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Through Much Tribulation


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Through Much Tribulation: Stewart Spiers and the Planemakers of Ayr

To call this book the definitive story of Stewart Spiers is somewhat of an understatement. Sure, by definition, the scope of information which resides within this 132 page work by author and longtime collector Nigel Lampert is truly immense, however this book is more than just your average book of old tools. It almost feels as if the reader has embarked on a very personal and privileged journey through the life and times of Stewart Spiers, complete with historical accounts of the township of Ayr and it's surrounds, the development of that town into a booming industrial city and the people and events that no doubt shaped the character of a young man who would go on to be, arguably, the most influential of all British metal planemakers. Indeed this book highlights with remarkable insight the ingenuity, inventiveness and enterprise of Stewart Spiers, from the early development of his handplane line to an established and thriving business known and sought by woodworkers the world over for it's high class quality products. Although most of the book is about Stewart Spiers there is also additional information on other Ayr planemakers such as James Miller and George Rutherford, both of which are known amongst collectors.

This book is more than just words alone, however. The photography and illustration are well executed, with many black and white as well as colour photographs of rare and unusual Spiers handplanes - some previously never before seen in any other publication. There are close up pictures of stamps and markings which are useful for identification purposes, as well as various catalogue reproductions - including a previously unknown list from the mid 1850's. Also featured in the book are constructional diagrams, a list of known model numbers and even street maps of Ayr at various stages of it's growth. There are also photographs of factory buildings and residential dwellings - both past and present - including one of the lower floor machine shop taken at the turn of the century.

With so much information this book is certain to get collectors and users - myself included - feverishly searching through their tool chests, display cabinets, bookshelves,storage boxes and workshops to take a second, third or fourth look at their cherished Spiers handplanes. Even some of those 'other planes' that previously may have been considered as 'fakes' or 'not genuine Spiers planes' may require a second thought. Indeed collectors and users alike will digest. dissect and discuss the facts, figures, ponderings and overall information that Nigel has provided us with for many years to come!

Through Much Tribulation: Stewart Spiers and the Planemakers of Ayr
by Nigel Lampert
132pp softcover. Published by Oliver Publications
P.O. Box 658 Pascoe Vale 3044 Victoria, Australia
Ph. 613 9350 2242
R.R.P. $ 44.70 including postage & packaging within Australia.
Contact Oliver Publications for overseas postage rates.

The book may also be purchased through Amazon.com (subject to availability) at the link below. I've also added an Amazon.com link to the book by Ken Roberts which features two Stewart Spiers plane catalogs as well as two catalogs from Thomas Norris and Son.

Two posters are also available for purchase - an early Spiers plane list and a poster of the Spiers machine shop. Contact Oliver Publications for details.

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