Clark & Williams Hollows & Rounds

On Friday afternoons, I always try to end the week with some work in the shop that improves my working condition. I do a lot of sharpening, fix a hammer or just put tools away.

This Friday was a day I have been looking forward to for seven years now.

My long-awaited-for hollows and rounds came from Clark & Williams. I’d ordered the half-set nearly two years ago, and had been saving up the money for them for many years before that. And 10 years ago, I’d built the tool chest to hold them.

My tool chest is a somewhat-crappy Kentucky copy of Benjamin Seaton’s 18th-century chest. I’d built it in 1999 for publication in the magazine, but I needed to build it in a certain way to make it buildable for the power-tool woodworker. That meant finger joints instead of dovetails. And no interior plane tills.

But I did get to add a little bit of English flair. I veneered the main toolbox till and the saw till. And I used curly maple drawer fronts (though I really wanted to do the banded drawer fronts in the original). I always vowed to re-do the toolbox like David Nelson did.

But the toolbox works fine, and I already have a list of things to build that exceeds my 8-year-old’s Christmas list.

So on Friday I fitted the interior with a rack for all my moulding planes, including the new hollows and rounds. It is the simplest sort of till I could manage that would allow me to see each plane’s profile and keep them handy.

Essentially, it’s just a piece of cherry that’s 3/4″ x 4-1/2″ x 34″ and is screwed to the sides of my toolbox and is wedged below the runners that my tool till slides on. I dressed the cherry by hand and put a 3/16″ bead on the top edge.

The way it works is simple. The cherry board makes a compartment that is about 1/8″ bigger than the toe section of the hollows and rounds. They simply drop between the toolbox’s front wall and the cherry. And you can see the profile of the sole.

And because moulding planes are all about the same dimensions, the single board fits all the moulding planes (though not the joinery planes that have knobs and nickers that ram into this board).

After screwing the board in place, I felt better about the toolbox. Perhaps I’ve not totally redeemed myself, but installing this little rack ended my week on a nice note. When I return on Monday, all my hollows and round will be waiting patiently to get started on the next project at hand.

— Christopher Schwarz

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Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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4 Responses to Clark & Williams Hollows & Rounds

  1. Charles says:

    I love stories of hard earned visions coming to fruition… I love stories where you can feel, even for just a moment, the essence of the craft… I love this story.


  2. Oooh, what a nice set of hollows and rounds. You’re going to have a blast playing with them. Handcut moulding is so much more attractive than machine made.


  3. Rick Yochim says:


    That’s very nice half-set and an elegantly simple storage solution.

    So, a question. When you’re finished sticking a moulding, Do you leave your plane irons set when you put them away, or do you tap them back into the plane?

    For me, it takes so much fussing to get them *just so*, that once set I’m reluctant to back the irons out when putting them back, so I don’t. Mine sit in the cabinet slightly elevated on a strip of wood on the toe end so the iron isn’t touching anything. This is a Michael Dunbar tip I read years ago and I use it because: a) I’m lazy, and b) it saves me from adding even more "character" to the already mangled backs of most of my vintage moulders.

    Just wondering.

    Rick Yochim


  4. Michael Stone says:

    O.k. If that is a "half-set", what compromises a "full set"?!

    Michael Stone


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