Mouldings In Practice By Matthew Bickford

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Review by Caleb James posted 12-27-2012 03:21 PM 3678 views 1 time favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Mouldings In Practice By Matthew Bickford No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I am happy to share this new book on the subject of moulding planes. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Considering how I have not found another book that covers this subject, it is the modern go to book on the subject of moulding planes.

I started investigating moulding planes several years ago and made a couple of my own to use in my case work so I can appreciate the usefulness of these remarkably simple yet highly sophisticated planes. At first glance these planes seem quite mysterious. Matthew Bickford does an excellent job of making these, otherwise, odd looking planes a tool that you feel you can pick up and put to real work.

The biggest hurdle, I believe, to making these planes understandable and useful to the woodworker is knowing how to go from the moulding you have designed or wanting to replicate to production. Bickford offers the key to unlock these little jewel’s full potential. He goes into depth on how to implement the use of each of these fundamental planes. He describes how to lay out your pattern and then create guides by means of rabbets that then direct the planes to create a specific profile exactly where you need it to land.

He also discusses the traditional approaches that many long time users are familiar with and considers logically the pros and cons. He offers suggestion on when and how to use the different approaches. He does this all while keeping it concise and in plain language.

The book discusses dedicated moulding planes but the bulk of the book is on the use of hollows, rounds as well as snipes bill and side rounds. Plow planes are touched on and of course the rabbet plane which forms the basis for the layouts.

The second half of the book covers a study of and discussion of a variety of specific historical examples of mouldings and how to produce them. This really rounds out the book and makes it very practical.

Matthew Bickford has been a full time planemaker since 2010. According to his website he was inspired to make plans while investigating them for his own personal woodworking. After producing his own set of hollows and rounds others inquired if he would produce some for their use. This naturally led to his full time profession.

I highly recommend this book for anyone looking to put these planes to their fullest potential. It is available at the publisher Lost Arts Press for $37.00 plus shipping.


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Caleb James

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11 comments so far

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#1 posted 12-27-2012 07:08 PM

thanks caleb for the review on this book. i’ve bought several books from the schwarz. this book for me will be something to get down the road,that i am interested in. BUT, i don’t need another reason to collect more tools right now. i have to ease the notion( i mean convince,or beg,or lie, no thats too strong;)find a project that the wife justs has to have,that would give cause to spend more on these tools. about $2500.00 that would be sweet.

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10880 posts in 3887 days

#2 posted 12-27-2012 11:08 PM

thanks for the rewiew :-)

seems to be a book that will be good to have next to John M Whelan ´s book
about there forms function and historic


View BPS238's profile


26 posts in 3057 days

#3 posted 12-28-2012 12:02 PM

Thanks for the review. I have been planning to read this myself.

Your windsor also caught my eye. Nice work!


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7806 posts in 3572 days

#4 posted 12-28-2012 03:02 PM

This has to be the best review of any kind I’ve read on here in a while! In depth, and even has the price (which I wish more reviews would provide). Enjoyed it very much!

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

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Caleb James

149 posts in 3701 days

#5 posted 12-28-2012 03:10 PM

Thanks Fellas,

I think we are lacking in reviews on the lesser known products, tools, and books out their. I try to share if no one else has posted something on that item and I have something worth saying.

Brandon, I posted some pics of the chair in my project page. I used to visit here a lot a few years ago but just got caught up in my own blog ( and work since then. I am coming back to share. I forgot how much I like the community spirit here.


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45 posts in 4210 days

#6 posted 12-28-2012 04:03 PM

I have found this book very useful. My Beech lumber is in the shop waiting for the time to make a few hollow and round planes.

-- BigEd, sawdust maker in Ohio

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26 posts in 3057 days

#7 posted 12-28-2012 04:19 PM


Thanks for sharing your website. Lots of great stuff! That curved settee is a beauty and no doubt a challenge to build.

I took a class with Curtis this summer and had a blast. I just split my white oak log last Saturday and hope to get the next chair finished in the next few weeks. Thanks again for sharing! Have a great new year.


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Caleb James

149 posts in 3701 days

#8 posted 12-28-2012 05:28 PM

Yeah that Curtis is a great guy to work with and learn from. By the way since you have taken a class with him you should check out his new teaching format. He will be having 3 or 4 students per class now. He has changed his shop around to accommodate them and I think will provide a better learning experience than one on one for most people.

He has a class on making this arm chair for those that have built another chair with him. We took our time and did it in two weeks when I worked with him but I was taking profuse notes and pictures since I was going to be drawing the chair plans for him. They should be available for release soon. It was supposed to be coming trough Lost Arts Press but Chris is deep into doing the Roubo books so it is going to be temporarily coming straight from Curtis himself for the time being. We will see. Can’t wait to see people making chairs from the plans soon though.


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#9 posted 12-28-2012 05:55 PM


-- Joel

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#10 posted 12-29-2012 01:12 AM

Thanks for the review. I thought it was another dry, historical text. Nice to know it’s a pretty good book.

-- Karen - a little bit of stupid goes a long way

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Caleb James

149 posts in 3701 days

#11 posted 12-30-2012 04:48 AM

No, not a historical text. Matthew Bickford seems to be pretty humble about not being a history buff about the planes and he seems to acknowledge that his approach is that, his approach. I like that he says that his method creates a base to start from and that you rely less on the math of it all as you get more proficient as you use the planes and become more comfortable with them.

I like that it gives the average woodworker a place to start without a bunch of trial and error and learning by experience. He is not a really long time user and says it but that doesn’t mean that the text doesn’t reflect a really well done job. I am glad he shared his experience. I know that it takes a ridiculous amount of time to write and edit a piece especially one with illustrations. The fellas that are published at LAP do it for a labor of love, I believe. Considering what I have seen.


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