In Chris Schwarz Blog, Handplane Techniques, Handplanes, Personal Favorites

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Last week I bought a toothing plane from a Midwestern tool collector. I’ve always wanted one of these tools, and this one is particularly nice.

Toothing planes are lot like scraping planes: The iron is vertical. What’s different is that toothing plane has a serrated cutting edge , instead of a smooth edge with a tiny hook, like on a scraper plane.

Toothing planes can be used in a couple different ways. Some people use them to flatten a board’s surface. The vertical pitch of the iron prevents tearing in gnarly woods, and the serrated teeth allow you to take a fairly big bite.

Other craftsmen use a toothing plane for traditional veneering jobs with hide glue. The toothing plane would prepare the substrate , flattening it and giving it some “tooth” , before you apply the adhesive and the veneer.

I’ll probably use this tool for both of these sorts of jobs , they’re handy and simple tools. This one was probably made by the craftsman, and the maker was likely German. The “horn” at the toe is a feature of many European planes.

Oh, there’s one other feature of the plane I like:

I wish I had a good story about the origin of this tool, but I don’t. The tool collector who bought it acquired it during a tool swap meet. So there’s no cool history to share , just the mystery of me wondering what sort of work the other “C SCHWARZ” did.

– Christopher Schwarz

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Showing 8 comments
  • David

    Blasphemy to collectors? – No, sharpening an iron or flattening the back doesn’t affect the value of a collector tool at all. Coating the whole blade with Naval Jelly, polishing brass parts or sanding/steel wooling the body and/or re-finishing it with a film finish will. A fair amount of "old-timers" in the tool collecting field found this out the hard way. It’s very difficult to find an Ultimatum brace that hasn’t been ruined by having the brass brightly polished.

  • Christopher Schwarz

    Just to clarify on the sharpening:

    I just touched the face and the serrations on this blade with a fine stone. Having them a wee bit flat doesn’t impact performance (the milling machine-made toothing irons I’ve used has proved this to me).

    And the edge seems to last longer if you do this. What I really want to do is run a feather file up the grooves to fix things up like new. There’s corrosion up there.

    Blasphemy to collectors, I know.


  • Christopher Schwarz

    There really was a C SCHWARZ stamp on the tool when I bought it. Crazy. And I trust that the collector didn’t add it.

    The tool makes little ribbons and dust. In the coming weeks I’m going to do a bit on toothed irons. They can be a lifesaver….


  • Mike


    As for the type of work the former C. Schwarz did? I suspect he at least prepared the ground for veneering…and if he worked undulating grain or around knots and it was part of his tradition, who knows, perhaps he also used it there.

    Sorta like the present C. Schwarz will do.

    Even without the direct historical connection, tis not only a good type of tool, but a wonderful name connection.


  • The Village Carpenter

    This is probably a stupid question….was there really a C SCHWARZ stamp on the tool when you bought it or did you stamp that?

    What kind of a shaving do you get with that tool, Chris? I’ve never seen one in person.

  • Christopher Schwarz

    I sharpened it like a standard blade and prepared both sides of the edge (the bevel and the face). Works great!


  • Chris F

    I imagine it would be sharpened very much like a normal blade. Only the tips of the teeth would end up sharp.

  • Chris C.


    I was wondering… how do you sharpen a serrated blade? Or
    does it not need sharpening?



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