Reverse Ogee And Astragal Draw

When routing any molding, work with a broad piece of stock if at all possible. The extra width gives you something to hold on to, something for hold-downs to bear on. And because the cut is backed up by the excess stock, the wide stock is less likely to break up as you rout it.

After completing the profile, rip it from the stock. Don't riskdam-aging your profile by trapping it between the saw blade and the rip fence. Instead, orient the good edge so it will be to the left of the blade, as shown in the photo.

beyond the router. Do it on the table saw. You can easily rout a flute down the center of a 5-inch-wide board using a core-box bit. but you can't produce the reverse of that form in the same location. You'd have to rout it with a bull-nose bit. and you simply can't get the bit extension necessary to place the center of the cut 2Vi inches away from the board's edge. Cut that shape with a molding head in the table saw.

Don't frustrate yourself by trying to do what's not possible. Use other tools as appropriate in making your moldings.

The most understandable way to get you stancd, I think, is to give some specific examples. A couple of years ago. our woodworking colleague Phil Gehrct built a collection of classic furniture pieces in conjunction with Rodalc's publication of the plans of the late Carlyle Lynch. Many of these projects required Phil to produce duplicates of moldings originally created using molding planes or scratch stocks. Many Phil did with a router, usually on the router table. The following moldings were selected from plans in the Lynch collection.

Cove-and-Bead Molding

This covc-and-bead molding is used around the waist and base of the linen press, a cabinet in the collection of Lynch plans. The covc-and-bead is a simple form that you know you'd cut with a round-over bit and a core-box bit. But the cove clcarly is much larger than the bead.

The first job is to determine the scale of the profile. The plan has a full-sized section of the molding, and it has the thickness and width marked, but not the radii of the two

Used around the waist and Itaseoja linen press, a cabinet in the Carlyle Lynch plans collection, this cwc-and-bead is a simple fortn cut with a round-over bit and a core-box bit.

arcs. You can use a draftsman's circle template to detennine them;just line up the different circle cutouts on the arcs until you find one that matches the arc perfectly. In this case, the cove has a Mo-inch radius, while the bead has a !A-inch radius.

A good trick to use in assessing the size of such arcs, as well as figui-ing out how you'll orient the work to make the cuts, is to lay the bits themselves on the plan, and line them up with the profile. As you do | this, you might have a dialogue going in your head:

"Can 1 stand the stock on edge and rout the bead? Nah. The bearing will be in the way. Can it be done with the stock flat? Would be a deep cut for the bit. Maybe have to cheat the shank out of the collet V* inch or so. But, yeah, 1 can do it.

"Now how about that cove? That's a Mo-inch radius. Hmmm. No | Mirinch cove bit in my collection. How about this Vn-inch cove? Bearing's in the way again. A core-box will do it. but lemmc think here They're sized by diameter, so 1 need a 7/M-inch bit. No? I do have a V«-inch core-box. and the difference in size won't be obvious."

Then it's time to rout. Work with a 2- to 3-inch-wide piece of

To cut the bead with a typical round-over bit, the bit has to be extended just about as far as it can be. Make se\eral passes to work up to the final cutting depth.

The cove is cut with a core-box bit, using the fence to guide the work over the bit. Set the hit height and the fence by sighting across the bit to the workpiece.

COVt-*ND-BEM> PROFILE

The moldings on this sideboard table, reproduced following a plan Carlyle Lynch drew from a 200-year-old table, were cut using a table-mounted router. The large molding's ogee profile was formed using round-over and core-box bits; the astragal, using a hull-nose bit.

COVt-*ND-BEM> PROFILE

It should be I Mo inches thick and 4 inches wide, so you can cut the profile on both edges and then rip the molding from it. Rout a Kt-inch-deep by Winch-wide rabbet along one edge, then roll the stock over and rabbet the second edge. Do this to all the stock, including a couple of set-up scraps.

Rout the coves with a 1-inch-diameter core-box bit. Set the stock on edge and brace it against the fence for this cut. Set the fence and the bit height, and make a test cut. Adjust as necessary, and when a test cut confirms that you've got the setting right, rout the good stock.

Now do the quarter-round form. Tighten the round-over bit in the router, then remove the pilot bearing. Adjust the bit height using the coved stock as a guide, and bring the fence into position to guide the stock. You don't want a flat between the cove and the round any more than you want a crease created by too abrupt a transition. The ogee should have a

The moldings on this sideboard table, reproduced following a plan Carlyle Lynch drew from a 200-year-old table, were cut using a table-mounted router. The large molding's ogee profile was formed using round-over and core-box bits; the astragal, using a hull-nose bit.

To cut the bead with a typical round-over bit, the bit has to be extended just about as far as it can be. Make se\eral passes to work up to the final cutting depth.

stock. Keep it flat on the router tabletop. and cut the Winch round-over on its edge first. Even though the round-over bit has a bearing, it's better to use a fence to guide the cut. The fence gives you better control of the work, and it gives you something to clamp a couple of hold-downs to. Make the cuts in several passes, increasing the bit height between passes. The cut is a long reach for the typical bit. but you should be able to complete it without untoward difficulty.

The cove is next. Switch to the core-box bit, and set the height by sighting across the bit to the work-piece. You want a Mo-inch-wide fillet

The cove is cut with a core-box bit, using the fence to guide the work over the bit. Set the hit height and the fence by sighting across the bit to the workpiece.

between the bead and the cove. Set the fence in pretty much the same way, sighting across the bit to the workpiece. and adjusting the fence position so the bit intersects a mark Yh inch from the edge. Then rout the cove.

Rip the molding from the working stock, and fit it to the linen press.

A Two-Pass Ogee and an Astragal

The moldings on the original sideboard table were most likely cut by hand with molding planes. But when Rodale photographer and woodworker Mitch Mandel made a copy, he used a table-mounted router to produce the moldings.

The ogee profile used for the large molding is formed from a cove and a quarter round. This particular ogee is larger than any available bit, so Mitch routed it using round-over and core-box bits. And though the specified radii were Ya inch for both cove and round-over. Mitch used l/a-inch-radius bits to better blend the two separate cuts. A y«-inch round-over would have cut into the beginning of the cove.

To duplicate Mitch's work, start with straight, flat, defect-free stock.

Cut the cove with a core-box bit, half-concealed by■ the fence. Using the split fence makes this easy to do. In adjusting the fence, set it so the bit's vertical cutting edge just grazes the bottom of the rabbet. Set the bit height to round the rabbet's inside comer.

The ogee profile is completed using a round-over bit with its pilot bearing removed. As you can see, the bit must be hyperextended to make the cut. The trick is to adjust the bit to blend its cut with the previous one; the better you align the cuts, the less sanding youll have to do. Adjust the fence in or out to establish the width of the fillet.

The ogee profile is completed using a round-over bit with its pilot bearing removed. As you can see, the bit must be hyperextended to make the cut. The trick is to adjust the bit to blend its cut with the previous one; the better you align the cuts, the less sanding youll have to do. Adjust the fence in or out to establish the width of the fillet.

smooth, continuous surface, with the cove blending perfectly into the quarter round. With the piloi bearing removed, you have room for lateral adjustment, because excess stock can ride over the top of the bit. The fillet this forms on the edge of the cut can be ripped off on the table saw. Make a test cut, analyze it. and make any adjustments necessary to achieve that perfect cut. When all is right, rout the good stock.

To complete this large ogee molding, rip the molded edges from the stock. Set up the stock so the molded edge falls away from the stock rather than being trapped between the fence and the blade. Sand the stock, and it's ready for application.

The smaller molding is an astragal. Rout it on the edge of '/«-inch-thick stock, then rip off a Mwnch-thick strip with the profile. You can cut the form cither in one pass using a Vit-inch bull-nose bit or in two passes using a Mfr-inch-radius round-over bit.

Chest Molding

The six-board chest from the Lynch plan collection has an interesting molding around the lid and base. It combines a bull nose with an ogee on a piccc of stock V* inch thick by 1%. inches wide.

While it's a challenge to work out the combination of bits needed to form the profile, so is working out the stock orientation. Because of the dimensions, you have to rout the profile in the facc of the stock, not on the edge. After routing the ogee on a fairly wide piece, rip off the required l%rinch-wide strip and rout the bull nose. (You could actually do the ogee on both edges of a 3,A-inch-widc board, then rip it in

This molding is used in two places on a six-board chest that Carlyle Lynch included in his plan collection. Its use around the lid is shown here. Oriented with the cove up, the same molding is used around the bottom of the chest.

half before nosing both the resulting pieces.)

The ogee is cut using a K-inch round-over bit and a 34-inch core-box bit. The technique for routing this ogee is the same one used to rout the ogee molding on the sideboard table above. Plow a rabbet the full length of the stock to reduce the number of passes neccssaryto make the ogee. Cut the cove, then the roundover.

CHEST MOLDING PROFILE

OWE SQUML"*r

OGEE AND ASTRAGAL PROFILES

Vta'RMXl USE BULL-NOSE OR V* ROUND-OVER.

OGEE AND ASTRAGAL PROFILES

Vta'RMXl USE BULL-NOSE OR V* ROUND-OVER.

Using the horizontal router table to tout moldings is sometimes approbate. When rutting the ogee for the six-board chest,you can keep the stock flat on the tahletop rather than balanced on edge. To help you set the bit, draw the profile on the end of a sample of the working stock, then line up the bits with the profile, as shown here.

Using the horizontal router table to tout moldings is sometimes approbate. When rutting the ogee for the six-board chest,you can keep the stock flat on the tahletop rather than balanced on edge. To help you set the bit, draw the profile on the end of a sample of the working stock, then line up the bits with the profile, as shown here.

After ripping the partly completed molding to its Pinal height, cut the nose on it with a Winch bull-nose bit. Alternatively, the nose be can routed in two passes with a round-over bit, as long as it has no pilot

The nosing is ait on the regular tauter table. Rip the molding from the wider stock before making this nit. Use a featherboard to press the moldingjirmly against the tahletop; use a springboard to hold it tight to thefencc.

The roundover can also be routed on the horizontal router table, as long as you remove the pilot Itearingfrom the bit. The stem for the bearing should not interfere with the work. The advantage of working with a wide hoard at this stage is obvious: You don't have to worry al*out the stock tipping accidentally, ruining your work.

The roundover can also be routed on the horizontal router table, as long as you remove the pilot Itearingfrom the bit. The stem for the bearing should not interfere with the work. The advantage of working with a wide hoard at this stage is obvious: You don't have to worry al*out the stock tipping accidentally, ruining your work.

protrusion to interfeic with the fillet between the nosing and the ogee shape. A point-cutting round-over bit would work, as would a Paso Roblcs pilot-free round-over bit.

Three-Part Crown

The Salem desk and bookcasc has a substantial crown molding, which is made up of three separate pieces. The top and bottom elements are easily done using the router. The central cove has a large radius, and you will have to cut this element on the table saw.

Begin with the bull-nose molding. The profile is easily cut using two round-over bits. Cut the top edge first, using a lA-inch-radius round-over bit. Then rout the bottom edge with a 5/a-inch-radius bit. Make both cuts on the router table, and guide the stock against a fence as you make the cuts.

This substantial crown molding, found on the Salem desk and bookcasc included in the Lynch plans collection, is made up of three separate pieces plus hidden blocking. The top and bottom elements arc easily done using the router, but the central cove has to be cut on the table saw.

The bead molding at the bottom is cut on the router table with an edge-beading bit that forms a Mb-inch-radius bead. Most such bits have a shoulder on the cutter that will form the fillet below the bead

The nosing is ait on the regular tauter table. Rip the molding from the wider stock before making this nit. Use a featherboard to press the moldingjirmly against the tahletop; use a springboard to hold it tight to thefencc.

The head for the bottom of the crown molding assembly is cut on the edge of a wide board. A Vi ¿-inch-radius edge-beading bit will make the profile in one pass. Rip the profile from the stock, as shown, with the profile to the outside of the saw blade.

It's not much of a leap from furniture moldings to picture-frame stock. Man) pleasing profiles can be produced on the router table, as these one- and two-piece samples demonstrate. At left is a stock formed by cutting two coves, then insetting a hull-nosed strip of contrasting stock. The stock next to it was formed by four passes with the same round-over hit. The center stock was cut with a small panel-raising bit. The cove-and-head profile at right center is combined with a contrasting backhand at tight. What makes these strips picture-frame stock, as opposed to simple trim, is the rabbet cut into the back of each.

The head for the bottom of the crown molding assembly is cut on the edge of a wide board. A Vi ¿-inch-radius edge-beading bit will make the profile in one pass. Rip the profile from the stock, as shown, with the profile to the outside of the saw blade.

Here's the assembly, almost ready for gluing up. The cove profile, produced on the table saw, is supported by a triangular-section filler block and set off by a large hull-nose profile (left) and the tiny bead profile (right).

on the molding. Rather than work with a flimsy strip, cut the profile on the edge of a 2- to 4-inch-widc piece of '/i-inch stock. After routing the profile, rip the molding from the stock.

As noted, the central cove must be cut on the table saw. After the cove molding has been cut. sanded, and beveled as required, a triangular strip must be cut to back the cove and hold it at the proper cant. The three moldings—and the backup strip—can be glued up before the crown is installed.

It's not much of a leap from furniture moldings to picture-frame stock. Man) pleasing profiles can be produced on the router table, as these one- and two-piece samples demonstrate. At left is a stock formed by cutting two coves, then insetting a hull-nosed strip of contrasting stock. The stock next to it was formed by four passes with the same round-over hit. The center stock was cut with a small panel-raising bit. The cove-and-head profile at right center is combined with a contrasting backhand at tight. What makes these strips picture-frame stock, as opposed to simple trim, is the rabbet cut into the back of each.

ARCHITECTURAL MOLDINGS

Those fancy strips of wood that we tack over the cracks are really designed to accent the lines of a structure by creating parallel lines of highlight and shade. The effect is obtained by creating combinations of grooves and bevels to reflect light differently. The variety of moldings available from lumberyards attests to the fact that no one molding will suffice in all applications. But when you start to work with shapes in your own custom projects, you're bound to run into a situation where you just can't find the right shape or size in just the right wood. You gotta make your own.

If it's a question of a standard profile cut into a special wood, check your catalogs. You may be able to buy a cuttcr that will produce exactly what you're looking Tor. But if you're looking for a shape that's out of the ordinary, you'll have to go a little fun her.

1-ook for cutters that will combine to make the profile you want.

Let me warn you up front that this can be ticklish work. It's time-consuming. Make a goof on thefounh pass, and you've wasted the time it took to do the first three.

If you're a timc-is-moncy person, sub out the molding production toa millwork shop that has a sticking machine. Pay for the custom cutters, if that's what the profiles you want require. Chances are. though, that if the shop is a busy one. its invenioty of custom profiles is extensive, and you'll be able to find something suitable. Moreover, the shop will probably get a better price on the trim stock than you can. Each stick will be molded in a single pass, and you won't have the chips and frustrations to cope with.

On the other hand, if you're doing one room, then creating some one-of-a-kind moldings to trim it out is something you can reasonably do at the router table.

Specialty Bits

Nearly every bit manufacturer has a in*'bits specially designed for rout-mgarthitectural moldings. They are worth a look, especially if your project justifies the expense of one or two of these bits. What they do is allow you to rout a profile that's about 1V} inches wide in a single setup. They aren't versatile, like round-overs and core-boxes, and because they arc big bits, the)- tend to be pricey. But if one of them fills meed and saves you a lot of time, it's a worthwhile investment. (See "Sources" on page 337 for the addresses and phone numbers of these manufacturers.)

Astragal cutter: You'll find this bit only in the MLCS catalog, labeled simply "molding bit." It resembles the bull-nose or fingernail bit, and Hkc those bits, it should be used with a table-mounted router. It lacks a pilot, so you need to guide the work along a fence. The two profiles cut are the stereotypical astragals. One form is a full bead, flanked on each side by a cove and fillet—three sizes of this one. The other cuts a flat, flanked on both sides by a quarter-round and fillet. These forms can be cut with round-overs and core-boxes, but if you generate and use a lot of these profiles, one of these bits might be a time-saver.

Cove molding bit: Milling cove moldings on the router table is what this specialty bit does. The bit cuts the cove and bevels the edges. To use the resulting piece as a traditional cove molding, you make two additional bevel cuts on the table saw. Depending upon your specific needs, you might use one of these bits to cut mid-sized coves for assembled moldings. The bit itself resem bles the vertical panel-raiser; the largest is IVs inches in diameter, with a 2Winch cutter height on a nearly 4-inch-long bit. Plan on using a 2-horsepower or better router, though you need not reduce the speed. The fence is essential, since the bit lacks a pilot. Cascade has four sizes, ranging from one that cuts a '/j-inch-radius cove on 1-inch-wide stock, up to a cutter that makes a l7/a-inch cove on 2-inch-wide stock. This cut exceeds that of the largest coves and core-box bits. Eagle America and MLCS stock only diis large bit.

Crown molding bit: Mid-sized crown molding profiles can be routed with one of these bits. The profiles are stock ones, so you probably won't be getting a shape you can't buy from your local lumber dealer. Three different profiles arc available. Cascade, Eagle America, and MLCS all have a 2-inch-high cove-and-ogce covi

crown molding

crown molding covi crown molding crown molding facl molding, facl molding, f«E MOLDING

f«E MOLDING

ASTRAGAL

MULTIFORM

MULTIFORM

profile. Cascade also has bits that cut the same profile in narrower stock. In addition. Cascade has an ogee-with-fillet profile in three sizes—VA inches. 1Y* inches, and 2 inches. The other two vendors have a familiar 2-inch-high cove-and-bead profile. All of these bits look basically like the cove molding cutters discussed above. The biggest of them is 1/h inches in diameter with a 2Winch-high cutter. The same caveats apply: Use a 2-horscpowcr router, mounted in a table, with a fcncc to guide the work. You are addressing a lot of stock with each pass, so take several passes to complete a cut to full depth.

Dish cutter Surprised? This bit. marketed as a tool for hollowing coastcrs, trays, and bowls, is great for cutting recesses of any kind. It is a shallow bit, with radiused comers on the cutting edges. It cuts a smooth, liar-bottomed groove with a radiused transition from bottom to wall. This makes it useful for hollowing out fairly broad flats. It's also useful for cutting a relief into the back of a wide molding. (Stock moldings like baseboard and casing have a relief, which is a shallow recess, in the back surfacc so the molding can bridge mismatches between a wall surface and a door or window jamb.) Dish cutters are usually about VA inches in diameter, with '/2- to Vfe-inch-long cutting edges.

Face molding bit: These bits are designed for routing architectural moldings. Each is a combination of the basic forms—beads, coves, gentle ogees, and so forth. 1 don't know of any way to describe individual bits; you have to look at the bits and the profiles they cut. and see whether any of them meet your needs. Every bit manufacturer seems to have two to four of them in its catalog—they're the same four profiles, too—but Amana, MLCS, and Eagle America seem to have the widest assortments. In the main, these bi:s resemble vertical panel-raisers, in that the profile is laid out vertically on the bit (rather than horizontally, which would necessitate a pn>peller-like configuration). The vertical orientation allows the bit to cut beads, something it couldn't do in the horizontal orientation. Typically, the bits arc an inch in diameter with a cutter height of 1 Vi inches. Most have pilot bearings. The bit should be used in a router table, and the stock guided along a fence with some hold-downs.

Multiform bit: With this one bit. so the hype goes, you can turn out many different molding profiles—40 to 60 of them!—by adjusting the bit height and fence settings, making multiple passes, and altering the angle of attack. While 1 expect this is true. 1 know it underplays the patience ar.d ingenuity necessary to use this bit productively. All of the catalogs display a few of the "almost unlimited possibilities," and it always seems they're heavy, steep, and extraordinarily busy. The multiform bits are all fairly large, ranging up to 2 inches in diameter. Some versions have a pilot bearing, others don't. All should be used exclusively in router tables, with 2- (or more) horsepower routers. The larger-diameter bits should be run at reduced speed. I personally would invest the $35 to $70 each that these bits cost in some basic profile bits—round-overs, core-boxes, ogees and Roman ogees, beading, or bull-noses. By adjusting the bit height and fence settings, making multiple passes, and altering the angle of attack, you can produce a lot of different profiles with these basic bits.

Built-Up Moldings

A common practice is to stack of build up separate moldings into a wide or heavy profile. This is what we did to create the three-pan crown molding shown on page 131.

To make a crown molding for a room, you might shape the edges of two boards, then assemble them into an L-shape. Next you make another strip or two that will fill in the Lwith complementary shapes. These strips are usually relatively narrow, so a single pass over the router general!)' is all that's needed.

Let's look at a couple of specific examples of built-up moldings and see how they arc made and used. In each example, one or two of the elements are stock moldings.

Casing with a backhand: To make dm trim, we Mailed with standard 'Mfr-inch by 2l/2-inch sanitaty casing. This casing has one edge rounded-over on about a Winch radius, but it's otherwise totally unembel-I is bed. It does have the relief on the back for bridging irregularities between wall surfaces and jamb edges.

The first cut is made with a face molding bit that produces a l/> inch-wide band with a cove and a full bead. MLCS lists this bit as item #862. but it is available from other sources as well. This bit should be used in cither the regular or the horizontal router table, depending

*VDU

*VDU

CASING WITH BACKBAND PROFILE

upon your prcfcrcnce. Jack up the bit so the bead is positioned about Y* inch to a full Vi inch from the raiuscd edge of the casing. (The cut will leave a ridge at the edge of the rasing; this will he removed in the next step.) The full profile requires

iAthefy simple to produce with a labie-mounted router, this back-banded casing is a handsome step ft*cy from the casing typically stocked tthome centers. Other options are to use the casing without the backhand crouse the backhand on a stock tasmg.
To rut the cove, you have to attach a ihim to the router tahletop for the wit to slide on; otherwise the work ftiflbr unsteady. Cut a strip to hold tkchorlt square and attach it to the uhetop with carpet tape.

a heavy cut, so you should achieve it in increments. On the regular router table, this means adjusting the fence location between passes. On the horizontal table, it means raising the router mounting board herween passes.

After the main profile is cut, rout the cove on the edge. It has a '/«-inch radius. Use either a cove bit or a core-box bit. This element is now completed.

Make the backhand next. Mill a length of Vfc-inch by 1 Ma-inch stock for each piece of casing you've prepared. Rout a %-inch-diametcr nose on each piece, using cither a V»-inch bull-nose bit or a Mo-inch-radius round-over bit. Then cut a Mc-inch by 'Mfinch rabbet in each backhand.

You can glue the backhand to the fusing, but it is just us eusy to nail it in place when you install the trim.

Baseboard with cap and shoe:

The baseboard used in this assemblage is a stock molding. 314-inch sanitary base. Like the sanitary casing used in the preceding molding project, this is 'Kfinch-thick stock with one radiused edge and no other embellishment. It docs have a relief area on the back. This trim is used as is.

The cap is routed from V+-inch stock in several steps. First use the face molding bit with the profile shown in Baselward with Cap and Shoe. (It's Ml.CS's #865. but the profile is available from other sources as well.) Rout this profile on the edge of a 3-inch-wide piece of stock. (If you need several lengths, you can rout the profile on both edges of this piece.)

Switch to a straight bit, and rout a rabbet along the top edge of the

In so many contemporary /tomes, the basebtutrd is a wimpy strip of w ood. Here, a typical base has been topped with a one-of-kind cap and set off with a shoe molding along the floor.

profile, as shown in the draw.ng. This should remove the full bead the previous operation formed.

Switch to a '/¿-inch-diameter core-box bit. and rout the cove along the top edge of the cap molding. This can be a dicey cut, since the work-piece is very thin. If the grain isn't straight, the cut may trash the edge. The best approach is to set the bit to the final height, but adjust the fence so the bit barely nicks the edge. Make about three passes, adjusting the fence for each.

Finish the cap by ripping ii to width, cutting just below the fillet.

PORTION OF INITIAL PROFILE 15 REMOVED IN SECOND AND THIRD STEPS.

swot

BASEBOARD WITH CAP AND SHOE

Routing architectural molding requires you to work some very long pieces. My setup for routing the cap included four fingerboards and a roller stand to sup-port the stock on the outfeed side. To get a smwth finish, you want to keep the stock mov ing as steadily as jtossi-hle, which is tough to do when routing a 10-or 12-foot strip by yourself. So after making a couple of passes to rough out the maiding, I enlisted help to complete the final pass. You and the helper can alternate pushing and pulling to keep the stock moving.

The shoe is a basic covc-and-bead cut on Winch stock. Cut the cove first, using a '/¡-inch-diameier cove or core-box bit. Then cut the roundovcr using a Winch round-over bit. It goes best if you use a bit with no pilot. Again, make these cuts on a piece that's at least mice as wide as the finished shoe. You can cut two profiles on one piece, then rip it in half, separating them. If you do this, cut one profile into each face so it remains stable when you rout.

Install the baseboard, then the cap. then the shoe.

Solid, One-Piece Moldings

What if you don't want to use a bunch of strips? Your project deserves a solid molding that's all one piece with no glue line and no mismatched grain. Now you'll have to make a single molding with multiple passes over the router. This doesn't look

The setup for rabbeting away the bead formed as part of the first cut demonstrates one of the reasons for routing the base cap on a fairly wide piece of wood. You 71 hove a flat surface to reference against the router tablctop after the initial pro-pie cut is made. And by alternating the side on which you rout,you can get two caps from one workpiece without sacrificing the flat reference section of cither face. To get the feather board's pressure on the right spot, as here, it may be necessaiy to insert a spacer between the feather-board and the fence or router mounting hoard.

too difficult in theory. The tricky part comes when you realize that the shape you wanted to put in the middle would require you to extend the router bit 2 inches out of the collet. No can do. So how do you get to the middle of the board?

The trick is to stick with simple shapes out in the middle of the board. Use shapes that you can get with your unpiloted or grooving cutters. Core-box or roundnose cutters are good; dish cutters with round edges and fiat bottoms are excellent. To produce beads or ribs, you'll have to make two passes with an unpiloted ogee or round-over. And you'll have to think, as you set up each cut. about how the board is to be supported during the cut.

You can accomplish molding work with a hand-held router, but you'll have a struggle. It's much easier to use the router in a router table, where you can use special runners to support the stock and keep it securely in place with fcatherboards. And that's critical! A tiny bit of unplanned movement can ruin a piece of molding that already has several passes complete. Or at least make you work a lot to sand out the goof.

Let's rout a hypothetical molding. This will give you a specific example of what can be accomplished that may serve to launch you in your own directions. (Hcv. good luck!)

Fancy door casing: Suppose 1 want to trim out an entrance door in a special way. What I have in mind is fairly classical—there's that word! —with references to fluted columns. The casing will have two large full beads, a couple of grooves fomicd in routing the beads, and four flutes (sec Fancy Door Casing).

I'm going to start with 1-inch-thick stock, because the total relief is going to be pretty dramatic. Plane or joint about to Vfc inch from a piece of 5/4 stock. Rip i( to 5 inchcs wide. Because the ends tend to get messed up and because I need some clamping space. I'll wait to actually trim the casing until after it is shaped.

I'm going to cut the full beads first. Though I usual ly like to work with the stock flat on the horizontal router tabletop, I'm going to use the regular router tabic for these cuts. I fit the Winch bull-nose bit in the table, set the bit height of the bit and the fence, and make a test cut. I «•ant the full bead—no flat spots— without taking off too much stock. I set up a couple of featherboards and a roller stand on the outfeed side. Then I make the cuts, one along each edge.

It's elaborate, to be sure, but this casing beats ranch or colonial trim for looks, to my mind. The columnlikc casing rises from a plinth block and ends at a capital.

Cutting beads, incidentally, forms the two flat-bottomed grooves that arc part of the profile.

I plow the flutes next, using a />inch corc-box bit in a plunge router. I do this as a hand-held operation simply because it's easier to guide the router over the work than the work over the router table. The (lutes need to be 9At> inch deep. With the plunge router, 1 can use the depth turret to preset my final depth, then eyeball the depth on two or three intermediate passes.

The first cuts are the two inside flutes. One edge-guide setting will suffice for both cuts, since I reference one edge of the molding for the first flute, the other edge for the second. After cutting the first two, I reset the edge guide and rout the third and fourth flutes.

Finally. 1 need to plane away the

The more pieces of molding you do, the more likely you are to lose concentration and make a miscuL And if you run longer pieces, you'll find them harder to support as you feed. Here are a few suggestions for more consistent work.

Don't try to hold a long, flexible strip down on the tabletop and firmly against the cutter while the end is swaying back and forth in space. Support the ends of your work. Auxiliary tables or even roller stands can make your life a lot easier.

You can also use all the help you can get in holding your work against the table and cutter. You can easily make a variety of hold-downs; see the chapter "Router Table Accessories" for plans. Most of these hold-downs can be used to help guide your stock for mold-ing work. In most situations, however, you'll find that the best setup is to use two featherboards: one holding the work into the fence, and one on the fence holding down. The greatest thingabout featherboards is that if you set them steep enough, they're pretty effective at stopping kickback.

The feed rate is important. If you feed the stock too fast, the cut will be rippled. And each time you stop the feed—to reposition your hands—the bit will burnish a spot on the molding. Some of these defec ts don't show up unless the light hits them just right (meaning the light that hits them right after you've installed the molding). With a short piece, you can usually feed the stock with one continuous movement. With a long piece, get a helper. As you reach the end of your range, the helper can begin lo pull the stock, keeping it moving slowly while you reposition yourself for the next push.

The full beads along each edge of the casing are cut with a y*-inch bull nose bit. I set up a couple of featherboards to guide and control the stock, Because the stock is 7 to 8 feet long, the big danger is inadvertently rocking the stock—pushing down or lifting up the unsupported ends—as you feed it. Infccd and outfeed roller stands can help prevent this.

Plow the flutes with a hand-held router with an edge guide. I clamped the molding to my router bench—it's too long to be dogged. Note that both clamps are at one end. Though they are close together, they keep the stock from pivoting. I don't have to fuss with them. The piece is long etiough that I can leave that section unrouted and trim it off.

The area between the beads has to be milled with a light touch. It figures, doesn't it? The most problematic cut in the process is the last one. The bit that worked the best of the sev eral I tried is this bottom-cleaning bit from MLCS. The cutting edges run across the bottom of the bit. Note that the back of the casing has already been relieved slightly.

stock between the beads. The hazard here is tear-out along the edges of the flutes. 1 try several bits on a sample, and setdc on a large-diameter bottom-cleaning bit. Make very shallow cuts. To mill the entire surfacc, 1 need three different fence positions. Set the fencc to position the first cut as close as possible to the bead. Make a pass with one edge against the fencc, then turn the workpiece around and make a pass with the other edge against the fencc. Then shift the fence and repeat. After the entire area is milled at one depth setting, raise the bit a little and repeat the process. (At the first setting, mill a relief in the back of the molding.) I'll be judgmental about how deep 1 rout.

When this operation is completed, the casing merely has to be sanded, trimmed, and installed.

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Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

There are a lot of things that either needs to be repaired, or put together when youre a homeowner. If youre a new homeowner, and have just gotten out of apartment style living, you might want to take this list with you to the hardware store. From remolding jobs to putting together furniture you can use these 5 power tools to get your stuff together. Dont forget too that youll need a few extra tools for other jobs around the house.

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