1. This is a project I hope to start very soon, and I’m enjoying watching your layout methods and how you use your plow plane for grooving. I have a Stanley 45 combo plow plane I got from a swap meet last summer for $70 usd, and was able to restore it to very good condition. But there’s quite a few challenges in putting it to use! No problems with iron sharpening ( it came with quite a few irons in the original box), but getting the plane to move level across the surface – even with two scates, a depth shoe front and back, and a micro-adjustable fence, takes some practice. When plowing an edge rebate (rabbit), the weight of the fence mechanism tends to pull the angle down toward the outside edge of the cut, resulting in an uneven bottom cut. I’m hoping I can avoid such an angle in a groove and get a nice flat bottom surface, as the cut is controlled by a wall on both sides of the groove!
    With all of the different set-screws on the plane, one is bound to come loose, and usually does, so I have to pay close attention to the fence and depth shoes!

    Something I’m curious about with your plane setup is how deep you set the iron?
    My 45 combo has an interesting locking mechanism that employs a cam to lock the iron in place, and the depth is adjusted via a dial screw that has a pin which fits a groove in the top of the iron.

    Thank you for all of your projects and your close attention to communicating details!

    1. I’m sure Paul will get back with more detailed answer to your question, but basic things that work for me are the following ….
      1) The side of the cutter has to be slightly out from the side fence (the one farther away from me)
      2) the fence that sets the groove distance has to be set as if the front of the fence is correctly set to size and the back of the fence is slightly wider.
      3) the cutter has to be tightened and cut thin shavings….heavy set cut causes deeper problems to deal with.

    2. Stanley really tried to make the no. 45 an all in one tool – there’s just allot of moving parts. It’ll do anything you want it to do if you set it up carefully, keep everything tight, and carefully pay attention while you work.

      My great grandfather’s no. 45 rests proudly on shelf inside my house because it’s a beautiful tool and a family tool. I plow grooves with a no. 50 I found on eBay.

      1. Yes, it takes careful setup and a lot of attention while working with it, to be sure!
        I was lucky enough to find one that had all of the parts intact, and with the original box – minus the sliding lid. Also has most of the irons, including the “tenoning irons” (don’t know if that’s the correct term) but lacking their depth gauge that fits in the iron.
        I’ve been experimenting a bunch with it, and getting comfortable with the weight. Also sharpened up the spurs which made a huge difference as well!
        Considering what one of these go for on Ebay, I got a steal for 70 usd. It restored nicely, and includes the rosewood handle and micro adjusting rosewood fence.

    3. Hi Gary,

      Paul says:
      You set the iron according to feel, because not all grain structures are the same, even within the species, and even within the section of wood. You must be prepared to alter the depth of cut periodically to match what you feel as you plane. There is no one setting that fits all, in other words.

      Kind Regards,

      1. Thank you so much! I’ve been experimenting with the depth setting and various iron sizes, and in different types of material including African mahogany, walnut, and cherry. Indeed, it takes a “feel” for what works the best!

  2. The filming of the final mortise sequence is impressive. Excellent capture of chisel work inside the mortise, great focus and great lighting. This is a really polished product. Hats off!

  3. Hello, I was just wondering: do professional woodworkers really use mortise guides? I’m new to woodworking and I am really looking to develop skills, such as chopping mortises. But, it seems to me that the guide takes the required skill out of the task – same thing for the dovetail guide that I’ve seen Mr. Sellers use, and that if I use one I will never develop this skill. Plus, in this case, don’t the groves provide nice reference faces for chopping the mortises correctly? Again, I am new and am just looking to develop skills – I don’t mean to be offensive or anything. Thank you, Robert

    1. Hi Robert,

      Thank you for your question. I passed this on to Paul and he said:

      I developed the idea of mortise guides, because many 100 student beginning on their projects could not get the mortise hole parallel to the outside faces, to do this takes years of practise and, in my experience, most professional woodworkers did not get the mortise holes parallel to the outside face anyway. I introduced the mortise guides to my classes and this improved the accuracy 1000 times. I introduced it in the same way training wheels are attached to a 2 wheeler bike. Eventually you don’t need them because you can balance, this is no different. In my case, they speed up the process and guarantee the exactness I want.
      In this project for the lid you will see me chopping the mortises without any guide and they still came out perfect.

      Kind Regards,

  4. There was a poor man’s video (Beading and marking tool) that showed a simple option.
    Alternatively, there are a lot of ways to make a marking gauge easily and cheaply, in which case you make a couple, so that you have one for the outer mark and one for the inner mark. I made my gauges using some precut wood (20 by 25mm if I remember correctly) from Obi, which I cut in to a long length for the beam, and 4 smaller lengths for the fence. As long as you orient the parts correctly, the beam will fit the fence by default. Then you only have to make a locking mechanism. I had drilled a hole in one of the fence parts before I glued it together to take a threaded insert and a wing bolt. Once the glue dries, shape the fence, put a pin through the beam and get started.
    If you want a mortice gauge, then maybe make a couple of gauges, and put two pins in them to match the chisels you would use.

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