A little background
“Sticking” is the act of cutting a moulding into material, rather than applying it. This is most often done with moulding planes which may have blades shaped in a specific moulding profile (called complex moulding planes), or in a simple arc, either convex or concave (called hollow and round moulding planes, or hollows and rounds for short).
Complex moulding planes excel at cutting that one shape quickly and easily. Hollows and rounds are much more versatile and can produce the same profiles as specific moulding planes and many more.
Let’s see how to stick a moulding
The first step is layout. Actually, it’s not. The first step should be stock selection. Carefully chosen material will make sticking mouldings easy. Look for grain that runs out in a forward direction on the two faces adjacent to the corner on which you will be sticking the moulding. This is a good example of smart material choice. The arrows indicate the direction of grain runout on each face.
Okay, now we can begin layout. On the end grain of the near edge of the board, I use my sliding square, shop-made offset gauge and circle templates to layout the shape of moulding I wish to cut. The straight lines running vertically and horizontally indicate the rabbets which I will first cut to remove the bulk of the material.
The rabbet plane is the workhorse
The rabbet plane is to moulding planes what a scrub plane is to a smoother. When cutting mouldings, the large majority of the material is removed with a rabbet plane and only a few passes are required with the moulding planes.
To start the rabbet plane, I first use a cutting gauge to score two deep lines indicating the width and depth of the rabbet I wish to cut. Then, I tilt the plane and set the heel into the scribed line at the far end of the board. I pull the plane backwards several inches, then push it forward, keeping the plane tilted and edge in the scribe line. I repeat this process, moving the plane backwards more each time until I reach the near end of the board.
I then proceed to take full-length passes until I reach the scribe line marking my depth.
I continue the process of cutting rabbets to remove the bulk of the waste.
I also chamfer the edge of the fillet (roundover) with the rabbet plane. The series of lines running perpendicular are a result of chatter. In my case, it was a tuning issue, but could also be a result of taking too deep of a cut.
Only then do I reach for the hollow and round moulding planes.
The hollows and rounds take the glory
Starting at the near end, I run the planes along the rabbets, allowing them to guide the planes in a straight line. Keep planing until all traces of the rabbet are removed. Here, you can see a hint of the rabbet’s corner in the cove. You will also notice that the fillet continues past the horizontal plane and creates a groove because I held the plane at too upright of an angle.
To fix my mistake, I simply plane a little off the top with a bench plane.
Here is a picture of the finished moulding and the five planes I used to make it.
With the right tools and techniques, sticking mouldings is simple and the profiles that you can cut are nearly infinite. Your designs are not limited by what thickness of table top looks good with the router bit profiles available.
Although the style of furniture and woodwork that I make doesn’t require me to use moulding planes very often, it has given me ample practice with other hand planes. With sharp, well-tuned tools and good techniques, sticking mouldings by hand is easier and quicker than you might think and it’s a natural step up from using bench planes.
Love this set of planes?
This very set of spalted birch planes will be at Woodworking in America next week in the booth of our fellow plane maker, Scott Meek. You know there will be a show special, but you’ll have to stop by Scott’s booth to find out more. If you’re attending the show, don’t forget to visit our friend Shannon Rogers at The Hand Tool School booth. Shannon says that he’s bringing his set of original Time Warp Tool Works cherry moulding planes. Stop by and ask him for a demo!