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B Dean Planes

Benaiah Dean (1754-1831)

Raynham and Taunton, MA

deeds; 1778, 1786, 1787 joiner

deeds; 1804, 1810 carpenter

deed; 1814 house carpenter

(See Milton Bacheller's Benaiah Dean article in The Chronicle 47-2 June 1994

GAWP 5 B Dean entry below. 

Noting the (A and A1) imprint information below, for clarification, there's only one plane reported with the A Hall imprint.  Thus, the (A) designated B: Dean. / A: Hall. imprint is rated 5* and the (A1) designated B: Dean. imprint is rated 3*.

Per GAWP 5, B Dean planes are separated into two main groups based on their chamfer / wedge styles. The first group of planes having the non-relieved wedge finials A1 on 9 7/8" long molders with flat chamfers. The second group having relieved wedge finials A2 and A3 on 9 3/4" long molders with rounded chamfers and flutes on the ends. 


Here, the characterization of the two groups has been modified, reflecting the reporting of additional planes.

The first group of planes have a non-relieved wedge final A1 on the molders ( 9 3/4" to 9 7/8") and chamfers that end with a simple turn out (with or without a small step). So far, the known examples have flat chamfers; a molder and a jack plane. (In the planes available to the editor, the A1 wedge finial height aligns with the A3 wedge finial height ... ie the greater of the two A2 / A3 finial heights.)

The second group of planes have relieved wedge finials A2 and A3 on the molders ( 9 3/4" to 10") and chamfers which have flutes on the ends. Body chamfers are typically round (somewhat crude), except for three molders and a crown molder which have flat chamfers.

Bench escapement planes from both groups have round top wedges.

The molder with the A imprint (having the A: Hall. imprint), fits within the second group.

While both groups of planes appear to have 18thC features, a question arises ...can the two groups be divided by age .... one "earlier" and one "later"? Normally flat vs rounded chamfers would define relative ages with the round chamfers being "later".  Similarly, flutes would tend to precede those examples where the chamfer ends simple turn out. With the B Dean planes that are available for study, the two groups include a mix of the "earlier" / "later" traits, such that one group or the other cannot be easily put forward as being the "earlier". 


A 16x lens examination of the A1 and A imprints from four planes was conducted to see if any differences in the imprints could be found. To the best of the editor's ability, the B: Dean. imprints were all the same.


However, the two planes with a bench escapement may provide an answer. The crown molder with flat chamfers and flutes (group 2) has wedge abutment cheeks with chamfers that are flat, wide and generally have parallel edges ... an early design seen in New England planes 1750 / 1780. With early planemakers that continue into the 1790s (Jo Fuller and E Clark being prime examples), these abutment chamfers narrow in height and develop tapers toward each end.... becoming more of a lens shape. The B Dean jack plane without flutes (group 1) has abutment chamfers that are "later", based on this comparison ... and thus the group 1 planes were probably made after group 2 planes.


Interestingly, the two totes do not have undercut heels .... which is more of a "later" trait.

With a working "early/later" sequence for the two Dean plane groups, a look at the family was in order in case there might be two B Deans making planes.  Benaiah's father was Abiel and Benaiah had no brothers with names that started with "B". However, Benaiah's fourth son was also named Benaiah. A search of Bristol Co. deeds did not provide any information on Benaiah Jr., but the 1850 census did. Benaiah Jr. had moved to SC about 1839 and in 1850 his trade was given as a carpenter. While Benaiah Jr. seems a little late for "later" group 1 planes, it is possible that he was involved. (In the referenced Chronicle article, Milton Bacheller cites "there is some reference" to Benaiah Sr. and Jr. going south in the winter to "ply the trade of carpenter".)   What doesn't seem to fit, is that Benaiah Jr. was practicing his trade in SC while the "later" planes were found in greater New England along with the "earlier" planes.  A search of wills / inventories came up empty, so more work is needed.


An aside ... In a 1793 Raynham deed, Benaiah sold land to Abiathar Hall Sr., a yeoman in Raynham....our A Hall? Perhaps. Abiathar Jr. b 1797 was a machine maker in 1818, 1823, 1818 deeds and a housewright in a 1827 deed. Abiathar Jr. is also listed as a cabinetmaker in several genealogical books ... the Halls of New England and George Hall and His Descendants.))


Hopefully additional planes will be found and their study aide in this assessment.

The Planes.

Abuttment chamfer in the "Earlier" Group 2. Flutes, relieved molder wedges.

Abuttment chamfer in the "Later" Group 1.

No flutes, molder wedges not relieved.

A1 mark (B: Dean.), "Earlier" Group 2. First phase; flat chamfers.

Hollow, 9 11/16" long.

A1 mark (B: Dean.), "Earlier" Group 2. Second phase; round chamfers.

A1 mark (B: Dean.), "Later" Group 1. 

A mark (B: Dean. / A:Hall.) (Group 2 characteristics). 

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