Side Beads – The Gateway Moulding Plane
From today on, expect to see a side bead on just about everything I build; I’ve recently received the 3/16″ beading plane I ordered from Phil Edwards of Philly Planes. And she’s a beaut – quartersawn English beech fully boxed with English boxwood and an 01 iron (at I believe a 50° pitch…I can’t find my protractor), all made by Phil in his Dorset, England, shop, using traditional methods.
So what does this plane do? It’s a dedicated profile with an integral fence and depth stop that cuts a bead (a semi-circular shape that ends in a quirk) on the edge of a board. And it cuts it fast – much faster than I can set up a router table (and a lot more fun, too) – just a few passes with a sharp blade and Bob’s your uncle.
Why would I want a bead on everything? Again, it’s a fun plane to use. Plus, beads are an excellent way to hide a seam where, say, the nailed-on bottom of a tool-chest till meets the front, or where shiplapped backboards meet. A bead at a top edge softens corners and adds visual interest. And did I mention it’s irresistibly fun?
Now I’d best review my copy of Larry Williams’ “Sharpening Profiled Hand Tools” DVD so I don’t muck up the iron. And I’d best start saving for another beader or two in different sizes.