Beading Planes? Talk to Caleb


The most infectious hand tool I own is a 3/16” beading plane that has a permanent space in my traveling tool chest. Nearly every woodworker who uses it becomes possessed by the entirely sane desire to own one (or three) for their work.

cj_beading_plane_DSC01093However, finding a functional antique beading plane in the wild is difficult. While they are common planes, they commonly have a lot of problems. The body (also called the stock) is warped. The iron is a mess. The mouth has been opened too far. The wedge doesn’t fit.

And those are for starters.

When I was at Hulls Cove Tool Barn this summer I inspected at least 20 beading planes. None was worth buying.

If you are interested in getting a new beading plane, I’d talk to planemaker Caleb James right quick. He has been working on batches of beading planes in 1/8”, 3/16” and 1/4” sizes – the most useful sizes for furniture-making. I have two planes on order from him myself.

I got to use his planes while at a Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event and am totally sold. Caleb is a very talented planemaker (and furniture maker). So place your order now before he gets swamped. His e-mail is

— Christopher Schwarz


About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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6 Responses to Beading Planes? Talk to Caleb

  1. knewconcepts says:

    Too late!…By the time you mention it, he has been Schwartzed!!! 🙂

    Having been on the receiving end of the same phenomenon, it is like watching an oncoming avalanche with no shelter.

    Enjoy the ride.

    Lee (the saw guy)


  2. dndculp says:

    I have three beading planes that are essentially new. I’ve honed the blades but can’t find a good way to sharpen and hone the hollow between. I have wedge shaped stones I use on my NW Native carving knives but they are too “thick” at the narrow end. Do you, or anyone, have some insight or recommendations?
    PS: I was part of the avalanche that hit Lee:-) Love the saw.


  3. brentpmed says:

    Not an expert, but I had success using different diameters of dowel rod wrapped with sandpaper. Just work up through the grits


    • dndculp says:

      That should work. I have 15, 5 and 0.5 micron grit sheets I use on my carving knives. It is very thin and should fit around a small dowel. Thanks, I’ll give it a try.


      • steveschafer says:

        Commercial hones for those kinds of blades are based on the same principle: aluminum rods of an appropriate diameter that you charge with diamond paste.


  4. MattC says:

    When I received my beading plane from Matt Bickford it was definitely one of those moments of tool joy. The difference between how it cut and how my vintage beading plane cut was night and day.


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