Because of Amherst’s connection with the manufacture of carpenters’ planes in the 19th century — see the Nutting and Kellogg planemakers — I was intrigued by this display, seen on a recent trip to Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia:
‘While tradesmen relied heavily on English tool imports, some woodworkers began to specialize in the production of planes. Francis Nicholson, the earliest known American planemaker, was working in Massachusetts by 1728. He trained both his son and enslaved artisan Cesar Chelor in the trade.
‘Chelor, freed in 1753 by Nicholson’s will, went into the planemaking business for himself. For the next 31 years he signed his planes with various marks like CESAR CHELOR LIVING IN WRENTHAM. He married, had children, and pursued his trade in Wrentham until his death in 1784. It is estimated that Chelor made thousands of high-quality planes… ‘
And while at Williamsburg, and again at Sturbridge Village, I visited the Cooper’s shop, and there saw the longest (six feet?) carpenters’ planes I have ever seen — much longer than any in our collection. Here is a photo of the Williamsburg cooper with his plane.