Saturday, May 19, 2012

Using The Stanley 55 Plane To Create Period Mouldings

The Stanley 55 hand combination plane, while finicky at times, can help produce wonderful mouldings. Keep the blades sharp and watch the grain. To sharpen the curved cutters, I use the DMT wave sharpener along with 600 grit slip stones.

For complex curves, it is important to use both of the Stanley 55 fences. Otherwise, the plane could slip off course. In order to do this, I mount the piece I am working on to another piece of wood using toed-in screws at each end of the moulding.

My friend needed exact copies of two pieces of moulding for his over 100 year old home. These were created with multiple different blades in the Stanley 55, a shoulder plane and jointer planes. These designs would be a challenge, if not impossible, with standard power router bits.  A custom blade for power milling would be very expensive. At the time, I did not own a set of hollow and round planes. I have now worked with both. For me, there is less of a learning curve (and less finesse required) with the 55 than the hollow and rounds

Here's how to do it with the Stanley 55:
 Finished mouldings.

Here are a dozen or so more posts on the Stanley 55 plane.


  1. great , !!
    hi , I live in korea.
    recently I bought stanley 55.
    is it usable tool?

    1. The Stanley 55 is usable, but you need to know its limitations. Straight grained wood works the best when using the curved cutters. Try to avoid going against the grain. Take thin passes. Try to use both fences whenever possible. See my other post for mounting the work piece. Sharp cutters are a must. Start practicing with the straight cutters. Wax the fence with a candle. Use as many skates as will fit with each blade. The beading cutters (21-27) are the next easiest to use. The hollows and rounds are challenging. The curved profiles can work well, but make sure that the blade is barely exposed below the skate.