Saturday, March 30, 2013

Ary den Hengst

Ary den Hengst was a planemaker in Rotterdam in The Netherlands in the 18th century. He must have been quite productive because you can still find many planes from him. I found a nice set of tongue and groove planes made by him. It is a rather narrow set for boards 3/8" to 1/2" wide. The tongue is just 1/8". The planes have all the marks of Dutch 18th century moulding planes. The details on the toe of the plane, the bedding angle of 50 degrees and the rather thin iron. Planes from Rotterdam often have a remarkable hollow bedding for the iron. I didn't meassure, but I guess it is at least 0.5 mm concave. This is to be sure the wedge puts pressure down at the edge of the blade.

I had to sharpen the blades of course. There was quite some pitting in the tonguing plane so I had to grind a couple of mm from the edge. Luckily there is still plenty of life left in this  iron. It seems these planes didn't see a ton of use. Both bodies are still in perfect shape with just the usual nicks and dents.

The plane making the tongue. Funny to see is the double shaving emitting from the plane.

And the grooving plane.

And this is the very nice planemakers mark. It's not very clear in the picture, but it is a fugure of a man, probably a saint, above the letters ADH.

In use these plane are very easy. Because of the narrow blades they cut quickly. You just push on, back and forth until the plane bottoms out. That gives you perfectly matched tongue and groove panels.

So I am pretty pleased with this new addition to my collection!


  1. Very nice planes. They are quite ornamental. Is that normal for Dutch planes? How about the wedge finale shape, is that also standard for 18th C Dutch planes. It is quite different from the rounded British finales I'm familiar with.

  2. Hi Alaskawoodworker.

    Indeed this is very usual decoration for Dutch moulding planes, up until Worldwar II or so. The 18th century bench planes were even much more decorated with fine carving in the throat, on top of the plane and the handles were works of art. You can find some examples overhere:

    The finial on the wedge was correct like this. In Continental Europe the round finials were never very common. That was a typical English feature.

    Greetings Kees