Use a Norris? Am I mad, they are surely only a collectors item!
Well let’s examine some things about the market for these planes and try to compare them to plane makers of today before we make a judgement. Firstly there are models of the planes made by Norris that will be rare which collectors highly prize and desire which will take those planes beyond what users could warrant to pay for a plane to use. However there are many planes from the Norris smoothing range that offer real value to a user at prices that are not only competitive against premier modern makers but are nicer to use.
Modern makers such as Clifton or Lie Nielsen charge approx £300 for a smoothing plane which after being used once reduce to the £200 mark and will decline further over time, however when you buy a Norris these have historically risen in price.
When we buy tools they are usually valued by what they can do but it’s safe to say that a well set up Norris plane will tackle the most challenging of woods. With their thick high carbon laminated irons and super fine adjustment this is why these planes gained worldwide recognition throughout the woodworking world, hence why they are so sort after by distinguished collectors. Investing in a Norris plane really does have an added benefit without compromising the quality of finish and functionality.
I’ve said for some time that Norris smoothing planes have been significantly under valued by collectors, mainly due to supply and demand but given they offer the user considerable benefits it’s makes sense to take advantage before those low prices rise. Craftsmen who buy them for use will reduce the supply and increase the demand fuelling prices to rise. Users once underpinned the value of these tools, craftsmen aspired to own and use one but somehow this has been forgotten or lost in translation somewhere.
I honestly think craftsmen have forgotten how good Norris planes are to use or possibly presume they are just old collectable tools. Underestimating these planes for use is a big mistake and if you ever get the chance to use one you will soon realise why so many old timers loved them, often so much so they were hooked and started to collected them!
What better tool to pull of your kit and use when working on historic pieces of furniture, grade A listed properties or just a high end handmade kitchen, nothing simply compares.
The smart buyer will invest in good clean models that will last a lifetime, they will not only bring extra a pleasure to their craft but will also bring a fruitful conclusion to a craftsman’s distinguished career.