its mortise for the bolt. That bolt arrangements for the cap iron is typical of 19th century Continental and British blade makers of the era. The fixing bolt hole being at the top, moved to the bottom ( like today's irons) in Approx 1895 (when first patented)

    Being some filthy with grime it sure could use a good scrubbing with soap ( i use Murphy oil soap) taking care not to obliterate the markings found.
    That funky shaped horn up front is very comfortable, providing you are RH, they of course made them for LH sinister people :-)

    This should make a great user, good find. And yes, please get rid of those hooks in the rear of your planes....

    Bob sipping coffee with Rudy trying to lay on my IPad :-)

    1. Bob, I have a part 2 and part 3 on the way about this plane. In part 2 I show the clean-up and first use of the plane. Alcohol and steel wool cleaned up the body and wedge nicely. And the metal parts came out OK, too. In part 3 I'll have some information about V. O. & Co. as well as Peugeot Freres. I think you're right about the age of the plane. I found out that V.C. & Co. was in business 1873 to 1925.

      Thanks for the link in your other comment. I'll check it out and maybe add some info to part 3 of the posts.

  2. Just came across this site, check it out...