After screwing up several aspects of the last moulding I shot, I thought I’d redo it. And I remembered to document it this time!
This time, I had the advantage of being able to trace the previous moulding, rather than making it up as I went along. Granted, there was still a lot of ad-libbing and it’s not an exact replica of the original, but it’ll do.
The first step is to rough out the curve as a series of “steps”. I started off with a plough plane, switched off to a medium shoulder plane when the cuts got too deep for the plough, and hogged off some waste with a scrub plane and jointer plane (the scrub plane takes a bigger bite, but sometimes the weight of the jointer felt more stable). Hey, I paid for all these tools, I might as well use them all, right?
Then I chamfered all the steps with a shoulder plane. The goal was to reduce the amount of material I had to remove with the moulding planes. Not only are the moulding planes much more difficult to sharpen, but their high carbon steel blades are really soft compared to the A2 blade in my shoulder plane, so they lose their edge more quickly.
Because it’s a sweeping curve, I ended up using several different moulding planes to produce the complex curve. This was also important because it allowed me to pick and choose the planes that cut better (hey, they’re a couple hundred years old, they deserve a little leeway).
Finally, I cleaned up the transitions and chatter marks with a little freehand sandpapering. Voila!
Roughing out the curve
Chamfering the “steps”
Cutting the curve
Completed and sanded
I couldn’t match the grain that well if I tried!
I was sorting through my walnut stash for the stiles and rails for the bottom case and the frame and panel door for the bottom case when I noticed this piece. The grain is a bit funky for a frame piece, but I kinda like funky and thought it could look cool next to the highly figured panel.
I tried a few different configurations until I noticed how perfectly this matched. I was sold!
Matching the grain this perfectly doesn’t seem like a big deal until you notice a few things:
- The panel is resawn and bookmatched
- These are from different boards
- The panel is running north-south and the rail is running east-west
I couldn’t match it up that perfectly if I tried. But for the record, I’m totally taking credit for it.
Now I just hope I can get the panel and rail to line up that way in the finished piece…
Right off the saw
I saw this awesome figure and decided I had to use it to make a panel. Of course, it’s only 6 or so inches wide and I didn’t have my board stretcher with me, so I knew I had to try my hand at resawing. So I did what I did best: I winged it.
Ok, I actually did a test cut on some pine first, but that didn’t make me feel any more confident when cutting the actual piece. There’s a slight difference between slicing straight-grained pine vs. figured walnut.
I did the resawing on my bandsaw and it actually went pretty well. Many articles and books have been written on the subject of resawing and many gadgets and jigs have been created. Turns out all I really needed was some careful setup. I made sure the fence was parallel to the miter slots and that the fence and blade were square to the table. While making the cut, I had to pay real close attention to ensuring that the board remained tight to the fence.
If I was slicing paper-thin veneer, it probably wouldn’t work as well, but I’m not cutting paper-thin veneer.
Glued up, planed, and splashed with alcohol
A grandfather clock is basically three boxes stacked on top of each other, right? So I must be done!
Okay, well the (for lack of a technical term) bottom box still needs a face frame and a door and some moulding between the cases and feet and… okay, so maybe there’s quite a bit more work to do, but it’s looking a lot more like a clock than a stack of lumber!
Laying out the curve
When I saw the cathedral pattern on this board, I knew I needed to use it as a solid door on the front of the case.
After looking through my collection of grandfather clock photographs (what do you mean you don’t have a collection of grandfather clock photos?) I decided to use an overlay door. I roughed out the height & width about 1/2″ oversize to compensate for the 1/4″ rabbets I planned to cut around the perimeter.
To lay out the curve, I traced the opening onto a piece of paper, taped the paper to the door, and traced around the curve with a compass set to 1/4″. This gave me, more or less, a line 1/4″ bigger than the curve while preserving the outline.
The curve was cut on the bandsaw and cleaned up with a combination of bench chisels and good ole’ sandpaper. I used a shoulder plane to cut a 1/4″ x 1/4″ rabbet on the sides and back. The rabbet on the curve was cut mostly with chisel work.
It took a little fiddling to get the door properly fitted in the opening, but it now fits properly, with a little extra to allow for wood movement. Now I just hope it doesn’t warp.
Finally back to work on the Grandfather Clock… I’ve mostly been milling up boards for the case that will “hold the pendulum” (it’s really going to hold shelves), but I finally started putting the case together today.
It’s only about half done, but I was moderately impressed with the work I did, so I wanted to take a couple pictures before heading inside for a snack.
The only downside is I managed to blow out a huge chunk of wood from one of the show faces, so i took some pictures. I was planning to add some mouldings to cover the dovetails, anyway, so I’ll just make them a little bigger to cover a big chunk of missing wood. The difference between a professional and an amateur isn’t that the professional makes less mistakes, it’s that he knows how to fix them.
(sorry for the crappy picture quality; I didn’t want to drag my big camera out in the rain)