Norris Number 16 Malleable Iron Improved Smoothing Plane


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Norris No. 16 Improved Smoothing Plane
Norris No. 16 Malleable Iron Improved Smoothing Plane
as illustrated in the 1914 Norris Catalogue

Improved Smoothing Plane
with round sides and gunmetal
lever, fitted with rosewood.
Extra Cutters to fit above planes 1/6

Cutter Width 1¾" 1⅞" 2"    
Price (1908 Price List) SEE NOTES SEE NOTES SEE NOTES
Price (1914 Catalogue) 16/6 16/6 16/6
Price (1928 Catalogue)

NOTES: Another Norris plane with a reassigned number. A quick study of the 1908 price list shows that the number 16 plane is, in fact, a number 14 plane with upgrade options — essentially it's a Norris No. 14GS in the 1914 catalogue. It appears that the No. 16 smoothing plane was not that popular with the public in any variation, as sales must have been very slow given the model's relatively short production runs and the amount of examples for sale in the secondhand market. Needless to say that clean examples, when they are offered for sale, tend to be priced accordingly.

As can be seen in the 1914 catalogue, this plane was available in four variations (ordinary cast iron, malleable iron, plus an adjustable type for each) and three sizes (1¾", 1⅞" and 2"). It's also interesting to note that the front bun on the plane illustrated appears to have a much sharper taper than on existing examples.

I've always been somewhat curious as to why the plane was not more widely accepted. Maybe the woodworking public just wasn't as willing to part with their cash on a smaller cast iron smoother? It's quite possible that other firms offered similar-sized castings at considerably less cost. Who knows? Smaller dovetailed smoothers, on the other hand, were a slightly different matter.