Moulding Planes

Moulding Planes Keyframe 2

This is a free video, want to watch it?

Just log into the site and you can enjoy this video and many more!

We might easily be disaffectionate to the forebears of woodworking, who so enriched our lives with the most wonderful woodworking ever created, using only their bare hands and tools they made to work with. For a short run of moulded stock, moulding planes can be immediate and quite inexpensive. Many ‘old-timers’ kept them around to replicate old moulds and also to develop modern alternatives with their own proven technology. In this video Paul touches the very tip of the iceberg of what lies beneath the surface that we have just barely scraped.


  1. Tony Colliver on 14 June 2019 at 10:45 am

    Not a comment on moulding planes – but how are the timber softening pads secured to the jaws of the clamps being used please?

    I have never had much success with glue.

    (Though now I come to think of it perhaps double-sided tape is the way to go…?)

    • Jean-Christophe Groussin on 14 June 2019 at 4:27 pm

      Yep. Double-sided tape the way to go.

    • jakegevorgian on 15 June 2019 at 5:47 am

      I used superglue and sometimes they come off…I superglue it again. From the use of 70-80 clamps this only happens to 1 or two of clamps… so I’m ok with it.

    • Bob Blarney on 16 June 2019 at 12:42 pm

      In the US, DAP makes a new CA glue formula Rapidfuse that bonds many dissimilar materials.

    • Alan on 17 June 2019 at 2:51 am

      My clamps have metal pads with an internal flat face of course, and a flat on the outside with a central reinforcing ‘rib’.
      Drill two small holes, through the wooden cushion and through the metal pad. One hole each side of the rib.
      Countersink the hole on the internal face of the cushion.
      Insert two small countersunk bolts, secured with nuts on the ribbed side.
      They’ll never move, slip, or twist, under pressure.

    • Izzy Berger on 17 June 2019 at 8:34 am

      Hi Tony,

      Paul recommends making a few adjustments to sash clamps before using them, including adding plywood pads using either double sided tape or contact adhesive. You can read more about these adjustments in our guide on Common Woodworking:

      Kind Regards,

  2. Gerrit Klaassen on 14 June 2019 at 11:00 am

    I used them for making picture frames. Especially for period style frames. I sold my shop but kept a few and lately find myself using them again (because at the time I put a routerbit in the router adjusted the hight, get my safety glasses, hearing protection and dust mask, it’s been planed much quicker). I do however regret selling the profile rollers because they are very rare and expensive nowadays. Thanks for a nice introduction video for those who are new to the old ways of doing things.

  3. Steve McGonigle on 14 June 2019 at 11:05 am

    Another wonderful film, thank you Paul for highlighting these wonderful tools. I love collecting and using them. Goodman’s book can be found on Ebay or sites such as Abebooks. It’s definitely worth seeking out.

    For those who live in the UK, or indeed if you’re visiting and near to Sheffield, can I suggest that you pay a visit to the Kelham Island Museum in Sheffield. It’s a fabulous place with a massive 12,000 hp steam engine which is 3 storeys high and still working.

    Of more specific interest to we woodworkers is the Hawley Collection. Over 100,000 edged tools, an incredible display of saws, chisels, planes etc. The curators are really keen, and love to show their exhibits. When I showed an interest, they let me handle and examine numerous items about which I’d only read or seen pictures of.

  4. Sebastián Pavese on 14 June 2019 at 11:16 am

    Thanks Paul! It’s a magnificent world when you introduce us the moulding planes.

  5. John Devereux on 14 June 2019 at 11:17 am

    I’ve just watched Paul working moulding planes. I’ve used them on and off for fifty plus years. I’d like to add a couple of comments. The finished you get is quite distinct and not possible with a machine router. The moulding plane burnishes as it goes, especially in a resinous fruit wood. I cut my own tongue and groove floorboards, you can see from Paul’s demonstration how snug the fit is. With a smaller size of T&G planes making up a back for a bookcase or cupboard produces a result that has warmth and subtlety. Wood machining is engineering. Very effective but aesthetically quite another matter. Ones own moulding planes offer a quiet signature quality to your work. Quiet too in the working. Paul makes it seem easy. You will find it is. But always start from the front end (in the beginning is my end as T S Eliot had it) and work back. It doesn’t work the other way. Our skirting boards are all hand made. Repairs are so easy. You won’t need a huge number of planes, though it’s good to have many. Paul didn’t talk about planing end grain. I plant a small piece of scrap to stop the workpiece from splitting. I assume that was the old way.

    It’s quiet, quick, effective and the results pleasing. It takes less time than setting up the machine. You’ve guessed: I think it is a superior approach. Unless of course you want a mile or two of moulded edge. Which I never do.

    Thanks Paul, for an insight into the meditative art of the cabinet maker.

  6. Stephen Hillier on 14 June 2019 at 11:29 am

    Thank you Paul for this video. I have one or two of the simpler profiles and have not been brave enough to adventure into the more complex shapes.
    Is there going to be a follow up on how to sharpen the blades on the more complex shapes and how to re-profile the plane sole if and when needed?

    • Izzy Berger on 18 June 2019 at 10:34 am

      Hi Stephen,

      I passed your question on to Paul and he said he hasn’t planned to but he’ll give it some thought.

      Kind Regards,

  7. Robert Hall on 14 June 2019 at 11:56 am

    This is a pure joy to watch: the transformation of an ordinary piece of wood into something beautiful. I have to admire Paul’s skill as a master craftsman, yet at the same time I love the human touches: carefully avoiding knots; changing the clamp so we get a better view; and how many times have I put a pencil down and been unable to find it moments later? And mitring freehand – amazing! Heart-warming and encouraging. Thank you.

  8. cembalo8 on 14 June 2019 at 12:12 pm

    Thank you, Paul, for this introduction. Another very interesting book is by Matthew Bickford, “Mouldings in Practice.” He uses (and produces) hollows and rounds in the US and uses demonstrates how they are used to make simple to very elaborate moldings (which would be exorbitantly expensive and perhaps not possible to replicate with a modern router bit). I’m looking forward to a class with him later this summer, and this was a very interesting and useful overview of the process. I have procured a few moulding planes with fairly simple profiles, and I am exploring sharpening them and getting them to work properly as well. I hope there will be more videos with regard to restoring and sharpening. Thank you again, Paul.

  9. Tom Davies on 14 June 2019 at 12:31 pm

    Great video. As a follow up, it would be great if Paul could show us how to cut mortise and tenon joints into moulsed pieces, by coping or mitering

  10. Dale Wysinger on 14 June 2019 at 1:01 pm

    Thank you, Paul; I truly enjoy each of your lessons. I never stop learning about the peaceful joys of working with wood. I cherish the knowledge of those who have put in the years of hard work to bring me such experiences.

  11. Rolf Rejek on 14 June 2019 at 1:06 pm

    This is the first time I see such planer. Great video. Learned something again. Many Thanks.

  12. Ed on 14 June 2019 at 1:25 pm

    Another option for releasing a tight wedge is to flip the plane over (blade up), hook the wedge on the edge of your bench, and then tap the heel of the plane with a hammer or mallet. Be gentle.

    • Larry Geib on 14 June 2019 at 9:24 pm

      You can also grab the iron and wedge in one hand and smartly smack the heel of the plane on your bench top once or twice.

  13. Gary Mercer on 14 June 2019 at 3:28 pm

    All the molding planes demonstrated in this video are side escapement planes. I have made several (about 20 now), and have found that I can use an electric router in a table to route a profile into the sole…then trace the profile onto 0-1 steel, and shape the iron to match the profile, then heat treat. Works perfectly! I suggest anyone starting to make their own first plane begin with making a side escapement rebate plane as their first plane.

    • jakegevorgian on 15 June 2019 at 5:52 am

      That’s awesome…never thought about using a router bit to get the profile on my planes

  14. John McDermott on 14 June 2019 at 3:35 pm

    I have a question about using these on a curved edge. My interest would be running a profile on the edge of table top that has an oval or circular shape.

    • bobeaston on 14 June 2019 at 6:56 pm

      Almost impossible. Maybe a very simple convex edge (i.e. round-over) could be done with a “hollow” plane, but all else depends on having a straight registration surface for the plane. With no registration surface, one has no way to regulate depth of cut and the iron will end up being subject to the constantly changing angle of wood grain, either deflecting or digging in.

      The alternatives are: (1) hand carving with woodcarving gouges, or (2) using a “scratch stock,” a simple cutter held in a handle that scrapes or scratches a shape, or (3) using the screeching whirring electric router.

      One of my recent projects, a regulator clock, employed hollows and rounds, tongue and groove planes, scratch stocks and some hand carving.

    • Larry Geib on 14 June 2019 at 9:46 pm

      You can make any Edde profile you want. As Bob Easton days, you need to be able to register the plane. That is readily accomplished by first establishing a rebate or groove for concave profiles, or by first creating a chamfer so you have two edges to register with for a convex profile. Sometimes you might have to work against a straightedge, but not often.

      Several modern of makers of moulding planes have nice tutorials on their websites and Instagram feeds to get you started. M.S. Bickford’s book has been mentioned. His blog
      has more than enough information to get you started creating your own profiles with just a handful of moulding planes and a rebate plane. With a pair of #6 (3/8”) and a pair of #10 (5/8”) planes and a rebate plane you can create at least a dozen different profiles of most of the projects here. A whole set or even a half set of hollows and rounds are not necessary.

      A good place to get started, IMO is to find a 1/4” or 3/16” edge beading plane. It would be a good intro to these planes and be a quick and easy way to dress up your projects.

    • Izzy Berger on 18 June 2019 at 10:35 am

      Hi John,

      Paul says:
      The only way to do this is using a what we call a scratch stock which is a piece of flat metal similar to a card scraper thickness and shaped to a profile. This is then held in a support piece of wood and scrapes the profile you need.

      Kind Regards,

  15. Jim Dake on 14 June 2019 at 3:57 pm

    Thank You Sir
    It is wonderful to see, how my English heritage of woodworking applies
    Jim Dake
    Kansas, US of A

  16. Michael Calhoun on 14 June 2019 at 4:30 pm

    Paul shows us again that modern ways are not always the best. Many thanks Paul.

  17. Stephen Bamford on 14 June 2019 at 4:51 pm

    Another outstanding presentation. Thank you. I’m wondering if there are any special considerations in terms of sharpening blades used in these kinds of planes. My apologies if I missed seeing that in some of your other material. Best wishes and thanks again.

  18. SharpPencil on 14 June 2019 at 8:15 pm

    Hi Paul thank you for keeping to your promise… show a little about wooden moulders. They are a wonderful tool, I have about 50.
    I realise you haven’t the time to go further as you say there is so much to learn when using them.
    I do wish you had found the time to show a sticking board, I have an 8′-0″ and 4′-0″..far better than clamps.
    Don’t be offended when I say, when making a rebate I use a marking gauge and then with a scewed rebate plane pressed into the gauged groove and held at about 10deg….gradually bringing up to vertical with each stroke….rather than spoiling stock with pinned stop ( this can come loose )
    The book you show goes from about £40 to £100!!! And Matt Bickfords for about £40.
    I have watched every single utube video on moulders!
    I worked yesterday for a 91yr lady….her house was dripping with wonderful Victorian and Edwardian furniture…..wonderful. She had ten small sewing/
    boxes ….such fine detail with amazing banding…..I was able to take pictures for reference and ideas.

    Thank you John

  19. John Planz on 15 June 2019 at 1:29 am

    Greetings from Texas Paul!
    Nice video. Have ever spent time refurbishing these types of planes? Many I’ve encountered have seen better days! That would be a great video.
    All the best, thanks

    • Izzy Berger on 18 June 2019 at 10:55 am

      Hi John,

      Paul says:
      Yes, I’ve done this with most of my moulding planes as most of them do need work when they arrive. My thought is that this is too specialised a subject for my audience.

      Kind Regards,

      • Dmytro on 20 June 2019 at 6:05 pm

        Any chances if a follow up videos on bringing such a plane to a working condition? Antique molding planes don’t work as purchased, and although I was able to fettle a few hollow and rounds, complex moulding ones are a challenge. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

        • Izzy Berger on 24 June 2019 at 1:59 pm


          We don’t have any plans to provide such a video, purely because it’s become too specialised subject for a very narrow audience.

          Kind Regards,

  20. Eric Lundholm on 15 June 2019 at 2:14 am

    In the US in the 1700 and early 1800s planes were scarce a maker would have a limited number and one of the ways to tell one maker from another was by the planes he used and how he added to them with chisels etc.

  21. Marc-Andre Petit on 15 June 2019 at 3:45 am

    For those who are curious about all the different profiles you can make with hollow and round :

    An interesting book : Moulding in practice, by Matthew Sheldon Bickford. This book is available at Lee Valley.

  22. stevewales on 15 June 2019 at 3:56 am

    For those looking for a ‘subtle’ method of cleaning and renovating the wooden body of your moulding plane, a mixture of de-natured alcohol (isopropyl/meths) and white vinegar rubbed with a cotton cloth is the way to go.
    This will remove the accumulation of dirt and ‘hand grease’ without ruining the natural patina of the aged wood.
    Finish off with ‘BLO’ (Boiled Linseed Oil) – wiped on and off- for an authentic finishing treatment.
    (Also for saw handles, chisel handles etc)

  23. Paul Oram on 15 June 2019 at 10:45 am

    Yes. Great introduction. They can be quite a challenge to sharpen, but very enjoyable to use. Perfectly designed for its purpose. Very satisfying to use a tool with a real history.

  24. Ismail Altay on 15 June 2019 at 11:23 am

    Some years ago, without knowing what they are good for and how to use I bought number of different moulding planes. from the second hand. Then by time I tried to learned how to use them, but not so effectively because of not being able to sharpen the knives so well. I would like to use them because they are much quieter than milling machines. (I am living in a apartmant)
    The question is. If you have some advices, how to sharpen their knives efficiently and so on, I would be grateful.

  25. dvollie on 15 June 2019 at 1:20 pm

    I have a Stanley 45 but only a couple of cutters for it. Are there any good reproduction cutters to be had? i would love to get recommendations from someone who has used reproduction cutters. I am a little leery of purchasing used ones on ebay.

    • Larry Geib on 15 June 2019 at 5:27 pm

      The best marker for replacement cutters is they used market. I’ll work through the sources I have used.

      Veritas makes a set of growing cutters, beading, cutters, and A T&L set for its small growing plane. There’s are smaller than the Stanley 45 size but they will work. You just won’t get as many sharpening sticks out of them.

      They only make the 1/4” cutter for their relatively new offering of a combination plane. They state right in their literature to use old Stanley 45 cutters. Is the eBay presence of folks who make many replacement parts for all kinds of tools. The eBay store is NOT a representation of everything they make. You can also contact them directly about just about any Stanley 45 or 55 cutter and they will probably make it for you. You can browse their website list, but if you want to buy something, it’s best to call. They are a small company and not really set up for online sales through their website.
      Their reputation is for exc
      There are millions of used Stanley45 cutters out there and most are in usable shape. Many

      • SharpPencil on 18 June 2019 at 5:09 pm

        Sorry dvollie. Should have looked twice. You are talking Stanley 45.
        I Got carried away talking about Stanley 71 router irons.

    • SharpPencil on 15 June 2019 at 7:18 pm

      Hi Dvollie …….it is common to use what is called in the UK an
      “Allen key” this is a bent hexagonal bar used for tightening Allen screws. They come in various sizes are hardened making a superb cutter
      I have my own home made router using three sizes and it works just as good as my record 71 router.
      Go on utube for examples and advice as to how to sharpen.
      If you need any further info ….please come back to me
      Best John

  26. Larry Geib on 15 June 2019 at 5:53 pm

    Sorry, premature posting ( hammy hands)

    Stjamesbaytool makes good stuff, but sometimes it will take a while for them to make something to order. You get in the production cue if they don’t have things in stock.

    eBay is still the best bet for cutters. There are still many cutters available at fair prices that are in new or near new condition that just need some cleaning up.- whole sets even. I just looked and a near new set of 5 headers is ‘buy-it-now for $45, which is a bargain price. The younger cutters, sash cutters, and especially the slitting cutter seem to be the most expensive, usually going for $25 or so. The others are now going up a little, because so many Veritas plane buyers are buying them.

    Sargent, Union, and Craftsman offered copies of the 45. Ther cutter will fit.

    Stanley 50 cutters will fit, but they have no notch, so you have to grind your own or just use the adjuster as a pusher. The irons are shorter than 45 irons.

    New Hampshire plane parts is one excellent eBay seller I purchase from. I just buy their buy-it -now stuff as the prices are fair and shipping is free. Several other sellers are also very good suppliers. Check their ratings.

    Lastly, make your own from 1/8” tool steelbar. I buy 1/2” wide precision ground and make my own in the simple profiles. You only have to grind the first 1/2” or so of the end of the cutter to your profile and cut a notch with a 1;16 grinding wheel or dremel tool. If heat treating seems beyond you, skip it. The cutter will just need to be sharpened more often. For most hobby work, you will get through a project without resharopening. If you go this route, you may have to hone the retaining cone flat spot a little bit. 1/8” is a little thicker than the Stanley cutters. The cone will still work on the original thickness cutters.

    I have no connection with any suppliers except as a customer.

  27. Larry Geib on 15 June 2019 at 5:59 pm

    I hate word replacement. Hopefully, you can make some sense of what I posted.

  28. michaellogutov on 15 June 2019 at 8:19 pm

    Paul, thank you very much for the video. I do hope we will see using moulding planes in projects from time to time in the future. I understand that doing so goes against the intention of showing “accessible” woodworking for all, but maybe as an additional optional video part for a project for many of us who willing to build more complex things.

  29. Toby on 15 June 2019 at 10:33 pm

    Very informative as always! Maybe next video could be about sharpening them?

  30. Alan on 17 June 2019 at 2:33 am

    It’s a shame Paul couldn’t find time to demonstrate more examples, such as moulded Picture Frames, Chess Boards, and moulded inlays.

    Isn’t there a common ‘trick’ to perfect butt-jointed moulded skirting boards, by cutting one profile with a coping saw?

    A recap of restoration & sharpening would have been useful to complete the journey. I doubt many of these 300-400 year old planes will be readily usable.

    • SharpPencil on 17 June 2019 at 6:10 pm

      Hi Alan to fit skirt to an internal angle……I would fit one piece, the longest, with a square cut end…..ensuring it is vertical i.e. Not follow wall profile..
      .(.it is common for a plasterer to slightly radius from floor up. )
      Then cut next piece at 45deg …..exposing centerof wood i.e. long point to back. Then cut off “center of wood” I can do this with a panel saw!! But a coping saw might be used with a moulded skirt
      ie tourus
      The end product should be crisp

    • Izzy Berger on 18 June 2019 at 10:58 am

      Hi Alan,

      Paul suggests looking at the following blog:

      Kind Regards,

      • SharpPencil on 19 June 2019 at 6:03 pm

        Yes very good Izzy …..assuming corner is at 90deg?
        I used to check for square, if out of square I would cut top edge to suit, then rest of cut would be ‘into the underwood’ i.e. Totally out of square cutting away from mating face on back of section.
        Corner could be way out of square either under or over 90deg. For this reason I would never cut both pieces at 45deg and as said in comment above I would save time by cut one side just a square cut ( having checked or eyed squareness ) I could cut all four sides of a room including chimney breast in about 20 mins.
        OH HOW I MISS WORK!!

  31. David Hundert on 18 June 2019 at 4:10 pm

    Good morning Paul!

    Another excellent video. Would it be possible for you to put out a video on “Dovetail Planes?”

    It would be awesome if you could do one on how to make one as well as how to use them for the set up of sliding dovetail joints…



    • Ed on 18 June 2019 at 6:23 pm

      Tage Frid shows how to make a sliding tapered dovetail with a dovetail plane and a saw in his book. The saw is for sawing in the angled side of the housing. The plane cuts the tail portion that slides in. That presentation may help you. Frid’s approach is nice because he only puts a tail on one side, which simplifies things. Once you see that, you could look at Paul’s coat hanger and see how to adjust what he shows there to work with a plane. Hope this helps in the interim. For what it’s worth, in my opinion (and without much experience), if you make a sliding dovetail by hand, it ought to be a tapered sliding dovetail. This may seem to be a complication, but it actually makes fitting easier. It also lets you tighten the joint if things shrink in the future. There are also methods using side rebate planes rather than dovetail planes, but I’ve not tried them.

    • Izzy Berger on 20 June 2019 at 8:57 am

      Hi David,

      Thanks for your question, Paul says:

      This is too specialised i’m afraid!

      Thank you for your suggestion.

      Kind Regards,

  32. btyreman on 18 June 2019 at 11:11 pm

    I would really like to make my own moulding planes one day, that would be a good project.

  33. Hasan Zakeri on 18 June 2019 at 11:11 pm

    Great video, thank you so much.
    Any possibility to have a series of videos on making hollows and rounds and moulding plane?

    • Izzy Berger on 20 June 2019 at 9:02 am

      Hi Hasan,

      Paul says:

      Too specialised area with very little practical application in this day and age, but thank you for your suggestion.

      Kind Regards,

      • SharpPencil on 20 June 2019 at 7:10 pm

        Izzy……that’s a shame….it’s the one moulder I would love Paul to use.

    • Ed on 20 June 2019 at 11:19 am

      @HASAN-ZAKERI @BTYREMAN there are good videos from others you can use. Tod Herrli has a video called “Hollows and Rounds “(Lee Valley stocks it). He also made a video presenting a thumbnail plane, I think. Larry Williams presents “Making Traditional Side Escapement Planes” (Lie Nielsen stocks it). He also has a video, “Sharpening Profiled Hand Tools,” which is excellent. There is video by Bill Anderson about using/tuning moulding planes (it doesn’t discuss making planes). Don McConnel has two videos about using moulding planes (not making them). Finally, there is Mat Bickford’s book about using Hollows and Rounds (not plane making, though). If you use Tod’s video, look around and decide whether you might want to increase the bed angle to 55 degrees from his 50. Somewhere along the way, make sure you understand that moulding blades perform a mixture of cutting and scraping, that you generally want to avoid scraping cuts, and this is why there are spring angles and is one big part of why hollows and rounds cut 60 degree arcs, not 90 degree.

      • btyreman on 21 June 2019 at 4:24 pm

        thanks for the suggestions ed, I will probably just buy old ones after thinking about it more, it certainly wouldn’t be an easy job!

    • Dmytro on 20 June 2019 at 6:12 pm

      You might want to check out the rebate plane video. French moulding planes looked pretty much like the one Paul did a few years back, except their soles were profiled. I think there was an article in FW magazine on this type of planes, the body was 3/4 cherry and the iron was O1

  34. Benoît Van Noten on 19 June 2019 at 3:07 pm

    Now I know why tong and groove for floor boards are not centered and which side of the board to place up.

  35. peterjonespipeorgans on 26 September 2019 at 8:16 pm

    Thanks for another interesting and informative video.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.