Making molding planes

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Forum topic by Bob Downing posted 10-22-2011 09:37 PM 5791 views 1 time favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Bob Downing

43 posts in 2822 days

10-22-2011 09:37 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question plane

I’m very interested in making my own molding planes. I searched around tying to find sources that explain how to make them but haven’t been able to find anything. There are quite a few sites where you can buy new (expensive) wooden molding planes,but nothing on how to make them. I don’t really like buying things like this on E-bay because I really can’t tell good from bad just from the pictures. Does anyone know of a good reference source that could get me started?

-- BobD Chandler, AZ

4 replies so far

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David Kirtley

1286 posts in 2994 days

#1 posted 10-23-2011 03:31 AM

John M. Whelan’s books are good. The big book is hard to come by now and they want a lot for it. Can probably get it through inter-library loan.

Making up laminated ones is just like the Krenov style planes. Leave a gap for the iron and glue faces on it. Start this way.

If you are interested in making traditional style planes, the first thing you will want is a set of floats. You can get by with some needle flies but they cut so slowly. Lie Nielson carrys some or you can get out your triangle files and have at it. (Tedious)

The making is actually pretty simple. Cut a notch for the mouth and bedding of the iron, drill a hole for the iron. Cut an escapement for the chips (drill a hole and carve it out for the chips to go out. Square up the slot for the iron (making it oversize and tapered to allow a wedge. Cut the profile in the base and put the iron in and mark the profile and start grinding. Harden and temper the iron. Sharpen it up. Fit the wedge and voila! You have a plane

The thing that takes a long time is to make the guides to set the angles for the mortising for the iron and wedge. Traditional planemakers had a set of jigs and mother planes to work from.

The hardest part is a version of the chicken and the egg problem. You need a profile to cut the plane’s profile and if you had a bunch of profiles, you would just be using those instead. The trick is that you make a scratch stock to shape the profile.

For starters, you can make plane irons from spade bits. You will want to learn how to work steel. You anneal it so you can shape it. Then you harden and temper it. Then you sharpen it. Lie Nielson sells iron blanks. You can get the steel and make your own but that is more than you want to deal with at the beginning.

A good book for basic blacksmithing is The Complete Modern Blacksmith by Alexander Weygers. A cool book in its own right.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

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15 posts in 3140 days

#2 posted 10-23-2011 06:01 AM

Here are two videos I know of
Classic Plane Making Hollows and Rounds by Tod Herrli
You can purchase this from Tools for Woodworking in NY $22. This video even shows you how to make the floats David talked about.

Tools for Woodworking also carries the book by John M. Whelan that David mentioned above $20.

The other video Making Traditional Side Escapement Planes by Larry Williams of Old Street Tool, Inc. formerly Clark & Williams. $40 You can also buy this from Lie Nielsen

I enjoyed the Tod Herrli video, very thorough. I have not seen the Larry Williams video. I also have not tried to make any of these planes yet It’s on my to do list.

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Bob Downing

43 posts in 2822 days

#3 posted 10-23-2011 07:24 PM

Thx guys. These are exactly what I was looking for. Going to order them today.

-- BobD Chandler, AZ

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Combo Prof

3504 posts in 1274 days

#4 posted 12-01-2015 10:05 PM

Did you make any progress on molding planes? I plan to start this summer.

-- Don K, (Houghton, Michigan .. Soon Holland, Michigan)

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