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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Not often seen is the Howkins Plane. Made for a short period after the First World War.
The plane was invented by John Howkins a British engineer. He first Patented the plane
in 1913. The patent itself has little resemblance to the plane that went into production.
But the main feature of the blade setting mechanism can be seen.

It's thought that the time lapse of over a decade between the patent and the planes
production, was due to the First World War and the lack of raw metrials there after.

This is a Howkins Model B.

IMG_0767.jpg

As you can see to say it's a little different is an understatement.
The hole thing is not much larger than the palm of your hand.
But it is surprisingly comfortable to hold.

IMG_0765.jpg IMG_0766.jpg

The two photos above show how amazingly precise the blade ajustment is.
To raise the blade the distance shown in the two photos, took 22 turns of the
of the adjuster at the top of the plane.
Although it looks a bit like theres two blades, the top one acts as the spurs.
They travel just in advance of the blade, which is underneath.

IMG_0761.jpg IMG_0762.jpg

It's easy to see that the plane was designed by an engineer and not a carpenter.
Maybe thats part of the reason it didn't take off.
Howkins made three versions of the plane Models A,B and C.

Howkins claimed the plane was suitable for Dado, Rebating, Ploughing, Matching, Moulding, inlaying,
Chamfering and Dovetailing.
With Howkins being an engineer, I think he was looking at the idea of working the timber more like
he would a piece of steel.
Trying to make a plane that work like a lathe or milling machine.
He was probably the only person who ever really new how to use it.
He could think outside the square, thats for sure.

I use the plane quite alot, it makes for a great little matching and rebating plane when doing light cabinetry work.
It takes some time to set, and there's alot of planes that can do the same job faster.
But where's the fun in that.
When the plane first came on the market the instructions on how to use it, were handwritten on a swing tag
tied to the plane with a piece of string. "No Joke".
I wish I had one, it would make for some interesting reading.

Although the plane itself is quite well known to a lot of collectors.
It seems odd that there is so little known about how it all worked and the man who made it.
After all it was made less than a hundred years ago and in London.

In the end it's a great little talking point, and if you ever get the chance
grab one.
 

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Thanks for posting. This is the first time I heard of this plane maker.

Very interesting plane. I can see the engineer rather than woodworker. :thumbsup:

I will be now looking to see one for real.
 

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I like the curves of the plane and I really like how "mechanical" it looks.Its very different as well.was this the only type of plane he made?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Howkins Patent & Advertisement.

These are the drawings from Howkins orginal Patent, as you can see by the time the plane was put into manufacture the
only part's of the patent in use were the blade adjustment and the thumb rest.
All of the rest had been changed, even the handle had been removed.

GB191315336-7.jpg GB191315336-8.jpg

GB191515336-9.jpg

Howkins made Three versions of the plane A,B & C.
In the advertisement below there are listed Models D & E, but their only combinations of the first three models.

Howkins Ad.jpg

The Howkins very rarely comes up for sale, as I said it took me three years to find one.
But they really are the most fascinating little hand plane.
 

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Howkins Plane

I have an original printed spec of this, made available to me by the grandson of the inventor - 2nd Lt Francis Howkins of 253 Tunnelling Company, Royal Engineers - who served in France during the Great War of 1914-18. (Perhaps his war service meant he didn't get the chance to follow up his design.)

I am a Project Manager for the Durand Group - currently investigating the tunnels that Howkins actually dug during his time in France - and we are about to start excavations to uncover some of these in the next two weeks. Howkins left a detailed manuscript of his time in the tunnels. His grandson will be joining us on our investigation.

email me for more info
 

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Hi, I've just bought a Howkins Model B patent 15336/13 (online) from an auction house in England. .. When my new plane arrives from the auction house and I can see the true state of it, I'd dearly love to be able to ask for your advice on it. ..I doubt that it's complete.
 

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The best thing about this plane appears to be its small size. It can fit into the palm of the hand, and therefore it is much easier to make rabbets with than say Stanley No.78 or 92. The blade adjustment being also finer might give good control and accuracy. Wonder why it was not a success.
 

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I have an original printed spec of this, made available to me by the grandson of the inventor - 2nd Lt Francis Howkins of 253 Tunnelling Company, Royal Engineers - who served in France during the Great War of 1914-18. (Perhaps his war service meant he didn't get the chance to follow up his design.)

I am a Project Manager for the Durand Group - currently investigating the tunnels that Howkins actually dug during his time in France - and we are about to start excavations to uncover some of these in the next two weeks. Howkins left a detailed manuscript of his time in the tunnels. His grandson will be joining us on our investigation.

email me for more info
Hi, it would be great to images of those 'original specs', and any other info in your possession, is that possible? .. Also, how may I look up information on the results of your excavations? .. Sounds absolutely fascinating!
 

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I really had no idea that the plane was so small. .. The images posted by the auction house seemed (my eyes are dim, just like the rest of me) to be of a plough plane type size. .. The original box was included with the lot.
 

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