Update on ‘Mouldings in Practice’

We are finishing up work on Matt Bickford’s “Mouldings in Practice” book this week. It should be off to the printer next week and – barring any wackiness – in stock by the end of July or early August.

First some details on the book and then a warning.

Details. We could have called this “Matt’s Big Book of Mouldings.” It is big. It’s going to be in a 7” x 10” format with more than 250 pages of text, photos and illustrations. And it’s the illustrations that are key. Matt drew more than 200 mouldings in process to show exactly what is going on at each stage.

The book is divided into two major sections. The first is on the moulding planes themselves – how to tune and sharpen them. Then Matt goes on to explain how to lay out and execute the rabbets and chamfers that will create the desired profile.

Wait, rabbets and chamfers? Indeed. We could have called this “Matt’s Big Book of Mostly Rabbets and Chamfers.” These two basic shapes are the key to creating consistent results. There are also chapters on plow planes, side rounds and snipes bills, and their role in making mouldings.

The second section of “Mouldings in Practice” takes eight high-style period pieces and deconstructs the mouldings on them and shows you how to make them, step by step. Matt studied these pieces at Nathan Liverant and Son Antiques in Colchester, Conn. This part of the book is nearly 80 pages long and is very cool. It’s one thing to talk about sample mouldings. It’s another thing to work with the real-deal stuff.

There are also some appendices on sticking boards, capturing moulding shapes from existing pieces and dealing with antique planes. And (wait for it) an index.

Like all Lost Art Press books, this will be produced and printed entirely in the United States. Acid-free paper. Smythe-sewn binding. Cotton-covered hardbound. All the drawings will be in full-color. The photos are black and white. We don’t have a retail price yet – probably less than $40. We will offer pre-orders with free shipping and a bonus digital download (more details on that later). We do not know which (if any) of our retailers will carry the book yet.

Now the warning.

If you’ve been looking for hollows and rounds in preparation for this book, you might have had some trouble. Ed Lebetkin, who runs the shop above The Woodwright’s School, reports that he cannot keep certain sizes in stock because of the high demand.

Likewise, there is going to be some strong demand to take classes from Matt himself. He’ll be teaching his methods at three places this summer. Here are some links. If you want to get a jump-start on this part of the craft, the book and some instruction from Matt are a fantastic way to go.

July 7-9: Using Wooden Moulding Planes at The Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking, in Manchester, Conn.

Aug. 18-19: Hand Planed Mouldings at Lie-Nielsen Toolworks in Warren, Maine.

Sept. 15-16: Molding Planes with Matt Bickford at The Acanthus Workshop in Pottstown, Penn.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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22 Responses to Update on ‘Mouldings in Practice’

  1. Norm Reid says:

    Thanks for the advance review of the book. It sounds exciting and even though I don’t cut many moldings, I’m very interested. Maybe I should modify that to “I don’t cut many moldings, yet.”

    My question: I don’t have any molding planes (again, “yet”) but if this really is a book about rabbets and chamfers (or at least part of it is), what is the likelihood that some moldings can be pieced together on a router table? Is that something that’s likely to be feasible (at least until I’ve managed to collect and master molding planes)? Or had I better plan on carousing flea markets and old tool sales?


  2. St.J says:

    Will it be available at Classic Hand Tools in the UK?

    • lostartpress says:

      We have no control over the lines of our retailers. If Mike asks to stock it then yes. The best way to ensure be stocks I is for you, the customer, to let him know you would like it.

      • David Pickett says:

        I’ve dropped an e-mail to Classic Hand Tools asking them to order a stock. If others do likewise, it might help Mike to gauge possible demand….

      • St.J says:

        I’ve sent them an email.

  3. joecrafted says:

    Wow, my hometown mentioned. Growing up people even a few miles away had never heard of it. “You’re from … where? Coldchester?” I met Matt at one of the CT Valley School’s open houses–actually Chris, right after you announced this book. A great guy and very patient explaining how these work, which hollows and rounds I’d need to make many furniture sized moldings, etc. Looking forward to this book release. I should see if there are any spots open in the weekend class…

  4. Ron Dennis says:

    This sounds great! I’ve got an old Stanley “55” that is a user grade tool just raring to go!

  5. Scott says:

    I know that the few planemakers there are have backorders that are pretty long. There are Harlequin Hollow and Round sets out there to be had at reasonable prices and in good to great condition. Side rounds and Snipe Bills are next to impossible to find in any condition, but are not needed for a lot of mouldings. Rabbets are plentiful and reasonable. All that subject to change when the book is released since there will be a mad dash. The only one I need is one side round since I have two side rounds that are the same side. Might try to make a match to one of them. Can’t wait for the book to come out!

  6. robert says:

    Really looking forward to the book. I met Matt at a PWW open house two years(?) ago and he was a very cool. He saw me watching, and he said to me “hey, you want to try these out? what do you want to make?” I told him it would be cool to make a rule joint. He talked me through it, I ran the planes, and we were done in less than 10 minutes. Thing fit perfectly. That’s what a great teacher can do.

  7. Mitch Wilson says:

    Will the book be available in a left-handed version? After all, Matt does make moulding planes for lefties. How about a leather covered limited edition signed by the author? (What’s good for the goose….). Okay, enough nonsense. The reality is that Matt is a wonderful teacher. I took a course with him at CVWS this past January and he was great. I was even more fortunate since all of my classmates left several hours early to watch the NFL playoffs. (What?!?) So I got personal, one-on-one, instruction with Matt. He absolutely refused to leave until I had finished the projects, and finished them well. Tremendous patience and perseverance, for which I am especially grateful. He must be cut from the same mold (mould?) as Glenn Huey, which is really saying something. If you are able to take a course with him, do it. I look forward to getting my hands on his book and hope I have finished it by the time my set of planes is completed. Next spring.

  8. abtuser says:

    looking forward to the book…

  9. Arminius says:

    Given the tightening supply of hollows and rounds, a book I would really like to see would be on making these planes. There are some good video instructions available, but none seem to have a strong companion book.

    • David Pickett says:

      Try ‘Making Traditional Wooden Planes’ by John Whelan.

      (Apologies to Chris for mentioning a non-LAP book….)

      • lostartpress says:


        Whelan’s book would have been my recommendation as well. Thanks for mentioning it.

      • Arminius says:

        I have borrowed a copy, and I would actually like to buy one – but it has been unavailable for about a year. Amazon has 1 copy at $100+. In any case, I was thinking of at least a a major updating to the standard set by the Joint Stool book.

  10. John says:

    Will this be available for the ipad? I just look so much more productive when I have my feet up on the desk and the ipad in my hands then a book 🙂

  11. OK, I have a set of H & R planes (actually and extra set as well), what I need is the book asap! I took a class from Matt and found his approach clear, accessible, and helpful. This book will fill an immediate need in my own woodworking, and will fill a big need in the hand tool woodworking literature for all. Hurry July/August!

  12. Ted says:

    You recommended at a Lie Nielsen event that I contact Ed. We had correspondence and he let me know I would have a hard time finding H/R planes. Next I tried Ebay and passed on many bad looking tools. Finally, I had luck with Ebay UK. Tools are very nice and reasonably priced. The shipping is a killer. I am still hunting for No 6 pair though!

  13. Eric Bennett says:

    Ack! I had to use a power router for the bead on the dust seal of my tool chest! 35 bucks for a bit and a face full of pulverized chiplets. The results were acceptable at best, just lucky to not end up in the emergency room. Hell yes, I’m looking forward to this book.

  14. Regis Will says:

    I’ve been looking forward to this book since it was first announced. I’ve been lucky enough to acquire a nice set of H&R planes plus a pair each of snipes and half rounds. Been using them on and off with the basic video from Don McConnell to get me started. Have had some success but I’m looking forward to the full treatment of the subject in this book to tie it all together. I’ll be among the first when the pre-order is available. Met both Matt and Don at the WIA last year, great guys. Thanks for all the hard work to bring this type of information to us.

  15. rwyoung says:

    All kinds of school girl giddy about this book!

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