Antique carpenter's plane for making moldings

I sharpen and try out an antique molding plane

Some time ago I bought a molding plane in an antique shop. It is one of those woodworking planes with a molding shape at the sole and the cutting edge of the iron in the same shape as that molding. These antique woodworking planes are not usually in very good condition (not the ones I find here in Galicia, because humidity and weather conditions ruins them and besides give the perfect conditions for woodworm attacks after years unused if they are not keep correctly), so I thought it would not be worth more than for decoration.

The thing is that one day in a hardware store I found a gouge sharpening stone (a multiform sharpening stone) and I thought that with the shapes that this stone had I could try to sharpen the iron of the molding plane.

What I did was take the blade away (the iron) and cleaned the rust off with metal sandpaper. And then, with some patience, I sharpened the iron of this antique plane taking advantage of the shapes that these sharpening stones have. Little by little, adapting the different curved areas of the sharpening stone to the curved areas of the iron of the molding plane, and doing the same with the flat areas of the whetstone and the flat areas of the blade, I managed to sharpen it enough to think that this old plane might be able to get some shavings out of a wood piece.

Clamp a plank in in the vise to mold it

With a plank held vertically in the workbench vise, I placed this antique plane on the edge of the plank, resting the side fence of the antique plane against the edge of the plank, and I began molding the edge of the plank. I had to push the plane firmly, and at first the wood shavings got stuck in the old plane, but gradually the molding on the edge of the plank revealed. And if you have worked with woodworking planes you will know that you can get a finish on the wood that is not achieved no matter how much we pass the sandpaper.

Planing in several passes until the molding is obtained on the wood.
Antique moulding plane iron and moulding

Now I have some other antique wooden planes, and maybe I’ll get around to sharpening them and trying them out, but I don’t know if I’ll dare to do a full woodworking project with them.

At least now I know I can sharpen them, although they will need some patience. The same as when I have to sharpen chisels with the sharpening jig. If we try to sharpen in a hurry, it is very likely that we will not achieve a sufficiently sharp cutting edge.

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