Author Topic: Kick-Off of our Molding Plane Working Group  (Read 4874 times)

Mark Maleski

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Kick-Off of our Molding Plane Working Group
« on: May 08, 2016, 07:41:07 AM »
Last Saturday (30 Apr 2016), the Chesapeake Chapter kicked-off a recurring working group to focus on the care and use of molding planes to create custom moldings for our projects.  Bert and Kathy Bleckwenn hosted and helped plan the gathering.  This was planned to be a smaller gathering than our chapter meetings, so that the activity could be more focused on each individual’s needs.  We had 12 participants, which allowed us to spend a little time in the beginning sharing our background information with each other (describing our current project, describe how we've done moldings in past projects, etc).  We discovered that we had a broad spectrum of experience with molding planes, from those with relatively little experience with them to one member who is a professional plane-maker.  After a brief discussion about the history of molding planes, their anatomy, and resources for learning more about them, we moved into Bert and Kathy’s workshop to begin the hands-on portion of the working group.

We were fortunate to have Dan Schwank with us.  Dan owns/operates Red Rose Reproductions (redrosereproductions.com), purveyors of fine woodworking tools including traditional wood panel raisers, hollows and rounds, beading planes….and some emerging molding plane designs that are currently in the research/development phase.  Dan led the group through the next two activities: restoring our vintage planes to working order, and heat treating a new (replacement) iron.  For the restoration portion, he worked his way around the room to examine each member’s plane and suggest actions to get it back into working order.  He stopped periodically to teach others on relevant topics.  For example, he showed how he sharpens shaped irons using oilstones and slipstones…which would then lead to an exchange of information (in this example, Tom Dugan pulled out his waterstone slipstones for comparison).  Dan also showed how he uses a Foredom power grinder to shape a new iron, which led to another exchange of ideas (for example, Tom Dugan discussed how he uses a rotary tool for the same purpose).

Next, the group moved outside for Dan’s demonstration on heat treating.  There are countless discussions online and videos that show this, but most in the group wanted to see it IRL before trying it ourselves.  He discussed benefits of using MAP versus propane, using a magnet to check the temperature, and knowing when to quench based on color and surface blistering.  He also demonstrated tempering using the torches, although using an oven is a simpler and lower risk approach.  It seems that most in the group felt prepared to try this ourselves, as the need arises.
Lastly, the group moved back inside to practice sticking moldings.  Some in our group had little experience sticking moldings, and we had a few simple examples to try out.  Dan brought his demo side beads for us to try.  Mark Maleski brought his new M.S. Bickford rabbet plane and we all were able to work on the technique that Bickford teaches (and Don McConnel shows in his Lie-Nielsen video) of using a marking gauge line to begin a rabbet.  Bill Ghio discussed the method he’s traditionally followed of using of moving fillister to create the rabbet.  Through a “pass the baton” approach the group stuck a simple cove-and-fillet molding.

As this was our first meeting, we were a little uncertain of how much focus to apply to each part of our agenda.  But there was much enthusiasm for the meeting, and there are other chapter members who were interested but unable to attend on this date.  Our next working group will be a deeper dive into molding plane restoration, where each member will be asked to bring one or more vintage planes and we will focus primarily on bringing that plane back into good working order (perhaps even with some new iron heat treating).  Once we have enough members with a sufficient number of planes in good working order, we will begin to focus on group exercises to stick molding profiles that we select as a group.
Special thanks go to Bert and Cathy Bleckwenn for hosting our working group.  They setup their workshop to give us ample room for all portions of the meeting and planned the logistics (and Cathy made a lunch run).  Special thanks also go to Dan Schwank; this kickoff meeting wouldn’t have been nearly so successful without him sharing his expertise on molding planes and providing guidance to us on restoring/tuning our planes.

Future molding plane working group meetings will be planned and announced shortly.

Mark Maleski

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Re: Kick-Off of our Molding Plane Working Group
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2016, 07:47:14 AM »
This photo shows most of us gathered around as we began to assess our planes.

Mark Maleski

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Re: Kick-Off of our Molding Plane Working Group
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2016, 07:49:38 AM »
Thanks to David Hickson for all of the photos in this thread.  Here's one of Dan Schwank assessing the mouth of one of our vintage planes.  Tom Dugan is showing several of the planes he brought, and Brian Curtis is looking on.

Mark Maleski

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Re: Kick-Off of our Molding Plane Working Group
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2016, 07:53:39 AM »
Here, Dan is shaping a vintage iron to match the profile of its plane.

Mark Maleski

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Re: Kick-Off of our Molding Plane Working Group
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2016, 07:55:56 AM »
Here, the group is watching as Dan demonstrates hardening (and eventually, tempering).

Mark Maleski

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Re: Kick-Off of our Molding Plane Working Group
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2016, 08:00:39 AM »
Hardening in progress.  Thanks again to David Hickson for his excellent job capturing these photos.

Mark Maleski

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Re: Kick-Off of our Molding Plane Working Group
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2016, 08:01:57 AM »
Here is the final result.

Mark Maleski

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Re: Kick-Off of our Molding Plane Working Group
« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2016, 08:04:29 AM »
Next we moved back inside to stick some moldings.  Here, Larry Barrett is test driving the Red Rose Reproduction side bead.

Mark Maleski

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Re: Kick-Off of our Molding Plane Working Group
« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2016, 08:35:15 AM »
Here is Kathy Bleckwenn sticking a molding, with Larry Barrett looking on.

Mark Maleski

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Re: Kick-Off of our Molding Plane Working Group
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2016, 09:13:40 AM »
Here, Tom Divilio is sharpening a shaped blade, using the thin sharpening wheel that Dan recommended for molding planes.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2016, 09:16:51 AM by Mark Maleski »

Mark Maleski

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Re: Kick-Off of our Molding Plane Working Group
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2016, 09:14:34 AM »
Mark Maleski is sticking a molding.

Mark Maleski

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Re: Kick-Off of our Molding Plane Working Group
« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2016, 09:15:37 AM »
Dan Schwank is showing how his spill plane works.

Dan Schwank

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Re: Kick-Off of our Molding Plane Working Group
« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2016, 05:47:28 PM »
A big thank you to Mark Maleski  for getting this workshop off the ground, and Bert and Kathy Bleckwenn graciously opening up their shop for us to use.  I enjoyed the event, and hope others did too.  Looking forward to future events!