Tool Test: J. Wilding Moving Fillister Plane
Vintage moving fillister planes are easy to find but can be tricky to restore because of all the moving parts and the general wear and tear these tools endure. If you don’t want to buy a metal moving fillister, then I highly recommend you check out the work of Jeremiah Wilding, a young planemaker who specializes in 18th-century style planes.
During the last year I have put a handful of his planes to work and have been impressed with the way they function and look – his attention to detail is impressive. This year, Wilding loaned me a moving fillister plane – a design he had been working on for some time.
It is nothing short of perfect. Wilding managed to engineer out two flaws of many moving fillisters – their tendency to clog in heavy cuts and the fact that the fence-locking mechanism wears out prematurely.
The fence locks down using machine screws and threaded inserts. And the geometry of the escapement, wedge and body of the plane makes the shavings shoot out of the tool in use.
The body is maple with persimmon boxing and a persimmon wedge to secure the cross-grain nicker. The tapered iron is O1 steel, skewed to make clean cross-grain rabbets and can cut a 1″-wide rabbet. The depth stop moves via a brass thumbscrew and locks with a steel screw. Try as I might, I could not make the depth stop slip.
Above and beyond all the functional bits, the woodwork on this plane is spectacular. Unlike many 19th-century wooden planes, Wilding’s are exquisitely detailed with beautiful wide chamfers and ogees decorating the body of the tool.
All in all, it’s one of the finest wooden planes I’ve ever used. Highly recommended.
— Christopher Schwarz