A Simple Looking Glass Molding

The following write-up describes the making of a conventional looking glass molding that can be scaled up or down to suit the size of the frame. For better examination click on any of the images for an enlarged view.


Generally I find it easier to work a molding on the edge or face of a larger piece of stock, and saw it off when done. It’s more convenient to hold in the vice or down on the bench. It always saves a lot of aggravation to make sure you have a straight reference face and square edge.

Straight stock with square edge
A beading plane (side bead) runs in the first element of this molding. It automatically registers on the edge of the stock.

Running in the side bead

Running in the side bead

The next element is the concavity of the ogee profile cut in with the appropriate round plane. ( Molding planes take the name of the molding they cut, with the exception of hollows and rounds. They take the name of the profile of the plane.) Position the plane flush with the edge of the stock. Take a light first pass using your fingers as a fence to hold the plane in position. The plane will track in that first cut. Take the necessary passes to bring the profile down to the silhouette drawn on the ends of the stock.

Before describing the use of the hollow plane it’s important to consider the orientation of the blade to the stock of the plane. Generally the blade of the hollow cuts very little if at all at the inside edge. On the outside and open face of the plane the blade will cut.3124a
Use the outside cutting edge of the plane to lay over the round profile just inside the bead. (Notice that I’m planning in the opposite direction. This works only if the grain allows you to do so.)IMG_3096

At this point the hollow is used to bring the convex portion of the molding down till the flat just disappears.IMG_3105

Any score marks left from using the hollow can be cleaned up with a few light passes of the round. Note that I continue to use my fingers as a fence to ensure that the plane tracks flush with the edge of the stock

The final element of this profile is a small cove along the inside of the molding. Create an angled chamfer (for the small round plane to ride on) using a rabbet plane. IMG_3116
Plane in the cove with a small round plane using a board to register the plane against.IMG_3122
The profile now complete, the molding can be sawn off the stock and the back side planed clean to the scribed thickness. I used the straight edge just under the low side of the molding so that it’s supported and level with the bench.IMG_3090
Important points to consider: When using hand planes, working with the grain is much more convenient. Sharp and properly adjusted planes are a must. Finally there is no substitute for practice. Enjoy the process!


Here’s the finished molding applied to the frame. Carving the indented corners, and applying the fret-sawn decoration is still to come.



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3 Responses to A Simple Looking Glass Molding

  1. John says:

    That’s a nice explanation, Kaare. What I think is even cooler that you used 21st century technology to illustrate and disseminate this very useful explanation of an 18th century (or earlier) process. I’m sure woodworkers of that era would be amazed to see this.

  2. larry jackson says:

    Many thanks for the lesson on using the edge of a board protruding up from the vice as a fence for cutting the cove on the chamfer.

  3. Gary Cook says:

    I love your posts, Kaare. Great pics and great explanation. I can’t get enough of traditional instruction using 18thc technique and tools. Love it.

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