Death by Handplane


Thursday in the Afternoon an Inquisition was taken before Thomas Beach, Esq; Coroner for the City of London, on the Body of William King, a Carpenter; it appeared by the Evidence, that some carpenters being at Work last Tuesday Afternoon, in repairing a House of Mr. Dalmaboy, on Ludgate-hill, Words arose between one John Garnett, a Carpenter, and the Deceased, in Relation to the Deceased’s spoiling some Tools of Garnett’s; that the Deceased pushed Garnett against some Sash Doors there, and that Garnett took up a Hammer, and threatened to knock the Deceased down if he pushed him any more; that King retired towards the door, but Words still continuing between them, he returned to Garnett, and lifted up his Hand, as intending to strike Garnett, that then Garnett immediately took up a plane and struck the Deceased on the right Temple, who fell down speechless, and, notwithstanding he was immediately blooded, was seized with a Stupor, and was sent to St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, where he expired early the next morning. As there did not appear any previous Malice between the Parties, the Jury found Garnett Guilty of Manslaughter, and the Coroner committed him to Newgate, to take his Trial at the next Sessions, which begins at the Old Bailey on Wednesday next.

— from the The Public Advertiser of London (Sept. 12, 1761) courtesy of Jeff Burks

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21 Responses to Death by Handplane

  1. I spent a solid minute trying to figure out if his left hand was on backwards. That looks like an uncomfortable position

  2. Brett Denner says:

    Sounds like self defense, to me.

  3. greenebelly says:

    The plane facts and nothing more.

  4. Eric R says:

    King should have got while the gettin was good…..

  5. Newgate in 1761 was not really a very pleasant place to spend some time.

  6. Debs says:

    Hi Guys

    Here’s a link to the full story. Old Bailey online is too interesting and can eat up many hours of happy browsing.




  7. Must have been a really old Bailey.

  8. jimbooooo says:

    “Sumbitch needed killing”
    – old Southern adage

  9. diceloader says:

    I think the Schwarz should sport one of those mustaches!

  10. waltamb says:

    Sounded like he was trying to smooth things out between them.

  11. shopsweeper says:

    I thought “spoiling your tools” was giving them a Frank Klaus style mirror finish and replacing the totes with rare hardwood version. I guess it had a different meaning then.

    Always best to keep your mitts off a coworker’s tools, I suppose.

  12. Bob Easton says:

    Garnett did it in the doorway with a plane.

  13. Jim Maher says:

    Despite what seems a clear case of self-defense, due was found guilty and branded!

  14. Ric fry says:

    Afternoon Christopher,

    This is Ric Fry. Met you briefly at the Oregon Guild workshops.

    Wanted to know if you minded if I used a snapshot I took of you and one of our members on the Guild webpage?

    Secondly, You had a very funny picture of a guy waging war on a stool leg with a mallet. I can’t find it in my past emails, but wanted to print a large version and hang it up in my school woodshop ( I’m a shop teacher) Would you mind ( have the time) to email me a JPEG.

    Sincerely Ric Fry


  15. jwatriss says:

    Well, when something needs to be flattened, a plane is the tool for the job.

  16. KampWood says:

    A good guy with a plane can stop a bad guy with a plane. planes don’t kill people; people kill people. Everyone has the right to bare planes, and lastly but not least: from my cold dead hands will you take my planes away.

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