Molding Plane’s Best Friends

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Left to right: moving fillister, rabbet, & jack planes.

They say a sculptor sees the naked woman (or man, I guess) in the rock and then proceeds to remove everything that is not the naked woman. A sculptor would not start out with his or her fine finishing tools to make a statue; they would start with a jack hammer.

Making moulding is pretty much the same process. Starting with coarse tools to hog of as much waste as fast as possible is the easiest way. The planes I use most often for this are the moving fillister, jack, rabbet and plow planes. These planes can be set deep to remove material fast. Chisels and gouges can also be used to bash out wood close to the profile.

Today I made a top molding for the top of a reproduction Shaker case of drawers and snapped a few photos of the process.

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I used the moving fillister set to remove as much waste as possible inside the profile.

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After resetting the moving fillister, I cut a rabbet down to create the fillet at the bottom of the profile.

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The rabbet plane gets in pretty close.

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With so much of the waste removed it only took about 5 minutes to finish the concave portion with a round plane.

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To finish up, I roughly shaped the lower quarter round portion with a jack plane and finished with hollow plane.

— Will Myers

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2 Responses to Molding Plane’s Best Friends

  1. Rachael Boyd says:

    I have never done it that way till I read Mr. Bickford’s book (molding in practice) it makes thing so much easier. Plus it makes since to use the easy to sharpen tools first, then the harder to sharpen ( curved ) last so they get less wear.


  2. Luke Maddux says:

    Any advice on how you hide the brads? I’ve had pretty good results using sanding dust and white powdered pigment, but I’d be open to other suggestions which require less fiddling and testing.

    I like the use of the moving fillister. I’ve used a wooden rebate plane historically, but after my last experience hogging out a crown moulding from 2″ x 3″ hardwood, I’m considering giving the MF its day.


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