Item NA16 - I. H. Jenney. Mahogany Ship Builder’s Coffin Smooth Plane.
superb coffin smooth plane is made from what appears to be heavy mahogany (both
body and wedge), and is marked (upside down) on the toe, “I. H. Jenney.” There
is no record of a plane maker with this mark, and we have to assume that Mr.
Jenney made this plane for his personal use. The plane was found in the New
Bedford, Mass area; the fact that Jenney is a particularly common name,
especially in Fairhaven, across the harbor from New Bedford; and the choice of
an exotic wood to make the plane all suggest that Mr. Jenney may have been
associated with the whaling business in this seafaring town. The double iron on this plane includes a
blade that is marked, “Barton Bros.” This was a firm that for a fairly short
period of time (early 1850s) produced plane blades and other tools. One brother
operated the tool making in Sheffield, England, while a second brother was based
in New York selling the company’s goods there. The short time that this company
was in business suggests that the plane was made in the 1850s. Indeed, the
New Bedford city directories for the 1850s show an "Isaac H. Jenney" (I. H.
Jenney), who is credited as the Master of four whaling voyages in this
time frame. These were as captain of the whale ship "Two Brothers" (1844 -
1847 - Indian Ocean & 1847 - 1851 - Indian & Pacific Oceans); the whale ship
"Alfred Gibbs" (1851 -1854 - North Pacific), and the whale ship "Messenger"
(1855-59 - Indian Ocean). By 1862 he is reported retired from sea as a
"Master Mariner," still living in New Bedford. Given the propensity for
whaling captains to construct elaborate scrimshaw and furniture projects while
on their protracted voyages, and the short time that Barton Bros blades were
produced, it can be surmised that Captain Jenney may have made this plane on one
of his last two voyages.
is 7 ¾ inches long and is 23/8 inches wide at the shoulders. It is in excellent
condition without significant chipping or cracks. It is a handsome mahogany
Price - $100.00
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