Look Ma, no router

About a year ago I bought a half set of hollows & rounds.  They are 19th century planes and most look hardly used – in fact I would say that the larger sizes are almost certainly unused.  Hollows and rounds are wooden planes with of graduated radii and width.  There are concave (hollows) and convex (rounds) based on 1/6 of a circle, or 60°.

18th & 19th Century craftsmen didn’t have routers or shapers, so how did they make the complicated mouldings on their pieces?

I became interested in these after meeting Matt Bickford www.msbickford.com at a woodworking event.  I had seen wooden moulding planes over the years but didn’t really understand how they could work.  He took me through the process of “sticking” a moulding.  It was fascinating.  I knew I would have to learn this skill at some point.  I later met Don McConnell www.planemaker.com who taught my SAPFM group just a bit more about sharpening and using them.

So these H&R have been sitting on my shelf for nearly a year.  I had cleaned up the irons but hadn’t sharpened them yet.  I was waiting for Matt’s book.  Now that I’ve read the book twice through it was time to try it out.

DSC_0331Above are my first attempts at simple mouldings made by hand.  Sure I could have done this with routers but really the idea is to stop using that noisy, finger-maiming tool.  The thought that I can make custom mouldings without being stuck with what the router bit makers sell is fascinating.

Here are the tools I used:


No fences, no electric cord.  The first attempt – which you will never see – wasn’t so good.  My next attempts were better.  Next to try an ogee and other more complicated shapes.  I have a lot to learn but now I can build on a little success.

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One Response to Look Ma, no router

  1. Lynn M. Collins says:

    Paul: That price is outrages. If you were here we’d make a couple for S&G’s with your tools and mine. Muzzloading gunsmiths made many of their own tools like this. Like in I/2 octagon. Video on youtube. “The Gunsmith of Williamsburg.” You’ll get a kick out of the tools and work. The video is a classic. Fun work though for you. Neat stuff.

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