c.1955 Nomura, Planer In Original Box

c.1955 Nomura, Planer In Original Box

Here's a toy that you'd never would've thought could actually be "a toy". It's a heavy duty battery powered electric Planer (pronounced plainer). In real life a planer is used in a wood or cabinetry shop to smooth and level the tops of wide planks, typically for tables or large cabinets. In the mid-50?s Nomura produced a series of carpenter machinery as miniature toys. Table saw, drill press, and a lathes were also produced with this series, but I never knew that they made a Planer.

Like the actual piece of equipment, this toy planer has a counterclockwise rotating knife blade which turns underneath the table. A plank would be fed over the blade with the intent of carving a continuous uniform depth of wood from the face. The metal table top was made from thick, heavy grade pressed steel polished to a mirror shine. Screw heads, holding the motor, were countersunk into the metal allowing the wood to easily slide across the top

A movable steel backboard was used a physical guide. The edge of the plank would be placed along this guide making the width of the cut uniform. The guide itself has lock down bolts on each end so it can be positioned 2" in either direction. The toy comes with its original metal wrench which could be used to tighten the bolts. Parallel lines etched into the metal could also be used as sight guides.

It comes with two half-circle celluloid clamps. These have metal extender rods which screw into a chock extending from the back of the table. The clamps would hold the surface of the wood close to the blade. This achieved depth uniformity and also prevented you from losing a few fingers. It has two clamps; one for holding the wood parallel to the surface (photo 1) and perpendicular (the plank would be turned with the short end against the metal guide).

Of course in order to gouge out a chunk of real wood you needed a heavy duty motor. This is bolted to the underside of the table top and it has a separate adjusting knob to set the blade height. I can't tell what the amperage is without taking it apart from the table, but it's definitely larger and heavier than you'd see in a typical toy. The motor drives a real rubber belt to rotate the knife. All of the wiring is intact.

And last but not least, you needed a heavy duty electrical source to turn the heavy duty motor. This accomplished using 3, D-cell batteries. They sit in table base which is all gray plastic. It has its two original cautionary signs "USE *BALSAM WOOD ONLY" stuck to both sides of the table base. Ingeniously, the battery leads will only engage the motor when the table top is placed onto the base.

The most incredible thing about the toy is that it actually works. I cleaned the terminals and using fresh batteries it worked like a charm. Unlike a real planer which run with a rapidly spinning blade, the motor on the toy version turns slowly. I guess the Nomura engineers thought this was a safety precaution.

The toy comes complete with its original movable steel guide, locking bolts for the guide, both clamps with chocks, steel wrench, rubber belt, and two 6" x 2" x 1 8" thick balsa wood planks. It's not a difficult thing to figure out that it's never been used.

The toy comes in its original box which shows an actual mid-20th century planer. I believe that new machines are called planer-joiners. The box has another "use balsam wood" only sticker. The front and rear aprons show a similar view of the toy. An eager looking kid-type-carpenter peers happily (and probably a bit anxiously) at his new planer. The manufacturer's T.N trademark appears only on the box, not the toy. Rosko (i.e, Rosko Tested) was the U.S. importer and distributor; they were not the actual producer.

Size: 8" x 3" x 3½". Weighs over 1 pound!

Date Sold: Dec. 2009

Price Sold: $ 21


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Subject: c.1955 Nomura, Planer In Original Box

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