Chamfers for moulding planes

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steve355

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Hi

I am struggling to consistently cut accurate cross-grain chamfers for my moulding planes. The complication is that they are terminated cuts, so pretty much have to be done with a chisel of some sort. Larry Williams does them by chiselling the edge to a line. There’s a video on YouTube of the last moulding plane maker at Marples in 1962 doing them, and he just whips them off with a single blow on a butt chisel, by eye.

Here‘s what I’d like to achieve, by Matt Bickford…..

IMG_0749.jpeg


heres a recent one I did using the chiselling along the arris method:

IMG_4101.jpeg

But more often than not it wanders off course.

Here’s a chamfer using a butt chisel along the grain.

IMG_4099.jpeg


Any tips anyone has for getting this to be good and consistent would be very welcome.

Thanks
Steve
 
There are many ways to achieve a decent chamfer and, no doubt, they will all be displayed here presently.

It may be that chiselling is one way to go to get the bulk of the stock out, but after that you may have the answer for the final, finishing cuts lurking in the back ground in your second picture.... I refer to the float.

A well-sharpened and dead-flat float will get right into that corner and they deal very well with end-grain. However, to do what you want, it needs to have a precisely level and very sharp leading front tooth for the finish you need.

I don't make planes, but in the past I have made lots of repeated stopped-chamfers and the float is my last finishing tool to get into the corner.
The problem with floats, in this day and age, is that they need a lot of precise sharpening attention to work as they should.

But, as I said there are probably lots of conflicting methods to come.........

Good luck, choose or hybridize the most effective for your style of work.
 
The guy at the Marples factory was not malleting the chisel, he was pushing it with his shoulder. See other parts of the video. Also, check out the other video in that collection with the bench plane maker using his shoulder to make paring cuts. You may need a bigger chisel.
 
Practice.The man at Marples had presumably made a lot of planes.I'm a little surprised that somebody is actually making moulding planes these days.An interesting hobby and a way to keep the skills alive.
 
Practice.The man at Marples had presumably made a lot of planes.I'm a little surprised that somebody is actually making moulding planes these days.An interesting hobby and a way to keep the skills alive.
I think also that the Marples planes of that era did not have the same “boutique” fine detailing that Matt Bickford puts on his planes. I have many old planes and the chamfering is practical, for comfort in use rather than to look snazzy.

I’m not totally sure why I got obsessed with making these moulding planes. I want to make some windows by hand and I found I couldn’t get a matching set of sash ovolo plane, sash template, and sash coping plane. How hard could it be to make them? I thought. The answer is pretty hard, to make them properly, with the proper tools. Especially if one is doing the metalwork from scratch too. So I’m doing hollows and rounds to learn. Steep learning curve. But fascinating, and as you say, keeps the knowledge alive.

Practice makes perfect, and I had a better result this morning paring by hand like Norman in the Marples video.

IMG_4102.jpeg
 
The 18th/19th C plane-makers relics that we see today used batch techniques, passing on-wards, each man doing a set cut..... plus the blanks were produced en-masse with reverse-profile mothering-planes to form the basis of the soles.

As a long-time carver, I think that you are using paring techniques that are easily transferred.

It's good work, keep it up.
 
......

Any tips anyone has for getting this to be good and consistent would be very welcome.

Thanks
Steve
Looks like a very simple little task - you just need more practice, assuming you have sharp chisels.
Needs good holding in a vice, vertically, edge on, just an inch or so above bench top level, so you can chisel towards the bench, with a long chisel - easier to hold to a line compared to a butt chisel.
Maybe knife marks instead of pencil, until you get better control.
PS just had a look at the vid! Interesting stuff - he does it nearly all in the vice, or in a crafty bench hook plus wedge, still in the vice. It'd have to be dead solid for that wide butt-chisel chop. Your hold-down not solid enough. I reckon a paring cut along the length of the chamfer would be easier, but take a bit longer.
 
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the key is practise like with most things in life, I'd use a very sharp chisel, you could also use a pencil gauge or marking gauge with a very light cut and it wouldn't be cheating.
 
I looked at the video again. He's cutting chamfers at 4:35 and at 19:25. He's using a butt chisel and a file. In the first case it's a close up and you can't tell if he's striking the chisel or not, I assumed he was pushing with his shoulder. In the second case it's clear he's using a mallet, three strikes and he's done. The chamfer is smaller than the width of the chisel, which contributes to a better cut. His chisel may be worn out and have started as a regular bench chisel.
 
I looked at the video again. He's cutting chamfers at 4:35 and at 19:25. He's using a butt chisel and a file. In the first case it's a close up and you can't tell if he's striking the chisel or not, I assumed he was pushing with his shoulder. In the second case it's clear he's using a mallet, three strikes and he's done. The chamfer is smaller than the width of the chisel, which contributes to a better cut. His chisel may be worn out and have started as a regular bench chisel.
I bet he didn’t really believe that people would be analysing his work in 2023 to work out how he did it. Fascinating that the butt chisel is his go to chisel, he uses it for paring the entire bed in one go.

here are a couple of chamfers I cut with the butt chisel/mallet ….

IMG_4107.jpeg


not bad, but it tricky to do. I expect that what he was going for was more like this Buck plane than the Matt Bickford one:

IMG_4108.jpeg

I think if I want the super crisp edges I just need to up my chiselling game with a regular bevel chisel. Lots of practice required.

Steve
 

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