Saturday, December 18, 2010

Cove, Astragal and an Introduction to Side Rounds

Again, ask and you shall receive.

This cove and astragal will introduce a side round. It is a very specific plane. If you want to do anything and everything you must have a pair. They allow you to plane up to another facet.


Side round. 
I use this just I like a rabbet plane. Mark a gauge line and carefully start the cut using your fingers as a fence. After a few passes you can zip through it. 

This diagram shows the side round knocking off the tip of the highest rabbet. I usually avoid this by laying out a circle that's slightly bigger in diameter. In this case, where the diameter of the circle is equal to that of the side round, I attacked some of those rabbets with the 10 round in step 1a, which is not pictured.

I try to avoid the scraping cuts that happen near 90 degrees. Like a snipes bill, most of the time I only use the tip of the profile.

This is as close to freehand as you'll get. I used a #10 in the pictured profile below

#2 hollow

Why is a side round necessary here?

Side round

The astragal prevents the #10 from reaching into the corner. 

Like snipes bills, side rounds come in pairs because there are times you will want the profile facing the opposite direction.

There are other uses as well. We'll see some of those later.


  1. Matt-

    Thanks so much for doing this excellent blog. I was given Larry's DVD last year for Christmas, and this summer I was able to a acquire a large, thick board of dry beech. Watching your videos makes me want to get over my fear of failure and get started on these things.

    One thing I'm wondering is if you might be willing to dedicating a post or two to how you go about boxing a plane (esp. a snipe's bill) during the process of making the plane? It looks like one could cut a kerf at an angle with a tablesaw and then just be sure to size the persimmon perfectly for inserting?

    Then again, you're running a business, so I'll certainly understand if you don't want to give away your construction techniques. Just having the blog for usage techniques is invaluable enough!

    Thanks for your contribution to the knowledge base. It's a great time to be a woodworker!

    Reed Robinson
    Dallas, TX

  2. Reed,
    Thanks for reading!

    I will touch upon boxing a snipes bill next time I do it. I just did a bunch on Friday so it might be a little while. There isn't much to it. You'll get good results with the method you describe. I do it a little differently


  3. Thank you, saddly enough I have never seen a side round. Right now I'm making my first molding plane, a number 4 hollow. When you have time, could you give me an idea about which planes would be good for a starter set?

    I had in mind
    #4 hollow and round
    #10 hollow and round
    A pair of snipe bills (left and right)
    and now maybe a
    #10 side round

    Randy Best (The Great White North)

  4. I, personally, would rather have a third pair of h&r over the snipes bills. But that's me. You'll definitely have fun with those.

  5. Since I'm deep in the freeze up here and the woodshop is closed, I have the time to do smaller projects in the house (When the Mrs. is not looking, no one likes saw dust in their bread, I can't image why?). So, what would you recommend for the third pair of Hollows and Rounds?
    Randy Best (The Great White North)