How to Use a Molding Plane

Written by usha dadighat
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How to Use a Molding Plane
Moulding planes provide a manual alternative to electric tools. (wood planes from another era image by from

Originally dating from the 18th century, moulding planes aided carpenters in creating custom moulding on chairs, cabinets and other furniture. Moulding planes were made from birch, maple, and beech woods. You can use a moulding plane in modern woodworking projects to add unique details to your piece. Antique moulding planes work just as well as new ones if you sharpen and oil the tool properly. Moulding planes provide a manual alternative to electric tools.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Moulding plane
  • Sharpening oil
  • Hand-held grinder or steel file (rasp)
  • Wax

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  1. 1

    Grind the blade if needed. You generally only need to do this with old moulding planes where the wood has warped or blade has bent. Grind the top edge of the blade with a hand-held grinder or nail file to prepare the blade for sharpening.

    How to Use a Molding Plane
    Use a steel file, or rasp, to grind down the blade. (rasp (engineers file) image by AGphotographer from
  2. 2

    Sharpen the moulding plane's blade. Antique moulding planes that have been in storage will need more sharpening than a newer moulding plane. Both mineral oil and specialised sharpening oils can work as lubricants when you sharpen the blade. Use varying sizes of slips, or sharpening stone rods, to sharpen the contoured blade effectively.

  3. 3

    Lubricate the moulding plane with wax. This prevents the blade from getting dull right away. Apply more wax throughout the process if this first layer wears off.

    How to Use a Molding Plane
    Wax prevents the blade from dulling. (désoperculer.. image by Claudio Calcagno from
  4. 4

    Line up the moulding plane along the edge of the wood project. Push the wedge down towards the wood until it gets firmly set. This will lock the plane in place.

    How to Use a Molding Plane
    Place the moulding plane along the edge. (wood plane tool image by Wiktor Osiecki from
  5. 5

    Apply even pressure as you move the plane along the edge of the wood. Keep the moulding plane level with the wood from one end of the edge to another, and apply enough pressure with each pass to slowly shave the wood into the shape of the moulding plane. Keep going until the depth stop marker on the moulding plane reaches the surface of the wood.

Tips and warnings

  • Don't use the moulding plane at an angle -- this will ruin the project.

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