Homemade Hollow and Round Moulding Planes

Welcome! Forums General Woodworking Discussions Tools and Tool Maintenance/Restoration Homemade Hollow and Round Moulding Planes

Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
  • Author
  • #127542
    Matt McGrane

    I’d been frustrated with eBay (either losing auctions due to automatic bids or not knowing the quality) and tool sellers (high prices) regarding H&R planes. After a bit of research I’ve been experimenting with making my own and it looks like it’s coming out pretty well. It hasn’t been too difficult either, especially if you cheat. I don’t have plane-makers floats, or a 3/16″ chisel, which would be nice.

    I’ve completed a pair of 1/2″ and am in process of making a 3/8″ pair. Will follow up with a 5/8″ pair. I’m just using some wood I have on hand (recycled wood of course, from my sister’s kitchen reno) – I think it’s alder or something, but not sure. On the 1/2″ hollow plane, I made it from a solid block of wood, sawing and mortising (1/4″ mortise using Sellers’ mortise guide) the area for iron and wedge. I had to buy a 1/8″ chisel (couldn’t find a 3/16″) to complete the work. I shaped the bottom with the round plane, which I’ll discuss next.

    The 1/2″ round plane I made by laminating three sections. The middle section I sawed to remove the waste for wedge mortise so that part is really two pieces. I hope the picture of me holding the plane shows this OK. From the back view of the plane, the left side (nearest my wrist) is 3/16″ thick x 3 3/8″ x 9 1/2″. The Center section(s) was 1/2″ thick x 3 3/8″ x 9 1/2″. On this I made a rabbet 1 1/4″ x 5/16″ deep. The right upper section is 1 1/4″ x 9 1/2″ to fit into the rabbet. Using the moulding planes I already had as a guide, I very carefully (this is key) laid out the bed and breast angles on the middle piece (do this before cutting the rabbet), cut out the middle section for wedge and iron, glue those pieces to the 3/16″ thick piece, and later glue on the upper right piece to enclose the “mortise”. I shaped the bottom with a #4. Finished with three coats BLO.

    Shaping the irons was a challenge. I have no grinder, just files and I suck at metal work. But I managed to get them pretty close to the right shape. I got the iron blanks from Lie-Nielsen for about $18 a pop.

    I’ve shown an example of what can be done with these. I cut rabbets first to remove the bulk of the waste, and then rounded the rest with the H&R’s. Came out pretty good.

    I’d love to hear comments and critiques. This was an experiment, but I’ll hopefully use these for a while (I don’t do much moulding at this point, so they might last a while). If they wear out fast, maybe I’ll try maple. Doubt I’d ever try to find some quartersawn beech.

    Matt, Northern California - Started a blog in 2016: http://tinyshopww.blogspot.com/

    Peter George

    Looking good Matt!

    Peter in
    Biggar SK
    "New York is big, but this is Biggar"



    can you take some pictures as you go? I would like to make some of these style of planes also.

    Thanks. Also, I agree: Looking good!


    Near Chicago, USA

    Matt McGrane

    @jude – Jude, I do have a few more pictures that could help, but feel free to ask any questions about the build.

    First pic is of the parts before assembly.
    Second and third pics are of the layout marks for the moulding profiles.

    Matt, Northern California - Started a blog in 2016: http://tinyshopww.blogspot.com/


    I too have started to make my own collection of Hollows and Rounds, but I came across a very good video recently by Tod Herrli, call strangely enough “Hollows and Rounds” where he shows you step by step the way they are made, plus lots of other information. I think it was around $25. contact Todd directly on is email to find out more
    [email protected]

    Good luck with the rest, the first ones look great

    Derek Long

    Good work, Matt. This is very encouraging for those of us that are considering making our own hollows and rounds.

    Derek Long
    Denver, Colorado

    Matt McGrane

    @geoffbutler1 – Thanks Geoff. I’ve considered Todd’s video and also Don Williams’s, but I’m trying to go on the cheap. I may still go for that, though.

    – Derek, if anyone can make these planes, I’m sure you can. Just a matter of finding the time and getting to it.

    Matt, Northern California - Started a blog in 2016: http://tinyshopww.blogspot.com/


    Very impressive!

    I have seen quartersawn beech wood for sale as plane blanks from a sawyer in Indiana. I can’t remember his name, but he does maintain a store on ebay. So it might not hurt to check ebay from time to time.


    You can get O1 tool steel from MSC, online. That must be cheaper than LN’s 18+ bucks a blank, although you’ll need to cut the “flags” from the steel. It’s not so bad. The blades do not need to be tapered like the LN blanks. Three feet of 1/8″ x 1″ O1 is $22 and you can get shorter lengths for less. Tod’s H&R video is excellent, but he does not build up a laminated plane (although he will glue up laminates to get a solid blank). He starts with a solid blank and cuts a mortise and escapement. Probably the biggest difference for that approach is that all of the shaping, cleaning, and tuning of the mortise and escapement is done from “outside” the mortise, while for the lamination approach you can do more before you glue up (I guess…I’ve never done one your way). So, you need to have planemaker floats to clean up the mortise and bed. The good news is that, when you get your steel for the blades, you can make floats from that steel, too. It’s like sawing a file and you don’t need to harden the floats.

    Mark Armstrong

    Very nice Matt?

    Dagenham, Essex, England


    Matt, The molding planes look great.

    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

    Albert Einstein

Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.