In a discussion with Jeremy at JMAW Works, we chatted about the fact that you basically only have two choices with moulding planes today: New premium priced planes, and vintage junkers.
This French style with the open mortice looks like it would be easier for regular woodworkers to make, and if they were mass produced, would take far less labor resulting in a cheaper product.
I decided I had to make at least one pair to try them out.
First, I bought some steel blanks from McMaster Carr. I was pleasantly surprised when I ordered "Tight Tolerance Flat Stock-Precision Ground," and this showed up:
|Starret O1 tool steel, future plane blanks.|
I will most likely cut the 18" bars in half or so, grind the profile on the end, and heat treat them. That is all the metal work that is required. No messing with a tang, full width the whole way back.
Looking at Plate 19, It looks like hollows and rounds generally are have a wooden stock that is roughly twice as wide as the intended profile. I dug around in my scrap bin, and found some nice, quarter sawn cherry that planed out to a good 1 1/2", perfect for a set of #12s, a 3/4" profile.
|1 1/2" plane blanks in cherry.|
|Lining up my saw guide.|
|A little too tight for the mouth - this 1/10" chisel doesn't quite fit through the mouth.|
|Flattening the bottom (or is it the side?) of the mortice.|
|Did I make a mistake?|
|Ready for wedges.|
|One wedge done.|
|A pair of #12s about half done.|
|Here is a view with one of them and my 12" steel rule.|
One of the downsides to this plane that I can already see, is that it is awfully wide. This #12 is 1 1/2" at the grip. Larry Williams says an English #12 should be 1 3/32", with the grip being 3/4". That might be a lot more comfortable. What happens when these start getting really wide? Do I really want a 2" wide plane to cut a 1" wide profile? We'll see.
I suspect that this will probably be one of the largest profiles I use on the kinds of mouldings I plan on making. Perhaps these will turn out to be handy, as they sure are simple to make so far.