January 2, 2011
A Foochow Tool 1930's -70's- Hand - held Plane
This is a wooden plane exhibited in the foochow Culture Gallery in Sibu.
One of the most hardworking Foochow men I remember was my mother's cousin Lau Pang Su - a carpenter. Later he worked as foreman for Datuk Ting Ong Hua of the famous Mega Hotel chain of businesses. As Kepala (kah pa la) or foreman he was a kindly man who saw to it that very honest ethics were practised when a construction site was started and all supplies were accounted for.
He personally had a work basket slung over his bicycle (yes those were the days when almost everyone cycled) and he would be in charge of all the door and window frames. Houses overseered by him never had problems with doors and windows. And in those days people would expect these parts of the homes to be perfect...That was by word of mouth ISO....
today windows and doors come apart and even floors sink into the peat swamp...with all the engineers and politicians taking charge of development.
So this handheld wooden plane conjures up a lot of honesty and good working ethics for me. May be the Good Age of Carpentry has gone by and never to come back!
Dedicated to the memory of all Foochow Carpenters of Sarawak......
Hand planes are ancient, originating thousands of years ago. Early planes were made from wood with a rectangular slot or mortise cut across the center of the body. The cutting blade or iron was held in place with a wooden wedge. The wedge was tapped into the mortise and adjusted with a small mallet, a piece of scrap wood or with the heel of the users hand. Planes of this type have been found in excavations of old sites as well as drawings of woodworking from medieval Europe and Asia. The earliest known examples of the woodworking plane have been found in Pompeii although other Roman examples have been unearthed in England and Germany. The Roman planes resemble modern planes in essential function, most having iron wrapping a wooden core top, bottom, front and rear and an iron blade secured with a wedge. One example found in Cologne has a body made entirely of bronze without a wooden core. A Roman plane iron used for cutting moldings was found in Newstead, England.(Wikipedia)