I started investigating moulding planes several years ago and made a couple of my own to use in my case work so I can appreciate the usefulness of these remarkably simple yet highly sophisticated planes. At first glance these planes seem quite mysterious. Matthew Bickford does an excellent job of making these, otherwise, odd looking planes a tool that you feel you can pick up and put to real work.
The biggest hurdle, I believe, to making these planes understandable and useful to the woodworker is knowing how to go from the moulding you have designed or wanting to replicate to production. Bickford offers the key to unlock these little jewel's full potential. He goes into depth on how to implement the use of each of these fundamental planes. He describes how to lay out your pattern and then create guides by means of rabbets that then direct the planes to create a specific profile exactly where you need it to land.
He also discusses the traditional approaches that many long time users are familiar with and considers logically the pros and cons. He offers suggestion on when and how to use the different approaches. He does this all while keeping it concise and in plain language.
The book discusses dedicated moulding planes but the bulk of the book is on the use of hollows, rounds as well as snipes bill and side rounds. Plow planes are touched on and of course the rabbet plane which forms the basis for the layouts.
The second half of the book covers a study of and discussion of a variety of specific historical examples of mouldings and how to produce them. This really rounds out the book and makes it very practical.
Matthew Bickford has been a full time planemaker since 2010. According to his website he was inspired to make plans while investigating them for his own personal woodworking. After producing his own set of hollows and rounds others inquired if he would produce some for their use. This naturally led to his full time profession.
I highly recommend this book for anyone looking to put these planes to their fullest potential. It is available at the publisher Lost Arts Press for $37.00 plus shipping.