Saturday 26 May 2012

David Stanley Auction

I visited the David Stanley auctions for the first time, this wasn't the international auction but it was still well attended. I was gently reprimanded by the auctioneer  for taking this photo during proceedings!

I had arranged to meet Bill Carter, seen here holding one of his fine jointer planes.  The other gent in the picture is Richard Arnold who made the two planes below in the style of 18thC bench planes.

Richard did a very nice job, particularly the ornately shaped offset handles. The planes had already been sold to an American for several hundred pounds.

Here is Richards stamp, in keeping with the period.

On the subject of plane makers here is a fledgling maker Timothy Smith whose mitre planes really caught my eye. Everything about his little planes was right, the look, feel, size and balance was spot on. The finish he achieved was superb. Tims day job is with a very famous cabinet maker where he has been working for 26 years, this explains a lot. By the time I met him he had already sold his finished stock, so I bought the plane shown below right in bog oak. I'm very much looking forward to receiving the finished article in a few weeks.

Bog oak plane on the right and one in Laburnum on the left. The mouth closers are in holly and the blades are old cast steel.

Here is his name stamp. The plane cost a very reasonable £250 considering the workmanship and time taken to produce. Tim's next project will be an infill plane, watch this space. Tim can be contacted at

So back to the main reason for my visit, Bill Carters planes. This little grouping above is worth about £20,000! They are wonderful tools and work superbly.

Bill kindly gave me this little boxwood plane. It's very cute and amazingly works quite well. Bills wife Sarah also treated me to lunch, I was doing doing very well. Many thanks to you both.

Of all of the planes, this is the one I really would have liked, but I couldn't stretch the plane budget. I didn't leave without buying a plane however and I bought a really nice all bronze (that's not brass!)mitre.

Here are the cupids bow dovetails on both the sides and bottom, you can't do this in wood! I called them ducks feet and was gently reprimanded, again!
As far as the auction goes I never left Bills stand and missed the whole thing! But I met a lot of very nice and very talented people, an excellent day out.


  1. Not to sound to clueless but, is bog oak a type of tree or did it turn dark due to being in a bog?

  2. You are right, the dark colour is from being in a bog, for about 5,000 years! The bog preserves the trees although the cell structure collapses. This makes the wood much harder and more dense than normal oak. It is very difficult to dry without serious degredation and has to be cut on the quarter to have a chance of producing sound wood. The process is very labour intensive and very wastful. Bog oak is one of the most expensive woods on the market, if you can find it!

  3. I live very close to where the auctions are held and I keep forgetting to go. I'll definitely not forget having now seen the riches on display. A hand plane and lunch, not a bad haul.

    1. This was my first time but apparently the international auctions are twice as busy. I may well take a stand, I think my tools will sell well there.

  4. Must have been amazing to see that many Bill Carter planes in one spot, almost as many as your collection David...:-).