Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Securing The Workpiece When Using A Stanley 55 Combination Plane


The Stanley 55 combination plane is capable of making accurate moldings.  It is unique in that two fences can be used against the workpiece.  The "default" fence is the left hand fence.  Many mouldings can be created using this fence alone. However, adding the second right hand fence prevents any slippage or drift of the plane which could have ruined the piece. The tandem fences are also helpful when trying to widen an existing groove. A consistent sliver along that groove can be removed, if needed. I find it to be more accurate than a side rabbet plane. When used together, the dual fences on the 55 basically make sticking mouldings idiot proof, though more time consuming than using hollow and rounds.

There is one major catch.  The fence is often deeper than the piece with which I am working.  In other words, the fence will bottom out on my vice before it reaches the desired depth. (If the piece is deep enough, it can be placed in a vice, on the bench between benchdogs or on a sticking board.).  Remember, in order to use both fences, both sides of the piece where the fences are going to run and the top surface where the iron and skates run can not be interfered by a securing device or clamp. This leaves only the ends (where the end grain is located) to secure the piece.

My initial solution to mount or secure the piece was to screw the piece on both ends into the edge of a thin 5/8" or 3/4"  board with the board then secured in a vice.

One method to secure the moulding is to screw the piece to the edge of a board which then is held by the vise.

Better yet, a simple jig to hold both ends, which takes just a few minutes to make, works more efficiently.  I have a T-track inset into my workbench.  If you do not want to ruin your bench, mount the T-track on the edge of a board which can then be placed into a vise. The jig uses two boards with each one secured to the T-track via two holes on the far ends.  An inset is then created on the inner ends with 2 screws secured into each shoulder with the heads of the screws cut off to dig into the ends of the piece.  This jig will not work if bottom edge of the piece is already profiled, unless you create a custom inset bed on the jig...better to use a sticking board for that.