Into the Beech: My first foray into molding planes–Rehabbing a side-bead plane


Don’t get me wrong—I like my router table. But moulding planes offer a silent and safe alternative to add decorative details to projects. So rather than continue pouring money into the router-bit pit, I decided to dive into molding planes. But which ones? An article by Joshua Clark helped answer that question.

My foray began with a 3/8” side bead plane that I got for $21.00 off Ebay. It was made by W. Greenslade, a planemaker that operated in Bristol, UK from 1828-1937. Now that’s interesting history that none of my router bits bring to they shop.

P1-As found on Ebay

Considering that the plane is at least 77 years old, it wasn’t surprising that the body needed cleaning. A cloth rag soaked with mineral spirits worked off the decades of dirt, grim and sweat. A coating of wax served to protect the clean surface.

Restoring and Tuning
One thing that needed to be addressed was the boxing. The portion toward the toe had shrunk over the decades, so it was loose and moved in use.

P2-W.-Greenslade-sidebead-moulding-plane-Loose-boxing

To fix this, I decided to add a sliver of wood to both the boxing edge and the front that abuts the escapement. This would “true” up the length and width of the tight-fitting slat. For material, I picked up some yellow heart wood (1/8” x 3” x 24”) at Rockler. I thought the color and grain kinda matched the original boxing. And a janka hardness rating of 1,790 lbf makes for a durable repair.

P6-W.-Greenslade-sidebead-moulding-plane-Front-of-boxing-near-the-mouthP5-W.-Greenslade-sidebead-moulding-plane-Laying-out-boxing-additionP7-W.-Greenslade-sidebead-moulding-plane-Orienting-the-fix-grain

After gluing the additions to the boxing, I completed many rounds of: test fit, remove, trim the piece with a single stroke of a plane, and test fit again…until it fit snugly and perfectly.

P8-W.-Greenslade-sidebead-moulding-plane-Repaired-boxing

That gap you see is from being compacted by the 1/8” chisel I used to remove the boxing for each test fit-trim iteration. It’s cosmetic and doesn’t affect the fit or performance of the boxing.

Once that was done, I put a straight edge to the boxing along the length of the plane and found it needed jointing.

P4-W.-Greenslade-sidebead-moulding-plane-Boxing-in-NEED-of-jointing

Which I did by taking very light passes with a block plane.

After that, I sharpened the blade, taking care to maintain the bead profile.

P9-W.-Greenslade-sidebead-moulding-plane-Jointed-and-repaired-boxing

It took a while to find the right iron depth. But once I did, the plane produced a nice 3/8” bead.

P10-W.-Greenslade-sidebead-moulding-plane-making-some-beads P11-W.-Greenslade-sidebead-moulding-plane-Added-to-my-tool-kit

Which I put on the wine rack I built soon after.

P29-Rear-support-rail-sidebead-moulding-detail P31-half-slat-sidebead-moulding-detail

And on the brace rack I completed.

P12-Brace-storage-rack-sidebead-detail

As well as the Dutch tool chest I built.

P28-Dutch-Tool-Chest-Bead-Detail-Front

I’ve since picked up other moulding planes, but this side bead is my favorite to use. It just zips through the wood, cascading curly shavings to adorn the shop floor.

And now I have a cool plane with a bit of history to give my projects a special detail.

© 2014, Brad Chittim, all rights reserved.

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About The Write Biz

By day, I'm a mild-mannered copywriter who harnesses frontal-lobe creativity (right brain) to help B2B marketers generate leads and sales. By night I pick up hand tools to create wooden masterpieces...and give my black lab Bella the "red dot" laser to chase after.
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