My Hand Tool Journey #4: Moulding Plane Set-up; Part Two

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Blog entry by Kent Shepherd posted 12-01-2009 01:13 AM 5301 reads 2 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Wood Moulding Plane --Set-Up Part 4 of My Hand Tool Journey series Part 5: A Practical Application »

Last time we were about to reassemble the plane after sharpening. if you have ever set-up and used any wooden plane, you’ll find the principal is the same for a moulding plane. The only real difference is sharpening the profile on the moulding plane. First, place all the parts back in the body. Try to get the iron about even with the sole of the plane.

Then, lightly tap on the wedge. If you just get it snug, but not tight, you will be able to then adjust the iron out of the body. If anything, I would even have the iron set up into the body at this point. I find if you start high in the body and come out very gradually, it makes adjustments much easier. If the iron is out too far, it is almost impossible to adjust back in accurately. Sneaking up on the depth has worked much better for me.

As with any plane, look down the sole to check the depth of the iron. You now want it protruding slightly
Also check the profile with the sole. It should line up side to side. If not you can tap it to either side before you lock the wedge in place. Adjust the depth by lightly tapping the iron. Now, tap the wedge so that it is tight—don’t over-do it. Yeah, that’s easy to do.

Now, try a test cut. Keep in mind, with a moulding plane, it takes multiple passes to acheive the entire profile.
You must angle the plane body on the workpiece. Most moulding planes have a line scribed into the body at one end to indicate what vertical is. This is simply a guideline to help you start the cut. There are notches on the sole that seat onto the edge of the workpiece to guide the plane through the cut.
If you are not getting a shaving at all, tap the end of the iron to bring it out of the body more. It is now trial and error. If the shaving is too coarse, loosen the wedge as shown in Part 3 of the series, and start over. Patience will pay off. At first I went back and forth, and back and forth, and ba——-well you get the picture. I promise, it gets easier as you practice, just like any other woodworking skill.. If you are not willing to pay that price, hand tool use is probably not for you.

When it’s right, you will know it.

You will know when you are done. The plane will no longer cut. The notches I mentioned earlier wll act as a depth stop.

While we’re on wooden planes, I finished this off with a slight roundover. This is a very handy plane. I frequently use it to ease an edge. Way faster than setting up a router. I fact, I keep a roundover in my Bosch Colt router and find it’s still easier to use this than to get the router out and plug it in.—-Quieter too!

Until next time, Have a great day and Happy Shavings!


7 comments so far

View WayneC's profile


14358 posts in 4659 days

#1 posted 12-01-2009 01:26 AM

Very informative. Looking forward to the next installment.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View a1Jim's profile


117786 posts in 4139 days

#2 posted 12-01-2009 01:31 AM

Hey Kent
another great installment of you plane blog well done.

View Mike's profile


255 posts in 3944 days

#3 posted 12-01-2009 01:48 AM

Hi Kent,

Great info, thanks for the post..

-- Mike, VT

View Rj's profile


1047 posts in 4193 days

#4 posted 12-01-2009 04:14 AM

Thanks Kent for taking time to send us this Great blog.

-- Rj's Woodworks,San Jose & Weed Ca,

View Splinterman's profile


23074 posts in 3923 days

#5 posted 12-01-2009 11:08 AM

Hey kent,
Great Blog…well done.

View stefang's profile


16862 posts in 3896 days

#6 posted 12-02-2009 12:48 AM

Way to go Kent. I have a couple of wooden planes I made (not molding planes), but to lower the blade, I tap the toe a little. Don’t you do this on a molding planes too?

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3848 days

#7 posted 12-02-2009 05:17 PM

Mike, I have not done it that way. In the information I’ve read, I have not come across that. It makes sense though. I will try it. All this is still pretty new to me, so I’m open to most any idea. The whole hand tool thing has been both challenging and rewarding. That’s what I like about LJs. We are all learning from each other.


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