Friday 27 December 2013

The Crown Plane Company

One of my Christmas presents this year was a neat little compass hollowing plane made by Jim White of the Crown Plane Company in the US. Mainly used for cleaning up hollowed chairs seats (James Mursell has one), I thought it might be a nice texturing tool for box lids or cabinet panels.
The finish is not to highest of standards, but then this is a very reasonably priced plane. The blade however has been beautifully shaped and sharpened, this is clearly a tool made to be used.
I know this is a personal thing but why do the Americans love dying wood? This plane is made from maple and it just looks a mess with this dark brown dye. If you want a brown plane why not just use a brown wood?

Jim took over the company in 1999 from leon Robbins who started it in the early 1980's, so it's been going for some time now. They keep a low profile but obviously do well (despite the brown dye!). If you want to see their full range of planes see here


  1. Never come across them before, interesting range. I quite like the brown look, although it's nicer to get that as a result of using the tool rather than it being sold that way.

  2. I've been an American all my life. I had no idea we loved dying wood. I guess I better get some dye asap so I can fit in! On a more serious note. I had been looking for some reasonably priced wood planes. I think I see an order or two in the very near future. Best part is they're made in America and dyed! We love dying wood!

  3. Hi Eric, I knew I'd get a reaction from someone, my Blog's mostly read by Americans!
    I think Jim makes good honest working planes, I'm sure you'll be happy. All the best, David.

  4. For what it's worth, I think they're ugly dyed like that too. I might see if I can get a not dyed model. I had run across these a few years back but forgot about them. It was nice to see them pop up again. It's bookmarked this time. Now if buying a few would make me half the woodworker you are I'd buy them all! Thanks for sharing your work with us and glad you took my reply in the manner it was intended. (not serious)

  5. I don't think Americans are particularly prone to dye things, and I have seen these planes in several woods, though maybe that was Leon's time.

    There is however a traditional finish for curly maple, that isn't actually a dye, but a reagent process. It was called aquafortis in the day, HNO3 today. It has many uses but when applied over curly maple the wood darkens markedly, then that effect is cut back with sandpaper to greater or lesser clarity.

    Of course this plane may well be dyed, but the root cause is the tradition of processing precious objects like gunstocks with the recipe.