Sunday 9 March 2014

Wonderful Old Moulding Planes.

At the recent David Stanley Auction I was treated to a history lesson on the making of moulding planes by Richard Arnold and one of his friends. This is a set of six 'mother' planes from which the soles of moulding planes received their final shaping. Mother planes are very rare and valuable and to find six in such good condition was a real find.

The WCLA stamp stands for Warwick County Lunatic Asylum which is where these planes resided for many years. The maker was William Kendall (1764-1840) and these were made in the early 1800's. For much of his working life he worked for John Green as a plane maker. All the planes were stamped.

In addition to mother planes for the sole profile there were a number of other planes used in the shaping process and you can see these were clearly employed in the making of the mother planes.

These strange looking beasts were used for the chamfers on each side of the top.

The four planes below were used in the shaping of the wedges and we had a long discussion over this.

Now if it were me I would take an appropriate sized board and cut all the profiles for the wedge, before sawing off the wedges to the appropriate width. But it would appear that offcuts from the plane making were clamped together in a row and then profiled, I was shown a museum photo which backed this up.

In this last photo you can see a little prick hole on the wedge. All the wedges of a set would have this in exactly the same place and then each of the wedges was fitted down to the mark. This meant that when a set was complete all the wedges were a perfect match, true craftsmanship!


  1. Hi David,
    Great post, you don't normally think about the tools that are needed for making tools. Did you get them as the photos look like they where taken at the sale or have you run out of room for more planes in the workshop.

  2. Thank you! I didn't buy these, I don't think they would be for sale.
    I can always find room for another plane!