Historical information

A smoothing plane is typically used after the work piece has been flattened and trued by the other bench planes, such as the jack, fore, and joiner planes. Smoothing planes can also be used to remove marks left by woodworking machinery.

When used effectively alongside other bench planes, the smoothing plane should only need a handful of passes removing shavings as fine as 0.002 inches (0.051 mm) or less. The work piece is then ready to be finished, or can be further refined with a card scraper or sandpaper.
The smoothing plane is usually held with both hands, and used in a similar manner to the other bench planes.
Though designed for smoothing, a smoothing plane can be used as an 'all-round' bench tool and for rougher work depending on how it is set up. Being smaller than other bench planes, the smoothing plane is better able to work on smaller work pieces and around obstructions. Since the 1700s wooden smoothing planes have predominantly been 'coffin shaped' wider in the middle and slightly rounded making them more manoeuvrable. It has also been claimed that the coffin design exposes more end grain, enabling the plane to better adjust to changes in humidity.

Henry Boker Maker:
Heinrich "Henry" Böker of Reimschied-Solingen, Germany and his family was making tools in the 17th century. In 1829 Hermann and Robert Böker added sabres to the company's offerings, in 1837 they emigrated to New York City and established a firm to import German cutlery. H. Boker sabres would be eventually supplied to some American soldiers during the Civil War. Heinrich Boker in 1869 , a relative of Hermann and Robert, established a cutlery firm in Solingen, a centre of industry and cutting tool manufacturing in Germany. The company became a leader in the manufacture of razors, scissors and eating utensils. As early as 1900 the majority of tools produced by Boker were distributed in the U.S. market by the New York branch of the family, and pocket knives became the company's most important product line. During WWII the Solingen factory was destroyed and all the equipment and inventory was lost.
After the war the factory was rebuilt and the company resumed operations, but in the early '60s the company was sold to the scissors manufacturer Wiss & Sons, and in the early 70s Wiss sold out to Cooper Industries. At some point Heinrich Boker adopted the Americanised version of his name, Henry Boker and was used as a brand name for the company's products.


A vintage smoothing plane of the Bismark pattern made by Henry Boker the this plane is now regarded as a collectors item and is an example of vintage woodworking tools used in the manufacture of wooden products.

Physical description

Smoothing Plane Bismark design.

Inscriptions & markings

Blade marked Henry Boker