Wednesday, September 19, 2012

"Mouldings in Practice" - A Non-Traditional Review

I couldn't stand it anymore.

Because of where I live, Media Mail from the USPS takes weeks and weeks for delivery.  So, even though I pre-ordered and I got a note from John at Lost Art Press that it shipped with everyone else's, I still have yet to take delivery.

So, I bought the e-book.

My review:  It was awesome.  You should read it.

I'm not sure what has interested me in hollows and rounds lately, because very little of my work requires moldings other than a chamfer here or there.  I bought Larry Williams' DVD not long ago, and have been fixated on making some.

While reading this book, it dawned on me that the first time I use a moulding plane may be with one that I made myself.  And, the first one I'll probably need is a rabbet plane.

There is an old rabbet plane in my tool chest.  Back when I was hoarding every tool without really knowing what to do with them I picked up a nice little 1 1/8" inch rabbet.  I always thought it was of low quality because I couldn't get it to do what I wanted.  Turns out what I was trying to do with it was make it work as a shoulder plane.  Also, while trying to flatten the sole at one point I tore up a freshly sharpened plane blade when I ran over a nail driven into the sole.

Long story short, this plane has been knocking about for some time without any intention of me using it.

So, I thought it must be time to re-evaluate and see what can be done with it.  The worst I could do is ruin it so it was worthless to use or collect.

No big loss, since that is pretty much the state it is in now.

The edges of this plane were rounded over just like the book says many old rebate planes.

So, I drilled a couple of 1/8" holes next to the nail so I could grab it with some needle nose pliers.  Don't ask me what a brad nail was doing in the sole of this plane.

I planed off about 3/32" from the sole to get to flat wood, and glued on a strip of some mystery tropical wood that I've had for more than ten years.  Probably rosewood.  It should be nice and hard and work will with tracking a gague line.

The only problem was that in my zeal to ensure the strip was even on the plane's width, I didn't notice that it is not overhanging the front like I intended.  It is just a shade short of the front, so I'll have to see what to do to make it look pretty.  This shouldn't affect it's use.

Once the glue dries, I'll plane the strip down to dimension with the intention of changing the dimensions of the plane as little as possible.  I'd rather not remove the patina, but if I do, no biggie.  This will be a user, and I think an hour or two of labor for a functioning tool is a good investment.

Sawing the mouth out should be fun, but with a couple of floats I should be able to get it to work.  With careful sawing, there should be only clean up.

But, this is me we're talking about.

Of course, you'll be the first to know my progress.  Hopefully you won't see this plane on eBay, and if you do, you'll know not to buy it.


  1. That is a cool project. I will stay tuned...

  2. Hi Brian

    Not sure yet what to make of the vaste amount of info you provide on mouldings .. :) ... but the rebate plane is made by John Kenyon, a UK planemaker in the 1800s. The company ran, I believe, from about 1820 to the early 1900s. Should be a good one.

    Regards from Perth


    1. I always thought that was an owner's mark. Easterly & Co. from Auburn NY must be the retailer?

  3. I finished up this project tonight, but like a doofus I left my camera elsewhere, so pictures will be forthcoming at a later date.


    This plane now works amazing. Cutting rabbets by hand is easy. If you have trouble with your wooden rabbet tracking in a gauge line, you should try sharpening the arris on your rabbet by planing it sharp, or if there isn't enough room on the sole doing this.

    The rosewood (or whatever it is) is very, very hard. I imagine it will hold up for a long time. If it gets dull, I have plenty of room to sharpen it with a quick swipe of a smoother.

    I planed the new piece to fit, and cut the mouth out with a japanese crosscut saw. A little cleanup was required with a float, but it seems better than new.

  4. Hey, I just wanted to say hello. I would love to do some work with hollows and rounds, but all in good time. I added your blog to my RSS reader.

    1. Hello, Jeff! And Thanks!

      I am super excited about getting started with hollows and rounds. I feel like after Matt's book, I know what to do.

      The trick for me is to start with using the tools I have, rather than spend a zillion dollars tooling up to find out that I only really need two tools.

      For me, that means this rabbet plane that I talk about here, a side bead that I picked up a few months ago, and a few singleton hollows and rounds I have knocking about that probably need rehabbing.

  5. Hi Brian

    I am obly away from a computer for 5 days, and then there are loads of new blog entries.
    Good to see that you are finishing projects.
    Asger (6) suddenly said the other day: Dad, I would like to build a chair. It is only 4 legs and 2 sticks for the back, and then a seat. So that shouldn't be too hard?
    I have tried to persuade him that maybe we should start of with a stool of some kind before moving into chairs. But at least he doesn't lack self confidence.