Sunday, October 16, 2011

An Idiot Guides Through Moulding Planes

I started writing this blog for a few reasons:

-I like talking about these planes and I work alone.

-I travel to a lot of shows. I spend a lot of time with a few people. I often throw a lot of information at a small group in the span of 20 minutes and I'm genuinely concerned that what I explain, despite being understood at the moment, is not always remembered.

-I wanted to show people my work and myself.

By now you have heard that I am writing a book that is going to be published by Chris Schwarz' Lost Art Press. We do not yet know the exact release date, price, binding, color scheme, etc. You now know my original title, which is above. It was rejected.

The book is the following:

-An explanation of the process of using and maintaining the planes that fascinate me in a manner much more comprehensive than this blog. (Again, if you're reading the blog for the first time start at the beginning.)

-The book will show you what things look like when things go right.

-More importantly, the book will illustrate what things look like when they go wrong.

-An introspective justification for the same planes.

The book will be separated into two sections. The first section details the process: Who, What, Where, When, Why and How. Everything I've concluded and excluded is in it.

The second section is a test. "What will you do with these profiles?" vs. 'What I've done.' I've measured approximately 75 different mouldings from real pieces. They're all in there with a step-by-step process that starts with a blank profile for you to test yourself and ends with how I would execute.

The book will likely lay flat on your workbench so that you can bring it to the shop and try. The goal of the book is for you to read it twice and unload it because there no longer any need for it.

You will turn this.

into this.

and then into anything in any of these and more.

The process is simple. The reason is simple. My next month is overwhelming.

P.S. My other title was "No Tails but Perfect Rabbets"

Good Night!


  1. Runny Babbet and the Great Molding Plane Caper

    How I Came Stop Worrying and Love the Molding Plane

    The Perfect Rabbet - A Bunny's Tale

    Shape Me, Mold Me

    Is That a Snipes Bill In Your Pocket Or Are You Just Happy To See Me?

  2. I like your title the best. It seems appropriate to me.

    Jim Marsh

  3. I'm looking forward to your book. I've done like you said and I've started at the begining of you blog although I'm not at the end yet but loving it.
    Bought my first moulding plane the other day and it cuts a perfect little bead with two strokes, I have a router that does the same profile but takes longer to set up and makes alot more noise and dust. I think that I might, on occasions, be able to bring a moulding plane onto a building site and not get laughed at, especially on restorations.
    Thanks again.

  4. Alviti,
    I am excited for you. Thanks for reading.

  5. A good binding for workbooks is one of those fairly sturdy plastic spiral bindings. I have a workbook with this, and its great for folding open to the page I want and laying on my desk.

    Good luck!

  6. Hi Matt,

    I'm looking forward to your book. I've been frustrated by the lack of books that discuss the use of moulding planes in any detail.

    (By the way, I'd rather have the suitcase of moulding planes than the suitcase of mouldings!)


  7. Matt, in the picture with the four books, what is the one without the dust jacket? It's hard to recognize with its jacket off.

  8. John,
    American Furniture: Queen Anne and Chippendale Periods by Joseph Downs

  9. Looking forward to the book, as your posts on moUlding planes have been the best woodworking eye-openers I ever found on the web. Looking at that suitcase with the example mouldings, do I see a curved one too ? I've always been puzzled at how they used to do this without routers - I very rarely see a sideways curved hand plane, but I do see curved moulding... . I know about scratch stock and applying steam bended strips, but suspect there must be more master skills to discover. As I'm slowly carving out a double-curved strip, any help is welcome !

  10. That moulding profile is from the Chapin highboy. I discussed it here.

    Curved mouldings were carved and scraped. The double curve and graduation of arc will prevent any plane from being used. I imagine that you are discovering the real "master skills" required as you carve.

    Thank you for the compliment.

  11. Matt, Looking forward to your book. Can you tell me if the book will be free of religious exclamations? I find them irreverent and avoid books with these.

    Thanks, Allen