Fixing moulding planes

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    Adam Magers


    I just acquired a lot of antique molding planes and they’re in pretty good shape. They look to have been used until fairly recently, as the blades look very clean and are fairly sharp. However, I’ve noticed the blades on several of them have a tendency to drop well below the sole of the plane and catch on the work piece. I’ve tried to wedge the blade properly, but they continually slip.

    Whats the best fix? Fashioning a new wedge? Using a shim or sorts? Any good resources on this?

    Thanks for any help and advice you can offer!


    Rob Young

    Somewhat covered in the DVD “Sharpening Profiled Hand Tools” by Larry Williams.  But on the whole, it sounds like you should be checking the fit of the iron to the bed of the plane and to the wedge.

    Make sure the blade is as clean and flat as you can manage in the areas that bed against the ramp and the wedge.

    Clean things as best you can to get a good surface and then you can use soot from a candle or just scribble with a dry-erase marker.  Put the soot or marker on the iron, fit things up and then take apart and examine the bed and the wedge.  You want to see even “staining” of the mating surfaces.  Take of as little as possible to make things right.  Work on one surface at a time.  Be careful with the wedge shape, it should have a double taper to properly eject shavings.

    Just a good cleaning of the bed to get out every last bit of gunk stuck in the corners may be the most helpful.

    Be careful, be patient and go slow.

    Other sources of information that you may find helpful include Matt Bickford’s new book, Mike Dunbar’s book on restoring tools, I think Kingshot had a few words on the subject too, and lots of browsing the internet.   But on the whole, same as any other woodie you sometimes have to do a little custom fitting of the bed & wedge to the blade.

    Adam Magers

    Awesome! Thank you, Rob! I greatly appreciate your help and the resources. I’ve looked everywhere on the web and I’ve found very little that is helpful, so I am grateful for your advice.



    Somewhere along the line I acquired a single iron, non adjustable skated plow plane that cuts a 3/16″ slot 1/4″ from the edge,1/4″ deep.

    I was never able to keep the blade from moving and ended up talking with Larry Williams who graciously offer to look at it .

    I had already checked the fit of the wedge and iron and was pretty frustrated.

    Before I sent it off, I decided in desperation to try something else. I had a can of spray shellac and applied a light coat to the wedge and let it dry.

    Worked a charm, sticks like an Anaconda and I can now use the plane.

    Admittedly it’s a little hard to get it apart at first, but that settles down with use.

    Make sure the shellac is dry or you’ll glue the wedge in.

    All this is probably heresy, but it worked for me.





    SW Pennsylvania

    Adam Magers


    Haha, I’m sure it is heresy to some, but that is an extremely good idea! Luckily I have a few busted ones that I can try that out on. Thank you very much!


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