One of my Favorite Plane Restores

Over the years, I’ve restored hundreds if not thousands of tools. In every instance, I usually think of the same thing. “I wonder who owned this tool and when did they buy it?” The question is something I can almost never answer until now.

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I bought this Kruse & Bahlmann Hardware No 6C at the Springfield Antique Show last month. Kruse & Bahlmann Hardware operated several hardware stores in the Cincinnati area. The guy who had it had a couple of other bench planes for sale so I bundled them all up and offered him a price for all three. I knew the plane wasn’t a Stanley, but still felt it was worthy of a restore. A lot of competitors of Stanley like Union, Sargent, Ohio Tool Co, and even old Craftsman’s made quality planes back in the day. In fact, Sargent often private labeled their planes for hardware stores around the country so sometimes, I’ll end up finding odd ball “No Name” planes in the market. However, they are still Sargent planes.

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This plane was quite different from any other plane I restored in the past. Not in the way it was made, but when I took off the rear tote, I saw this little piece of paper in the slot.

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When I opened it up, inside it was written “Fred G W Meyer, Property of Sept 10, 1938”. It had to be a note from the original owner of when he bought the plane. It was like opening a time capsule that has been locked away for nearly 70 years.

Just think, in September of 1938, Hitler had just taken over control of Czechoslovakia a year before invading Poland starting WWII. Then it got me thinking again. I hope this poor guy wasn’t drafted into the army and was killed during WWII. The blade of the plane had been used, but the remaining length of blade remaining is about the same as if Fred would have used it daily for three years until 1941 when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. I’ll never know the answer if Fred served in WWII, but the penmanship of the hand writing reminds me of someone who was young in age at the time. If Fred was a young man in 1938, it’s quite possible that he did serve in WWII.

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I loved seeing the note, so the only right thing to do was to fold it back up and stick it back under the tote where it belongs.

28 thoughts on “One of my Favorite Plane Restores

  1. Funny thing is that I always liked the #6 plane, too. To me it always seemed more practical for the field carpenter, as in a bit smaller and easier to fit in a tool box yet still functional enough to work as a jointer.


  2. A narrow number six like this is actually really nice to hold and use. It’s the same width (2 3/4″) as a Stanley 5 1/2, but is 3″ longer (18″) for jointing boards. People go silly for Stanley 5 1/2’s as I can get over $100 for them, yet people won’t even look twice at these Sargent planes because they’re not Stanley’s. Maybe Chris Schwarz needs to write an article about these planes. That way I can get $200 for them. haha


  3. Pingback: Plane time capsule » HACKNEY TOOLS

  4. Colin Sullivan

    Certainly a great story, here in the UK you can some times find a coin let into the handle of a mallet concealed by the head, dated the year it was made, do you find the same thing in the USA?
    My latest find was a Norris tool makers vice at our local Sunday market.can I send a picture of it?


      1. Colin Sullivan

        On 8 Jun 2015, at 20:21, MVFlaim Furnituremaker wrot This is the Norris Vice, it is clearly marked Norris on the other side! Colin. > >


  5. Wayne Kovsky

    Since you are in Ohio, you might be interested to know that Meyer is buried in Dayton Memorial Park Cemetery. I found him via, his memorial number there is 139829438.


      1. Wayne Kovsky

        I am the current custodian (I can’t “own” things that are already nearly 100 years old and have plenty more years left in them) of tools that were used long before I was born, and that I hope will be used long after I am gone. I would love to know something about the men whose hands made these tools work before they came into my hands. I try to honor them in the way I use and maintain their tools. That’s why this story appealed to me, and why I did a small bit of research to further the story.

        Here’s a little more info: Frederick Meyer’s mother was Mary Ethel Meyer (that name appeared on both draft notices), but she used Ethel. There is an Ethel Meyer buried in the same cemetery, and with the same plot number as Frederick, so that is almost certainly his mother. Her memorial number is 139829435.

        I might have bought the plane myself if I had seen this story sooner, just because such a documentable connection is so rare in an old tool. Enjoy your plane and its history!


  6. Thanks so much Wayne, I really appreciate this info. You obviously share a love of these old tools.
    BTW, I just found out that I won the ‘Reader’s Choice’ Popular WW for two projects I made using this plane…….. a Chester County William & Mary spice box (my home where I grew up on a farm) and a Bible box. Should be in the Pop. Wood Mag sometime soon.



  7. Pingback: Another Surprise Plane – MVFlaim Furnituremaker

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