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Putting a wooden moulding plane to work

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Alf

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For the first time in what seems like months, I returned from the car boot on Sunday with a tool! :shock: Putting aside the fact that I have no idea why I bought it, I decided to break all records and get it cleaned up and working within the same day. I took a few pics of what I did pour encourager les autres :wink: .

Here's it is in its as-bought state. Dirty, but the sole was straight and reasonably crisp in the important areas, the iron with plenty of meat left in it and a well-known maker...



...as you might be able to make out – D(avid) Malloch, Perth, Scotland (1850-1932>). It's a sash moulder, used in making sash window glazing bars; they came in pairs and this is #1. No-one seems to be entirely sure why, but the standard explanation is that plane #1 was used to do the majority of the work with a roughish cut, then #2 with a fine setting would take the last pass or two for a fine finish. The moulding is a pretty standard Ovolo.



A couple of smart hammer blows on the heel of the plane and the wedge and iron came free. Hmm, pretty standard fare; these wooden moulders do tend to get pretty crusty irons. :( No matter; into the citric acid bath with it and we'll see what happens. As an aside, to my horror the brass faces of my plane adjusting hammer came loose during all this. I hope it's just because the head has unwisely been exposed to the blazing heat of the sun right on it during the summer which has done bad things to the epoxy. If it's not, and the same thing has happened to the other two, my sincere apologies to the two gentlemen who have them. Evidentally I'm more of your “showcase” toolmaker in that case. :(



Now I don't profess to have the “right” solution to cleaning wooden tools, but it works for me. I might hesitate if it was something valuable, which I always check first, but as it is... I took copious quantities of a “Black Bison” neutral paste wax and a fine grade of non-woven abrasive pad, and working with the grain, cleaned the body of the plane. It seems to adequately remove the crud while still retaining its well-earned aged look. Here I've done the rear half while the front is yet uncleaned.



The gungy-looking wax is clearly visible in the mortise here; a good deal of wiping away with paper towels is needed to really get the plane clean. Avoid getting wax into the plane mortise or too much onto the wedge or the plane won't keep its setting.



The finished result may not be perfect, but at least it's a lot more pleasant to the touch and it doesn't look like something from a belt sander testing workshop.



Meanwhile the iron has spent a couple of hours in quite a concentrated solution of citric acid; a quick scrub under running water and it's good enough. Certainly better than I have often achieved with abrasives and elbow grease in the past. A hefty dose of wax is required to stop it rusting afresh right before your eyes.



As is often the case with old moulding planes, the profile of the iron isn't quite the same as that of the sole. Sometimes it's due to shrinkage of the wood, but often it's just poor sharpening by the previous custodian. I've seen an old tip for using thin zinc sheet bent to the profile of the sole to protect it while running a slip stone along to define the proper profile, but in these modern times it's much easier to use some adhesive tape. :wink:



You can just make out where the slip stone has abraded the deepest points of the profile; the shape may be right now, but the bevel angle is all wrong with no clearance, and the edge is far from sharp...



... so I clamp the iron, bevel up, in a small vice and use a coarse oil slip stone to form a bevel and remove those flat areas. Use any method you like though, if it works for you. In my case it's important not to leave the iron sticking out like that while I do something else; stabbing yourself in the stomach with a plane iron is a hard one to explain in an ambulance! Where there is considerable material to be removed, there's a lot to be said for a Dremel and a small grinding cone, but you do need to be careful to avoid making things even worse... Having got the bevel to my satisfaction, I then honed it to final sharpness using a fine slip stone. Various grades of abrasive wrapped round suitable-sized dowels work just as well; some people prefer them as the longer length assists in eyeballing the right angle. But as I do have the slip stones and I didn't have a suitable dowel, the choice was simple.



The iron was then set in the plane and the wedge tapped firm. I like to sight along the sole and set the blade projection by eye slightly shy of the required depth, push home the wedge, and then the final wedge-setting tap of the hammer tends to bed the iron down a fraction further to achieve the desired cut. Like many moulding planes, this one is “sprung”; that is the plane is held at an angle to the work rather than cutting straight down. It keeps the centre line of the plane at more or less right angles to the main face of the moulding and makes it easier to stop the plane “walking off” the work. I reckon it also reduces the area of moulding that gets scraped to shape, rather than cut, but that's not something that seems to get mentioned much.



This plane has depth stop and side fence built in to the profile, so it's simply a matter of planing with the side pressed against the work until the stop prevents it cutting any further. A little perspiration later, and the finished moulding. For a proper glazing bar you'd use a board the desired thickness and plane the moulding again on the reverse to form the glazing bar profile. Then a sash fillister would form the rebate to take the glass. As it is, it makes quite a nice decorative moulding for quite other uses. :)



It was about then that I discovered I already have a sash moulder virtually identical in shape and size... #-o

Cheers, Alf
 

Chris Knight

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Alf":3vx23s2m said:
It was about then that I discovered I already have a sash moulder virtually identical in shape and size... #-o
Alf,

Never mind, sell one and buy another at a boot fair.. try to find a different profile this time!

That is a nice "how to". I confess to using white spirits to clean up old woodies before I apply the wax.
 

Philly

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Very informative Alf! Cheers :D
Using a piece of maple for practise. You must have too much timber lying around :lol: :wink:
Philly :wink:
 

bugbear

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I reckon it (spring)also reduces the area of moulding that gets scraped to shape, rather than cut, but that's not something that seems to get mentioned much.
I thought that was the main reason (according to either Dunbar or Whelan, IIRC)

BugBear
 

mudman

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Alf,

That's great, thanks for that. I have a few woodies that I need to restore and I was wondering about how to restore the profile. Never thought of using the plane's profile itself. Do you set the blade as accurately as possible and then grind off the bits that stick out?
 

Adam

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Alf":3n1xpao3 said:
It was about then that I discovered I already have a sash moulder virtually identical in shape and size... #-o Cheers, Alf
Ahh well, my workshop always welcomes surplus stock :wink:

Adam
 
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That was really interesting, Alf! Here's me wondering if the wedge is wooden or metal... you can see I don't know a thing about planes at all! So it's really informative to see what someone who *does* know has to say about them.

Where do you find the citric acid for your bath and what are the proportions you mix to?

evie
 

Waka

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Alf

I've got about 30 of these all different profiles that need some care and attention, what you doing next month :lol: :lol:
 

Alf

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waterhead37":2iujujhz said:
I confess to using white spirits to clean up old woodies before I apply the wax.
I used to as well, but I find the wax alone much nicer to deal with.

Philly":2iujujhz said:
Using a piece of maple for practise. You must have too much timber lying around :lol: :wink:
I wish. :( 'Tis my stock "practice" hunk o' poplar.

bugbear":2iujujhz said:
I reckon it (spring)also reduces the area of moulding that gets scraped to shape, rather than cut, but that's not something that seems to get mentioned much.
I thought that was the main reason (according to either Dunbar or Whelan, IIRC)
That's what I thought too, but bearing in mind my faulty memory, I decided to check. I forgot all about Dunbar #-o and looked in BPMs, and no mention of it was made at all. Could be the collector mentality rather than the user creeping in there I s'pose. Oh well, both are applicable.

mudman":2iujujhz said:
Do you set the blade as accurately as possible and then grind off the bits that stick out?
Yep, pretty much.

Adam, I'm open to offers. :lol:

evie":2iujujhz said:
Where do you find the citric acid for your bath and what are the proportions you mix to?
Further details here. The only difference is the water had evaporated a bit since I posted that so the solution was a good deal stronger, and thus quicker. Anywhere that sells home brewing supplies is good for the citric acid.

Waka":2iujujhz said:
I've got about 30 of these all different profiles that need some care and attention, what you doing next month :lol: :lol:
Get in the queue - I've got about 40 of my own to do yet! ](*,) :lol:

Cheers, Alf
 

Frank D.

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That's great Alf! Nice tutorial. Makes me want to bring another one back to life; I'll grab one or two off my shelf and get them ready for the weekend. I'll post a few pics when they're ready.
 
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Hi Alf...... So this is where you guys hang out ! Took me a while to work that out.

Nice planes alright an't they. Sprung, full soled.

I wrote about mine too. Same sort of profile. Sash plane. http://www.woodworkforums.ubeaut.com.au ... s+profiles

Here's a thread also on sharpening them. Maybe of use to someone.
http://www.woodworkforums.ubeaut.com.au ... hp?t=19928

My sharpening methods changed a little since. But its essentially the same. ie. off grinder then buffing wheel.

But, I like the adhesive tape idea of yours with a stone. I might pinch that idea :wink: .... All the best.
 

bugbear

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Alf":f3hbxbfn said:
As an aside, to my horror the brass faces of my plane adjusting hammer came loose during all this. I hope it's just because the head has unwisely been exposed to the blazing heat of the sun right on it during the summer which has done bad things to the epoxy. If it's not, and the same thing has happened to the other two, my sincere apologies to the two gentlemen who have them. Evidentally I'm more of your “showcase” toolmaker in that case. :(
You know, I must have skimmed this post when it first appeared. 'Cause I didn't notice this reference to the hammer.

Errr.

I don't want to sound ungrateful or nuffink, but the pins have come out, and one of the faces has fallen off my little hammer.

However, I am a lot more than willing to glue it back on. Have you tried yet? Any tips?

For the record, I was initially rather skeptical of such a light hammer (I was previously using a 4oz ball pien), but the light weight is adequate (as long as you haven't over tightened the wedge) and gives finer control.

BugBear (who would like his working hammer back)
 

ike

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Alf,

Very useful info. I have a boxful of moulding planes all with crusty out of shape irons. Now I know what to do with them.

thanks,

Ike
 

MikeW

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Alf

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bugbear":1rcal2i5 said:
I don't want to sound ungrateful or nuffink, but the pins have come out, and one of the faces has fallen off my little hammer.
D'oh! #-o I haven't fixed mine yet, but I did recently read somewhere (The Porch?) that epoxy doesn't work well on brass, which maybe the problem. I have no whizzo solution. :(

Welcome, Jake. I 'm sure we'll have plenty of boxes for you to think outside. :D

Cheers, Alf
 
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Anonymous

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Thanks Derek. Are we the only Aussies here ?

I'll be on my best behaviour ! I promise .... :lol:

Alf":wduwe1gt said:
Welcome, Jake. I 'm sure we'll have plenty of boxes for you to think outside. :D

Cheers, Alf
Thanks Alf...

My minds racing already. :wink: ..... Just hope I don't put anyones nose out of joint. I must THINK before I type.. :oops:
 
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