Don’t get me wrong—I like my router table. But moulding planes offer a silent and safe alternative to add decorative details to projects. So rather than continue pouring money into the router-bit pit, I decided to dive into molding planes. But which ones? An article by Joshua Clark helped answer that question.
My foray began with a 3/8” side bead plane that I got for $21.00 off Ebay. It was made by W. Greenslade, a planemaker that operated in Bristol, UK from 1828-1937. Now that’s interesting history that none of my router bits bring to they shop.
Considering that the plane is at least 77 years old, it wasn’t surprising that the body needed cleaning. A cloth rag soaked with mineral spirits worked off the decades of dirt, grim and sweat. A coating of wax served to protect the clean surface.
Restoring and Tuning
One thing that needed to be addressed was the boxing. The portion toward the toe had shrunk over the decades, so it was loose and moved in use.
To fix this, I decided to add a sliver of wood to both the boxing edge and the front that abuts the escapement. This would “true” up the length and width of the tight-fitting slat. For material, I picked up some yellow heart wood (1/8” x 3” x 24”) at Rockler. I thought the color and grain kinda matched the original boxing. And a janka hardness rating of 1,790 lbf makes for a durable repair.
After gluing the additions to the boxing, I completed many rounds of: test fit, remove, trim the piece with a single stroke of a plane, and test fit again…until it fit snuggly and perfectly.
That gap you see is from being compacted by the 1/8” chisel I used to remove the boxing for each test fit-trim iteration. It’s cosmetic and doesn’t affect the fit or performance of the boxing.
Once that was done, I put a straight edge to the boxing along the length of the plane and found it needed jointing.
Which I did by taking very light passes with a block plane.
After that, I sharpened the blade, taking care to maintain the bead profile.
It took a while to find the right iron depth. But once I did, the plane produced a nice 3/8” bead.
Which I put on the wine rack I built soon after.
And on the brace rack I completed.
As well as the Dutch tool chest I built.
I’ve since picked up other moulding planes, but this side bead is my favorite to use. It just zips through the wood, cascading curly shavings to adorn the shop floor.
And now I have a cool plane with a bit of history to give my projects a special detail.
© 2014, Brad Chittim, all rights reserved.
-- "People's lives are their own rewards or punishments."