the cove

I’m mostly set on how I’m going to let the till into the schoolbox, but before doing so I decided to take a break and try my hand at the lid moulding. Young Thomas chamfers the moulding. That seemed like it wouldn’t compliment the bottom however, and so my immediate thought was to repeat the pattern of the bottom moulding. A quick mockup told me that didn’t look quite right, so taking a cue from this post I decided to expand my horizons and try a cove moulding.


That meant tuning up a wayward no.5 hollow round plane first.

I don’t have a vast collection of moulding planes. Each time I use one that works well I am encouraged to go out and buy a whole set, but each time I try one that is poorly set-up or maintained I am encouraged to start a fire with them. It’s a complicated relationship. I have a couple of side beads (the gateway drug), the Grecian ovolo that I was using the other day, and some very rag-tag and mismatched hollows and rounds.

Some of them are beyond saving. Some of them are just on the verge. All of them came to me with problems with the profile of the iron fitting the bed of the plane. The no. 5 was no exception. it had either had it’s iron replaced or been sharpened out of profile until the one side stuck out threatening to gash any work it touched. It also had what I believe to be an unintentional back bevel.

That meant when I tried it out the first time it was awful. Nothing good came of that and it sat on the shelf for a while. But, short of going out and finding a dedicated cove plane (that probably also needs work) this was my best shot, so I studied my options.

While complex profiles are easier to re-shape with files, this hollow went directly to the grindstone where I was able to quickly bring it back to match the profile of the plane and remove the worst of the back bevel. From there I went right to the oil stones. (I sharpen most chisels, plane blades, etc. with waterstones but I prefer oilstones for profiled work.)

Once the profile was correct it wasn’t hard to put an edge on this one and bring it back to a nice polish. I took that sharpened blade back to the wood I was working on and found everything to be much easier and more productive.



I started with a series of rabbets to relieve most of the material, and then worked my way in with the hollow round plane. Some touch up with the block plane and the smoother and I had a very respectable cove. I also learned a lot about the process and started lusting after a half-set of these beauties.  Ok, so that’s probably not going to happen anytime soon, but I will be keeping my eye out for a set of 4’s and 8’s when I’m out and about.




3 Comments Add yours

  1. Thoroughly enjoying watching this project progress, James. Your blog series on the School Box have definitely got my fingers itching to work through the Joiner & Cabinetmaker this year.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. joel steed says:

    dude, i’m pretty sure that is actually a round that you used to make yer cove; round and hollow referencing the shape of the iron and plane profile.


    1. Yeah, I guess you’re right. I always had it in my head that planes were named for the profile they create which had me turned around. Thanks for keeping me honest.


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