Monday, October 4, 2010

Mobile Moldings

Woodworking in America has come and gone. Maybe next year I will be able to attend.

We've had a lot of rain recently and the morning temperatures have dipped to the low 50's. That's not a bad thing for the most part, but for someone who enjoys sitting outside with a coffee and a laptop, it's getting a little cold. I can't help but wonder how the weather will affect my woodworking. The workbench is small enough that I can move it inside the RV,  if necessary, but Mark's new house is big enough that I will be able to move into the basement this winter. I will even have my own fireplace! I don't want to get too comfortable there though, I still want to buy my own place. :D

For today, I think I will sit here and enjoy the sun.

A few of the RV projects (replace cracked bathtub, swap rotted air conditioner gasket) are done, but I still have a couple more big ones to tackle (replace broken slide out awning spring, replace toilet base seal). I'm mostly finished with my bench plane shelf, but decided to put it aside to get some of the RV projects done and the weather starts to cooperate. I did finish the moulding plane shelf last week and seen to get pulled away every time I sit down to write the blog. So, here it is...cold, but not forgotten....the Molding Plane Shelf!

I picked up the stock at a local BORG, not the most cost effective way to get what I needed, but they did carry oak and even had it available already milled to the thicknesses that I required. I still haven't braved my way into a hardwood lumber store and the BORG is only a two mile drive from my current location. Today, convenience wins. Besides, they had exactly what I needed.

Day One

First, I jointed the edges of two boards to allow me to glue them into one wider board. With them jointed at the same time, the minor imperfections are matched on both boards and the edge join together seamlessly. I thought about using a biscuit joiner to add a little extra stability to the shelf, but I decided not too, I'm too old school.

Using all the clamps I have, which is not nearly enough, I glued and clamped the two boards together. I used two scrap pieces to keep the boards flat and pinched the ends with small spring clamps. I also decided on this day that I needed to start picking up more clamps, I'm tired of always having to invent ways to clamp projects. lol

After the glue was dry, I gave it a quick going over with a card scraper to even out the joint. Looks great!

I easily squared up the ends using the shooting board.

I took it inside the RV where it will be positioned and drew the contours using a compass. I then began to work the wood down to final dimensions using my hand planes and rasps.

Here is a close up of where the shelf will meet the door frame.

Next, I glued a strip of 1/4 inch thick oak to the front as a lip. I rived this piece from a longer board, but the grain when all funny on me and didn't even know the meaning of the word "straight", so I won't be doing that again until I practice and get the break to cooperate with me.

Using bench planes and a moulding plane, I shaped the lip and added a nice curve to the bottom of the shelf.

Here it is after day one; dry fit with a few planes on it, very snug.

Day Two

I began the day by touching up the curve with a scraper, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite tools.

(Side note...I thought I would add a 90 degree slot to my shooting board to have it double up as a miter box. It's a good idea,....if you glued down your fence, which I hadn't. I ended up cutting right thorough it and had to glue on a new fence later. Another "way to go, Stupid" moment.)

I cut some small stock to use as anchor blocks. Why are they called 'anchor blocks'? Because I feel like it.

...and augured some 5/16 inch holes halfway through the blocks.

Using a recycled piece of the broken slide out awning spring, I cut some short lengths of rod.

Then, I glued down the strap anchors.

I decided to use pocket screws to hold the shelf in place, which is against my period philosophy but I gave myself a little leeway on this occasion since they didn't have RVs in the 18th century. I wanted to be certain that the shelf would stay in place during the hard and bumpy ride of a road trip.

Using a chisel, I rounded off the anchor blocks.


Using some advice from the latest Wood Whisper video and comments section I decided to finish the shelf as best I could using...

Dewaxed shellac as a pore sealer...

A golden oak stain that closely matches the current color in the RV...

And two coats of wipe on polyurethane.

Here is the shelf mounted over the door using the pocket screws. The finish came out a little shinier than the current wooden components in the RV but the color is spot on. I have a finish restorer that I will be using on the current wooden components, which will hopefully bring the shine back to the same level as the moulding plane shelf. The few people that have seen it in person didn't even know what I added until I pointed it out to them, so it must be a good job. :D

The shelf holds 15 wooden planes that I had sitting packed in a box near the bed. Using Velcro straps, I can secure them all for travel. I may in the future make a drop down bar that would come down in front of the shelf, ensuring the planes would stay in place even more. I also placed a small mat on the shelf as padding and as a device to cover the pocket hole screws if anyone is tall enough to see them. The molding plane actually used on the shelf is the sixth one from the left. ;)

I'm very proud of my new shelf. :D

[Here are some better pictures of the finished project. I will probably end up moving the longest plane to the bench plane shelf when it is complete. The piece of camouflage you see here is actually some old military rain gear I was using to block some of the light coming in through the door.]

Next Project - Bench Planes Shelf


  1. I think you may have forgotten to include the final picture with the planes on the shelf. Don't be such a tease. Let's hear more about the molding planes you have and how you are using them.

  2. Thanks, Shannon. I've been having the hardest time with this post. From deleted entries to dead was the post that never was.

    I added some better pictures of the completed projects and have made myself promise to start using my camera to snap pictures for the blog, and not my phone. haha

    Hope the new pics tell a better story.

    I picked up most of the planes in Durham in June (found them on CL for $250, which comes out to about $14 each). The plow plane was a ebay find for about $20. You can probably see some of them now (and feel free to correct me if I am wrong. I still haven't learned the difference between a rabbit plane and a fillister plane).

    From left to right I have: unfinished oak 1/4 rabbit with no iron, tongue and groove planes, two hollows and one thumbnail, six beading profiles of various sizes (2 of them are 3/8), two dado planes, the longer fillister which needs a wedge and iron, four rabbit planes, and the plow plane.

    I used the plow plane during the DVD Shelf project (incorrectly, I might add) and the thumbnail on this shelf.

    I still need to sharpen all the blades completely and get some replacement blades for a couple of them.

    Future plans include using the tongue and groove to make some inlay picture frames, possible Christmas idea.

  3. Cool project Dan - you should be proud of it! That's a nice shelf for your planes and I like how you made it fit the spot perfectly. Good call on the biscuits - don't need 'em.

    And nice collection of planes - and at a great price! Do the planes you bought as a group have the same owner's marks? Just curious - I'm always interested in where the tools have been.

    Since you asked for corrections I'll give you my two-cents worth, although there is no guarantee that I'm right :)

    The "two hollows" are actually two rounds and the "thumbnail" is a hollow. Unlike all other moulding planes H&Rs are named for the shape of their sole, and not the profile they cut. Weird.

    The "two dado planes" are actually rabbet planes - dado planes have two irons, with the front iron set vertically and sharpened into two nickers for working across the grain (which is the difference between a rabbet and a dado), which makes the "four rabbet planes" dado planes and from the looks of them they are nice ones!

    And for what it's worth - my understanding of the difference between a fillister plane and a rabbet plane is that the fillister has a fence (standing or moving) and a standard side escapement for shavings, while the rabbet has no fence and the standard rabbet style rounded throat opening.

    Anyway, hope that was helpful. And again - nice job. Keep that up and soon your RV will be a rolling work of art!

  4. Sweet! Thanks Dan!

    All of the planes I got from CL were originally owned by a single owner and were purchased at an estate sale by the guy who sold them to me. Unfortunately, he did not mark his planes at all. (Which leads to debate, as a current owner of 2nd hand molding planes; are you for or against marking your molding planes?)

    The fillister plane, which was purchased separately on ebay belong to one each A.Bohm.

    Thanks for fixing my nomenclature :) I normally just try to grab "the one I need" and use it...after sharpening the blade. lol

    I gave the shelves a test drive last weekend, and everything worked perfectly.

    Thanks for the awesome complements. :D


  5. Regarding the "to mark" or "not to mark" question. I'd have to say that I started out firmly "not to mark" and have move steadily over to the "mark" side of the debate. So far I haven't marked any of mine, because I am still trying to figure out how to make the kind of stamp I want. Once I make it, I'm not sure if I will stamp them all at once, or only stamp a plane after it has been used on a project. I think I like the sound of the latter - like I've earned the right to claim it as my own. Hmm.


Let me know what you think! Comments and suggestions are always welcome!