Moulding Planes

//Moulding Planes
Moulding Planes 2015-06-15T09:49:31+00:00
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    Topic
  • #1885178

    Don
    Participant
    Post count: 12

    Hi all, this is my first post.  I have an old wood moulding ( or is it molding?) plane and the wedge is stuck fast in the body.  I have tried every which was to get it out.  What to do?  I would like to keep the plane, but since I only paid $5 for it, it would be no great loss.  My last option would be to take the wedge out piece by piece and then make a new one.  Any old methods out there for this situation?

  • Author
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  • Bill
    Participant
    Post count: 72

    I suggest you watch this video before you do anything else.  It covers the basics of adjusting wooden planes and may well solve your problem.

    Apply the techniques.  Rap the heel of the plane with a wooden mallet to loosen it.  If that doesn’t work, you may try tapping the iron down as that will typically loosen the blade/wedge.  If all else fails, drop it off your bench so it hits butt first!  That usually makes everything fall out on the floor! (just kidding…sort of).

    It is also possible that the plane body has changed size due to wood movement and it may be literally crushing the wedge between the sides.  So if you can’t get the wedge to come loose using any of the techniques in the video, consider drying it out – put it in a 150 degree oven for a couple hours.

    Bear in mind – if your plane has any historical significance, or personal sentimental value, you may want to take it to a qualified restoration expert.  Any of these techniques, if applies improperly or even if you just have a bit of bad luck, can permanently damage your plane.

    Best of luck.

    Bill

  • Joshua Farnsworth
    Keymaster
    Post count: 54

    Don, this DVD shows everything you’ll need to know. Here’s a video preview:

    The main way to loosen the iron & wedge would be to smack the top front part down onto the workbench. Smacking the back (heal) with a wooden mallet will also do the trick.

    • Don
      Participant
      Post count: 12

      Thanks for the responses.  I had tried all of the various tapping methods, tapping on every square inch of the plane, but nothing worked.  As a last resort I tried Bill’s idea of just dropping the plane from about 4 feet so that it landed on its back.  After the fourth drop it began to start moving and some more encouragement and it came out.  Here is where I need some additional help.  The cutter in this plane was made from an old file, with the tang of the file still present.  This file is much thicker than the usual cutters that you see on these planes.  I was wondering of the increase thickness of the file/cutter was causing the wedge to stick so easily.  I cannot tell if the wedge was modified to account for this oversized cutter.  Do you  think I may be better in the long run to try and find a new cutter for this plane?  Again thanks for the responses.

       

      Don

  • Joshua Farnsworth
    Keymaster
    Post count: 54

    Hi Don,

    Will you please post a few photos here?  That should clarify things a bit.

  • Bill
    Participant
    Post count: 72

    Technically, Don, dropping the plane off your bench to loosen it wasn’t “my idea.”  It’s just what seems to happen occasionally when working with the things – sort of a tongue in cheek response.  That said, I’m glad it worked for you!

    Regarding your other question, I think it would be best if you were to replace the faux iron with an actual plane iron.  There are a few reasons for this:

    1.  It’s impossible to know exactly what kind of steel that old file is made of;

    2. It’s impossible to know if whoever made it into a plane iron brought it’s hardness down via anealing;

    3. It’s impossible to know if anything was ever done to it at all other than cosmetic changes to make it look like a plane blade.

    4. A file isn’t a plane iron.

    It would be a cinch to purchase some tools steel and make a O1 replacement blade or to contact a vintage tool dealer and try to find a suitable replacement iron.

    To make a plane iron, I suggest you get a copy of the book “Making Wood Tools” by John Wilson.  His website is http://shakerovalbox.com.  You can get this book at a lot of different places but I like to deal with the actual creator whenever I can – they make a little more money that way and it’s a good way to forge relationships with fellow woodworkers rather than corporate America.  John’s old school good people.  He sends you the book without pre-payment.  It’s unheard of in today’s trustless world.  It’s like a breath of fresh air.  I’ve enjoyed my opportunity to chat with him and learn from him and I’m sure you will, too.  His book will tell you everything you need to know about making a plane blade.

    If you want to buy one, you can probably find a suitable replacement iron in an antique shop, but if you want the shortcut to a fast fix, contact Ed Lebetkin at The Woodwright’s School.  Ed has the tool store upstairs from Roy Underhill’s school.  I don’t get the opportunity to go there till this fall, but I’ve heard wonderful things about his store.

    Hope this helps!

    Bill

  • Don
    Participant
    Post count: 12

    Pictures of moulding plane

    Hi Joshua,

    I have uploaded the pictures.  The planes is only about 5 to 6 inches in length.  The first picture just shows what it looks like assembled and the other two show the cutter and wedge from two angles.  As noted previously the cutter is made from an old file.  I think the wedge was designed to work with the thicker than usual cutter.  When this wedge is driven in to hold the cutter it easily gets stuck and is a real problem to get out.  Let me know your thoughts about what I could do to make that wedge easier to work with.

    Don

     

     

    • Mike in TN
      Participant
      Post count: 253

       

      <span style=”font-family: ‘Georgia’,’serif’; color: #333333;”>Hi again guys,</span>

       

      <span style=”font-family: ‘Georgia’,’serif’; color: #333333;”>I wonder if the surface texture of the file/blade has anything to do with the stuck wedge? Added thickness would probably just make the wedge stick out further but could cause issues with the plane mouth.</span>

       

      <span style=”font-family: ‘Georgia’,’serif’; color: #333333;”> If the wedge easily slips in and out of the plane body to full depth without the iron being present then the problem isn’t the thickness of the wedge. If the wedge is slightly too thick you can try cleaning, drying, scraping and finally planning it so that it does easily slide in to depth.</span>

       

      <span style=”font-family: ‘Georgia’,’serif’; color: #333333;”>To dislodge a plane wedge I do pretty much as the previous posters. I would normally hold the plane in my left hand (right handed) with my upper thumb and my fore finger holding the wedge and iron. I take a large flat wooden mallet and strike the back end of the plane as needed to dislodge the wedge. I find this normally works and I feel I have more control with that the “bang the top on the bench, the back end on the floor, drop it on the floor” or similar methods. If this does not work then the issue is probably where a previous owner has applied a finish to the plane and it has effectively glued the wedge and iron in place. If the plane has been “glued” together, You could soak it in solvents such as alcohol, acetone, or mineral spirits after trying each against the finish on the plane surface. Watch out for sparks (most fires in the woodshop are normally a bad thing) and try the back smack method again. Clean the disassembled parts and allow the parts to dry out  before trying further repairs. If you are afraid of loosening boxing with the solvents you might apply it locally at the wedge or apply a soaked rag at the wedge.</span>

       

      <span style=”font-family: ‘Georgia’,’serif’; color: #333333;”>I come from an area of the southern USA where people have the habit of taking what they have and making do. Having said that, I don’t have a problem with someone taking it upon themselves to take an old file and making a plane blade from it. I have several tools where a previous owner repurposed materials to good effect. File steel is at least as good as most of the steel the old timers used for tool blades. The wood won’t care if it is a particular type of tool steel as long as the blade is sharp, holds an edge and is tough enough to be serviceable. Any repairs or changes to a tool are always a compromise of money, time, skill, and what you are trying to accomplish. You could always just sell the plane as is and buy another one and would probably be time and money ahead. If you enjoy the challenge and have basic metal skills I see no reason why you couldn’t make a very serviceable blade from a file, and it doesn’t have to be the iron that came with the plane. Just time, a little knowhow, and some effort. </span>

       

      <span style=”font-family: ‘Georgia’,’serif’; color: #333333;”>You could do what Bill suggests and there are good and bad things about each option. A chunk of tool steel will cost you a little and will require shaping, hardening and tempering. You would have more control over the finished product if you exercise all of the proper controls but the tool wouldn’t necessarily work significantly better. Another blade from any other source will probably require softening, shaping, hardening, tempering. and sharpening and you still won’t know what type of steel is there. You will have gone through pretty much the same process as with the file but you could end up an “old” blade to go with an “old” plane. If that is important to you then it changes your options.</span>

       
      <p style=”margin: 0in 0in 10.0pt 0in;”><span style=”font-family: ‘Calibri’,’sans-serif’; color: black;”>I have John’s book and I love it.  It is right next to my bed as we speak. I have also been to Ed’s store, bought a few things from him, and love it also. He would need to see the plane and wedge and try them against the potential replacements. That would mean shipping it to him or taking it to Pittsboro when you are in the area (a good excuse to go take a class from Roy, Willard Anderson, Will, or one of the others at the school). You would still undoubtedly have to do some grinding and sharpening. You could just contact Peter Ross and have him make one for you if you were are going to be in North Carolina. You have to remember though that this is a relatively inexpensive tool and most of the suggestions would require a skill set that Don may not want to get into. </span></p>
       

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