Hand Tools Archive

Re: Cutting the Mouldings
Response To:
I would like to know more ()

david weaver
(Here is a picture without flash, taken during the day today. You can get a better idea of the color of the wood and the random brown marks I mentioned).

Sorry I don't have more pictures of the process, but I'm not sure they're needed.

I square (sometimes something other than square is necessary) a piece of stock long enough for the entire moulding, and then use a sticking board (mine is pretty ugly, made from SYP scrap and MDF with a few screws in the end to retain the stock, but otherwise no other fixturing.

Draw a pattern that the mouldings will have on each end of the board (they are just a suggestion, at least to me, it's more important that the various parts are even than for the final cut to be perfectly to the mark). I use card stock or something I can hold in place for a pattern.

Remove excess stock on the waste side of the profile (if you're a power tool user, you can blast it off with a router or TS it off), I usually jack the stock off of the piece, but you can rip it off with a handsaw if there is enough excess for it.

Cut with rabbet, jack, plow and smoother, depending on which is convenient, to get close to the mark and then use the moulding planes to finish the profile. I don't mind using the round a fair amount, but I try to limit what I do with the hollow because it's a nuisance to sharpen. Fortunately, what it cuts can usually be brought close to shape by other planes.

Cut the moulding (to 45 degrees) and plane the ends and fit it after.

I did a no-no on this bookshelf top, which I have done on others and gotten away with so far, and that is to glue it all the way along its length of the mouldings capping the end and then screw it after the glue dries. Ideally, one would place the pieces on one at a time with hot hide glue and just hold them for a minute or two, but I usually use liquid hide and then just lightly clamp everything so that the competing clamps hold the miters tight and the mouldings to the edge. Anything is fair game (tape especially to get things in place before clamping and tapping into place with a small mallet).

Anyway, hot hide glue would be smarter because its open time is so short. I always attach mouldings with liquid hide glue because it's what I have handy. The fit is never perfect, so I don't finish smooth the top until after the mouldings are in place, and I just plane with a stanley 4 at 45 degrees so that I can plane the bits and pieces flush but not have evidence of anything.

If I liked what I was making, I would learn what to do for longevity with the mouldings so that I wasn't using screws to force it to stay in place in the case the glue line would let go. I figure a nice idea would be a sliding dovetail in the back. I have no clue what is historically accurate.

I'd have a better fit if I were using hot hide and placing things by hand, even with the clamps, things move around a little bit.

Also, it wouldn't take much extra time to cut a much more complex profile than this moulding, and maybe next time I will. I need to build a few more of the smaller sizes of H&Rs, and I really (like I've been talking about for almost 2 years now) need to finish my kitchen cabinets, they're about 2/3rds done.

This picture gives a good impression of how bright the top is even though it's just got a few thin padded shellac coats and inexpensive johnson wax. I think in the balance of time, the fact that I can plane something like this after attaching the mouldings, and plane out imperfections in fit....this kind of stuff would've driven me nuts when I first started woodworking. I actually don't know of a faster way to do it than to plane it afterward, and it just happens so that doing such a thing provides a fine finish. I only finish smooth all of those parts (the top, the moulding, etc) one time.

If I get into a situation where I have to scrape something, i'm mindful of wanting it to match the planed surface, and thus use a card scraper with a burr, then a completely dull side of the scraper and then burnish with plane shavings so that it's close to matching.

I did do some sanding on these mouldings, but only because I didn't have the right scraper shape around at the time and was in a hurry, it hurt their final finish a little bit, they're dull. I'd have to build some finish up a bit more to hide that, but I don't want a built up finish on this, I want something I can refresh and repair easily.

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