Ass, Gas or Grass. Nobody Rides For Free.

Recently I picked up a pair of match planes from Josh at Hyperkitten Tool Co. I can not recommend working with enough. He always has great user stuff for reasonable prices, responsive to emails and quick shipping practices. I've been looking for the right set of these at the right time for a while.

The planes were made by A. Kelly & Ashfield Mass probably around the mid 1800's and showed up in fantastic shape.

Match planes help you easily cut a tongue and groove joint for edge joining boards. They are common planes but finding them relatively clean and unabused can be a challenge especially if they're sized for the always very popular 3/4" thick board. Without them I made this joint very rarely because the other hand tool way to do it involves a rabbet plane and plow plane. (yes there are other ways too.)

I knew the planes I ordered from Josh were made for wider stock and sometimes you can get away with it on thinner stock.

Groove plane with the skate removed.
These just wouldn't work on 3/4" thick stock, No problem because sistering a thin addition to the fence would push the cut over and make it work. Not to mention cover over the small amount of damage to the toe of the plane's fence.

I do need to stop for a second and point out the fantastic molding detail above the skates bed. You just can't get better than the details in old planes.

I added a thin slip of oak, about 1/8" thick, that centered the groove on 3/4" stock and I added a matching slip to the tongue plane. I used some small brass screws counter sunk to hold the slip in place so I can remove it and use the plane on thicker stock when the need arises.

I understand some may have trouble with my decision to make small screw holes in these old planes for my own dirty purposes. It wasn't done without consideration to that matter but there's another truth. I am a tool user not a collector. I have no problem truing up the bottoms of my wooden try plane or sharpening the teeth of my old saws, Every tool in my chest has to do it's job and earn it's keep and I have to do my job to maintain them and keep making things with them. As much as I appreciate the details and elegance of these old planes, they have to be useful to me. There are no freeloaders here.

Truth be told these match planes have paid their due twice now. One in usability, but the second in inspiration. I've been planing a kerfing plane and frame saw build for a while and struggling with how I wanted to execute the body of the kerfing plane. Using the groove plane in this set felt just like I thought a kerfing plane should, so I used it as template.

Kerfing planes coming soon!

Ratione et Passionis


  1. Here's a set of match planes I picked up a few years ago complete with owner's marks:


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