Use of wooden moulding planes

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Established Member
21 Sep 2017
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I was given a couple of old wooden moulding planes recently and today I have been playing with them. I have never used tools like this before and I would like to confirm that I am going about it the right way.

The planes have a hollowed sole to produce a convex round work piece. One is marked as a number 8. I cannot find a size mark on the other but it produces a smaller round.

As a moulding plane has no fence, am I correct to assume I should first create a rebate on the work piece to run the plane against? Or how does one guide the plane to work in a straight line?

Any tips on using these planes would be gratefully received.

In case anyone is interested , both of the planes are stamped with the name L Hales which I think is a previous owner. The number 8 is marked W Greenslade Bristol, which I believe is the manufacturer. That plane also has 3 lines of text that is difficult to decipher but I think this reads
Exhibition (something unreadable)
London Dublin
Paris Melbourne
The other plane has no maker's identification that I can find. It looks like it could be from the same stable as the number 8 but it is not quite the same size so that may be misleading.
Yes, it's a good technique to first cut a rebate and use it to guide the plane.

It depends on what you are making, but it is also possible to "freehand". Start at the far end of the work, taking progressively longer strokes, so your deepening groove guides the plane. Use your left hand fingers to make a fence to control the position of the plane.

Greenslades were a very successful manufacturer.
The missing text is the word MEDALS.
The dates of the exhibitions were 1862, 1865, 1890 and 1880.
Excellent information as always Andy.

It is surprising (to me at least) how many tools mention medals won by their manufacturers. Awarding medals at exhibitions must have been very common back then. I have not heard of anything similar in modern-day industry apart from in the motor industry with their "car of the year", "truck of the year" etc awards. Are there any awards for tools these days? "Chinese knock-off of the year" anyone? Or perhaps it would not look good to be awarding gold medals to piles of plastic.
a rebate is for guiding hollow planes rounds (like yours I think) are guided by chamfers. 8 and 6 are really useful sizes
I'll describe how I sort these. first off hollows are much easier to sort and sharpen. after a hundred years the soles always need flattening hollows can be flattened using bench planes and sandpaper.when they are flat then grind and sharpen the iron. this is best achieved with a bench grinder constantly checking by putting it back in the plane. sharpen using oilstones and needs to be perfect if possible. when the sole is flat and the iron matches the sole perfectly then you should be able to take a fairly fine shaving. at that point use the hollow to flatten the sole of the equivalent the tricky bit! grinding and sharpening the round to the exact profile. a bit of advice constantly check the profile against the plane. as it needs to be fairly sharp(not like a bench plane) but it needs to perfectly match the profile to work as it should.
not every plane can be made to work btw some are twisted and all over the shop.