Building hundreds of moulding planes is no small task. It starts with a trip to the lumber yard where I have to select the lumber. I sort through a few hundred board feet of cherry and load the best of it into my truck.
Tip: it is often recommended to bring a block plane to the lumber yard to reveal some of the grain below the rough-sawn exterior. However, if you are planing end grain, especially the thick paint often used to identify the species, O1 plane blades don’t last long at all. I think my freshly-sharpened blade lasted for about half a dozen boards before it began to get dull. After a dozen, it could do little more than chamfer an edge. I’m glad that I had the forethought to bring a float to reveal the end grain.
Once home, I cut the 12-foot lengths of cherry into manageable sizes. The wood is then stickered and allowed to adjust to my shop’s climate. Next, I take the moulding plane blanks to my bandsaw and resaw them. I use the cabinetmaker’s triangle to ensure that I can reassemble the blanks for the best grain continuity. Then, I sticker the wood in my shop and let it reacclimatize. Meanwhile, I cut out the wedges and shape the pins. After a week, I thickness the stock and make the cuts for the bed and breast. Here, you see some moulding plane blanks awaiting assembly.
As is typical of production-type work, gluing up this many planes gives me the opportunity to get pretty good at gluing up efficiently. I have started using my favourite 1″ glue spreader, but later moved up to a 2″ glue spreader and reduced the time required to apply the glue by 25%.
Once the clamps come off, the planes will be completed on an individual basis, one at a time. The bodies need to be cleaned up, wedges fitted, soles profiled, and bodies detailed if required.
I’ve enjoyed the work so far and I know that the most enjoyable is yet to come!