Day 2, Molding Planes

We started the day with a bit of muscle ‘refresh’ working on the last practice board from yesterday, or grabbing a new one.  I decided to work on my worst one from the day before, the bullnose.  Because we were working on the narrow edge, we used the vise rather than the sticking board for this one.  Yesterday I put the camfers on one side, flipped it end for end, did the other chamfer, then started the molding with the hollow.  I got it close, then flipped back again.  Today I decided to try it going to same direction without any flipping.  It worked a lot better, not so much dealing with the grain direction (though in different material that would be a concern) but because I could get the molding more symmetrical.  Still not a model molding, but improvement.

We then went onto to discussions of two other molding planes which are essentially for some complex moldings: side rounds and snipes bills.  The side-rounds are essential for those moldings which have a bead in what looks like the middle of a cove (for want of the technical term).  Here Matt is showing us the proper grip and motion fr the side-round.  Where the index finger of his left hand is will become the bead of the molding.

We also discussed some of the uses of snipes bill planes, which are essential for adding a quirk in the middle of a molding (think quirk and side bead, but anyplace in the molding).  Some people also use them for starting rabbets.  We broke for lunch with our picture frame looming for the afternoon session.  Game time!

We started by discussing the molding for the picture frame and the different rabbets and chamfers we’d need to make.  Here’s the diagram we worked off–we used a rabbet plane, #10 round, #6 hollow, and a #2 hollow for the bead.

We also picked our 6 foot piece of cherry, then lopped off 1 foot for a practice run on the molding.  We ran all the rabbets using just a marking gauge, pencil (to highlight it), and an unfenced rabbet plane.  The bulk of the work was with the rabbet plane, which as Matt explains makes sense since it is the easiest plane to sharpen, so why not use it to take off the bulk of the waste.  Here’s an end grain view with the rabbets and chamfer.  One note, Matt did provide each of us with an end grain view of the rabbets we’d need with the marking gauge lines already marked.  I kept mine because it provides a nice addition to the ‘library–you just put your wheel-style marking gauge in the marks, lock it down and run the gauge on the end grain.  Because of how the rabbets are removed, only a few can be run down the top or side.  Well, you can run them all if you want, but they’ll disappear after the rabbet removes it.  That little fillet on the bottom right of the molding was the most challenging to get right.  I ended up placing the molding on the narrow side and ran the rabbet from there, though I did try (on Matt’s suggestion) with the molding in the orientation you see below.  Tough.

After completing our practice pieces, we each got feedback from Matt about what to improve, or where we made mistakes which would be tough to recover from.  That ovolo on the left (where the chamfer is in the above photo) was were I tipped the hollow a little too close to the bead and ended up creating a tiny little quirk.

The big stick of raw wood then greeted us all.  As one of my classmates said “I used to think rabbits (rabbets) were cute”.  That first, big rabbet sure took a lot of motion to get correct.  A few of us had sticking boards which were a little too short, so we had a couple of battens with the molding billet against the dog, and the near end just hanging over the vise.  This proved to cause a few problems with getting a clean cut at the beginning for me.  After completing the molding, Matt then took them over to the table saw and cut the very ends off and switched them end-for-end to compare any differences. Once those differences were worked out, he then ran the stick through a dado stack for the back rabbet to hold the picture/glass.  As a hand tool worker, Matt said this would be the first rabbet you’d run, then use a long shim on the sticking board, or even design the sticking board to handle a typical rabbet depth for this kind of work.

For me, the cove was a little shallow on the near side and the ovolo a little proud on the far end.  It wasn’t horrible (maybe a rank 32nd), but since this molding is for a picture frame, they need to be as close as possible since the 8th miter has to match the 1st and they come from opposite ends of the molding.

I ended up being about mid-pack in terms of completing, but Matt asked if I was game to run the miters at the tablesaw (everyone else that has taken the class did the miters at home).  Sure, why not.  So here is the completed frame with the lower right corner being the 1st-8th.  There is a little bit of matching I’ll need to do with the cove, but it was pretty close.  Now I just get to glue it up and find a suitable picture for it.  Maybe one of my little niece or my parents.

Now to meet my classmates, working from the front to the back.  I think I got everyone’s name right (let me know if not):

Our fearless teacher, making sure we all got our questions answered and providing lots of valuable feedback.  I look forward to getting my planes (which we used for the class) and the forthcoming book–it sounds like I’ll have them all this month.  For me, besides the plane work, how he breaks down moldings was the most impressive part of the class.  Even very complex moldings can be broken down into easily digestible sections, with distinct rabbet/chamfers to guide the molding planes.  I can’t wait to read the book, I’m sure it will also be as systematic (judging by his blog posts, it should be an instant classic).






Mike, our resident lefty who had planes of his own to use, but none of the benches are really setup for lefties.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend a weekend, despite the hot, muggy weather.  Saturday in the back room (w/o the A/C) was worse than today, but we all did a lot of planing.  I can see myself making a few of these frames for Christmas gifts, a well as sticking more moldings for any future case work I do.  Plus with some of the tips Gordon and I picked up from Matt should make rehabbing a few of my auction planes into workable users easier than just reading about it on a woodworking forum.

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