Thursday, May 9, 2019

Moulding Plane Organization

I don't have a lot of moulding planes, but the ones I do have never seem to be sitting quite right in their shelf.
The moulding planes and wooden plough plane on a good day (not too messy)
They fall over, get mixed up and generally it bugs me.  So I thought it was time to use up some more old wood and create better organization.  The wood for this project was from an old rickety shelf that was in my old house when I first moved in in 1998.  So the wood is probably 25 years old or more.  The shelf was made of pine 1 x 12's, which are really about 3/4" thick and 11 1/4" wide.  But these boards included the pith, which had cracks and caused warping.

I cut out the pith, flattened one side, straightened the edges and glued the boards back together to get boards approx. 9" wide.
The stock I'm working with, flattened, dimensioned and all cleaned up
Here's an interesting thing about using 1 x 12 wood.  If the boards contain the pith, the rest of the boards are very nearly quarter-sawn.  So I ended up with nice wood that should be fairly stable.
End grain showing quarter-sawn grain
The tough thing about this wood was that it left sticky pitch on my tools very quickly.  I would have thought that in wood sitting around this long, the pitch would have hardened.  But I had to clean my irons and chisels frequently to remove the pitch.  I do like the look of this wood, but the pitch was a real pain in the rear.

The case is a simple rectangular box, dovetailed together at the corners.  Then I chopped stopped dadoes in the top and bottom to receive some (scrap) plywood dividers.
Marked the tails on top and bottom boards, ready for gang sawing
After removing he waste and paring to the lines, using tail board to mark the pin board
First fitting of all four corners - came out pretty good
Routing the bottoms of the dadoes for the dividers.  Had to use my makeshift 1/8" router plane
for one dado that I marked a bit too thin to use the quarter inch iron on the regular router. 
Fitted the dividers and then shaped their front edges
The glue-up went well, though I had to manipulate the clamps to get the carcase square.  When gluing up dovetails, I use small plywood pads and cauls to put pressure exactly where it's needed.
Using an internal corner gauge to check diagonals for square
If you look carefully in the above picture, you can see the little plywood pads under the cauls.  The pads are stuck directly on the tails.  The cauls are also planed a little bit convex so that good pressure is exerted in the middle of the row of dovetails even when no clamp is there.
Can't argue with this
I like the way the quarter-sawn end grain matches the face grain of the mating pieces.  These dovetails came out great!  I feel like I'm getting better at keeping crisp, clean lines, especially with the chisels.  And BTW, the chisels that I recently made new handles for performed extremely well.

I gave the project two coats of shellac, sanding lightly after each coat had dried.  And here it is in it's home.
Appeals to my sense of organization
It may not look like to big a change from the way it was before, but when the planes are in action it will definitely help keep things in order.


  1. This is a high quality buildout, but I have more often seen molding planes stored vertically on their noses, both to protect the blades and to keep the profiles visible. In fact, I thought that was your design solution until I saw the last image. I am curious to hear how satisfied you are with this chosen solution after a few months of use.

    1. Hi Poto. I've only seen the vertical alignment when they are stored in tool chests. With the floor-to-ceiling shelving that I have to work around, it made sense for me to have them horizontal so I can get at them - and I can still see the profiles this way. I thought briefly about lining the bottom with leather to protect the irons. But as it is, I don't use the moulders very much. If I find it a hassle over time, I'll make a change. Thanks for the input.

  2. Good job. Did you glued in the dividers or are they removable?
    The only problems with wooden moulders is that have a tendency to multiply quickly :-) Hence you may want some flexibility to rearranged as need be.

    Bob, were they have been cloning themselves for years :-)

    1. Hi Bob. The dividers are removable 3/16" plywood in the 1/4" dadoes, so rearranging shouldn't be too much problem. I'll just have to cut new dadoes. In the planning stage, I had wondered about how to make it flexible, but the dado and divider system is all I could come up with. If I ever need to, I can add more dadoes and dividers - I just can't move the current dadoes ...

  3. Good :-) that is the same system I came up with, removable dividers in dadoes. You can find my ruminations and other bright ideas under Plane till label on my blog when I build it


  4. Good for you. I'd go nuts with things all kittywampus as well.


    1. Thanks, Joe. The older I get, the more I really like when things are organized. Helps me remember where things are! BTW, loved the "kittywampus". My wife uses that word and I'd never heard it anywhere else!

  5. nicely done. Is it a chisel jig to make sliding dovetails on the 7th picture? Find it interesting and want to make one.

    1. Hey, Lionel. No, that's a makeshift small router plane. I cut a 1/8" wide groove in an angled block of wood, slid in the 1/8" chisel and screwed on a cover. Have to adjust the depth with a hammer, but it works great. I made it to help with some details on a chair I made a few years ago.

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