Carbide Saw Blades

u is oday. carbide blades have all but replaced steel blades in the shops of most woodworkers. We've discovered lor ourselves what saw-blade manufacturers have been telling us all along—carbide blades last 10 to 50 times longer than steel blades. In recent years, the story has become even brighter: manufacturers have been offering an increasingly wider variet> of blade styles and price ranges. Thanks to technical advancements, and stiff competition in the marketplace, you can actually get more blade for your money today than ever before —a typical blade costs up to 30rr less than the price of an equivalent blade 10 years ago.

All this good news is welcome, but \ selecting the best blade for your \

needs, and making sure you get what you pay for is not easv. When I began the research

How to Pick a Quality Blade That's a Cut Above the Rest

JIM BARRETT

JIM BARRETT

There's a carbide blade for every type of cutting you want to do.

for this article, I soon realized that conducting a valid test on every blade available from every manufacturer would be a monumental task.

Instead. I tried a dozen or so representative blades from several major manufacturers, questioned their technical representatives, and added my own experience from a user's point of view. I found that you need to know only two things when buying carbide blades — which blade design will best suit vour individual m cutting needs, and how to spot a quality blade. Then, look in your wallet, and take it from there. Before talking about quality and price, let's look at the different kinds of blades and how they're made.

Blade Types for Different Jobs

Blades are designed for specific purposes according to the shape and geometry of the teeth. There are four basic tooth shapes, or grinds, shown in the photos and drawings of Fig. I. These are flat top (FT), alternate top bevel (ATB), alternate top bevel with raker (ATB&R), and triple chip (TCG). Each grind was developed to make a particular kind of cut. The manufacturers also modify the teeth for specific jobs by al tering the relief angles (hook, top relief, side relief, bevel angles) and the number of teeth on a blade. (See Fig. 2.)

Occasionally, you'll see an unconventional tooth design, such as a hollow, hooked, or V-shaped face or top grind, but for the most part manufacturers stick with the tooth grinds listed above, making minor refinements now and again to improve performance.

Flat-top grinds are found on 10- to 30-toolh rip blades, designed for fast, heavy-duty ripping of hardwoods and softwoods. The teeth are set into the plate at an aggressive 20° to 25° hook angle and separated by large gullets for fast chip removal. Flat-top blades cut with a chisel-like action, making them suitable for ripping only with the grain. On some blades. Hat-top teeth are placed between other types of teeth, to act as "rakers" to clean out the chips. (See ATB&R below.)

Alternate top bevel teeth cut with a slicing or shearing action, like a knife; the steeper the bevel angle, the sharper and more fragile the tooth. Mild bevel angles (5° to 10c) are used in general purpose crosscut and combination blades. They won't crosscut as cleanly as teeth with higher bevels, but they stay sharp longer and are more stable in the cut. A bevel angle of 15° to

FIG. 1: CARBIDE-TOOTH GRINDS

FLATTOP GRIND (FTG).

For fast, heavy-duty ripping.

ALTERNATE TOP BEVEL (ATB).

Cuts with a shearing action, producing a smooth cut across the grain.

EDGE VIEW OF BLADE

ALTERNATE TOP BEVEL (ATB).

Cuts with a shearing action, producing a smooth cut across the grain.

FROWT VIEW OF TOOTH

KERF SHAPE

20° produces nearly splinter-free crosscuts in wood and plywood. Teeth with extremely steep bevel angles (30° to 40°) are used on specialty blades to eliminate bottom tear-out in fragile veneers and thin, double-sided laminates, such as melamine-coated fiberboard. One such blade is SysteMatic's "LV" (laminate and veneer) blade shown in the photo on page 24.

Alternate top bevel & raker blades come in several configurations. One type, called a 2 and 1 blade, has two alternating bevel teeth followed by a flat-top raker tooth to speed chip removal. A more popular-design is the 4 and 1 "combination" or "planer-combo" blade with "sets" of lour ATB teeth and one raker tooth, separated by a deep gullet. (10-in. blades typically have ten sets, or 50 teeth.) These combination blades come the closest to a "do-it-all" blade, making reasonably smooth, fast rips, crosscuts and miters in wood, plywood, and composition materials. Bear in mind that these combination blades are a compromise—they won't provide nearly as good a cut as a blade designed for a specific purpose.

A triple-chip grind consists of a chamfered tooth, which chips out the center of the kerf, followed by a flat-top raker to clean out both sides. A triple-chip blade is the most versatile when it comes to cutting a wide variety of materials: wood, plywood, particle-board, laminates, plastics, non-ferrous metals, and other man-made materials, such as Corian. These blades won't dull as quickly as ATB blades in hard, abrasive materials. Triple-chip blades aren't a good choice for crosscutting wood because they tend to splinter the bottom side ot the cut.

These four tooth grinds cover the vast majority of blades on the market. The angles of a tooth's face and sides also affect how it performs.

Relief angles are cut into the tooth geometry to provide clearance for the teeth in the cut. (See Fig. 2.) The hook or rake angle of a carbide tooth is determined by the angle it is set into the plate. The higher the hook angle, the faster, and rougher the blade cuts. Blades with lower hook angles cut smoother but require more feed pressure. Kip blades have an aggressive 20° hook angle. Combination blades (ATB&R), and general purpose ATB and TCG blades generally have a 15° hook; crosscut and trim blades a 10° hook.

The side relief (radial) angle is the bevel on the sides ot the carbide teeth from top to bottom to prevent the sides from rubbing in the cut. On most blades the

Most versatile tooth grind for a wide variety of wood and wood composition products, non-ferrous metals, and plastics.

RAKER TOOTH

TRIPLE CHIP GRIND (TCG).

Most versatile tooth grind for a wide variety of wood and wood composition products, non-ferrous metals, and plastics.

ALTERNATE TOP BEVEL WITH RAKER (ATB&R).

The best general purpose, or "combination" blade.

RAKER TOOTH

ARBOR HOLE

HOOK ANGLE IRAKE)

Higher angles (15 to 20 J cut faster, rougher.

PLATE

Lower angles (0 to 10 ) cut slower, smoother.

Low or negative angles prevent climbing —good for radial arm saws.

EXPANSION SLOT Prevents warping due to overheating.

TOP RELIEF

High angle produces sharp tooth for minimum chipping and edge tear-out but dulls quickly.

SIDE RELIEF

Minimum clearance produces 1 ultra-smooth side cuts, but takes fewer sharpenings.

TOOTH HEIGHT-

Above shoulder determines number of top sharpenings. Longer teeth are more brittle, risk breakage.

SHOULDER

FIG. 2: ANATOMY § OF A CARBIDE BLADE

Clearance here determines number of face sharpenings.

TOP BEVEL (on ATB blades) Steep angle provides sharp, fragile tooth, minimizes tear out on cut edges.

BRAZE

GULLET

Manufacturers are always coming up with modifications to basic tooth grinds, such as this new "LV," ATB blade from SysteMatic. The high (30 J top-bevel angle is modified with a "dubbed hook" —the backward slant at the tip of the tooth —which eliminates chipping and tear-out on thin-veneer plywood and plastic laminate.

angle provides a clearance ol about .010 in., give or take a few thousandths. Exceptions are ATB finish blades, such as Freud's LU85M, in which the side clearance is reduced to .001 or less. This minimum side clearance, combined with minimum clearance between the tooth sides and the plate, produces a nearly scratch-free side cut.

Other clearance angles are built into the tops and sides of the tooth to provide clearance in the cut. The top-relief, or top-clearance angle (front to back) ol a tooth enables the cutting edge of the tooth to penetrate the wood. Most blades have a standard top angle of 10° to 15c. Likewise, the sides of the teeth are beveled front to back (tangential-relief angle) for the same reason.

Generally, the more teeth a blade has. the smoother it cuts. More teeth reduce the chip load on each tooth, so each takes a smaller bite, reducing chip-out. But more isn't always better. Most manufacturers suggest buying a blade with the fewest number of teeth to do the job at hand. The more teeth a blade has. the hotter it runs, the more feed pressure is required, and the more chips are produced, which can cause excess friction and shorter tooth life. This is why wood burns if you feed it too slowly through the saw. If quality of cut is more important than blade life, choose a toothier blade, and vice versa.

What to Look for in a Quality Blade

There's a wide range in the quality and cost of carbide saw blades available todav. Later. I'll talk about w three basic levels of quality and w hat prices to expect.

To pick the right blade within your budget, you'll first need to learn some of the materials and processes that go into producing a quality blade. I'll also give some tips for spotting signs of quality by inspecting the blade itself. Armed with this information, you can read the specifications in catalogs, and ask the right questions at retail stores. A 10 x hand magnifying lens is great for getting a closcup look at blade details such as teeth brazing and the arbor hole.

The saw plate, or body is just as important as the carbide teeth for good cutting performance. The three factors to look for in a quality plate are hardness, tensioning. and flatness. The plate profile is cut out by stamping or laser cutting, then tempered to a specified hardness. A harder plate resists warping, bending, or buckling. A Rockwell hardness of 42Rc to 44Rc is an acceptable standard for high-quality blades.

Next, the plate is flattened by machine, then ground to final thickness and runout (wobble) tolerence. Hardness and flatness are more important than thickness. Blades with thicker plates tend to distort less but also require more power to run. Premium blades are finely ground, showing smooth, even, concentric grind marks from the arbor hole to the rim. Many "consumer" blades are painted, varnished, or sanded to hide grinding defects (or no grinding at all). On all but the cheapest 10-in. blades, manufacturers adhere to a maximum run-out tolerance of .0005 in. or less.

Tensioning involves relieving stresses in the plate so that it will expand and contract evenly during use, minimizing distortion. Some cheaper blades may not be tensioned at all. though most blades are at least roll-tensioned by machine. On better blades, the roll-tensioned plate is further inspected and "fine-tuned" by hammer tensioning.

On cheap blades, the arbor hole is stamped out (usually slightly oversize), and given no further treatment. On better blades, the arbor is stamped slightly undersize, then precision-reamed or ground to finer tolerances. If the hole has been stamped, one side will be bent inwards, the opposite side rough or burred. Grinding or reaming produces a more uniform hole, but this can be done hastily, resulting in burrs, scratches, or voids. An arbor hole with sharp, crisp edges and smooth sides is more likely to be perfectly round, centered, and fit snuglv over the saw arbor.

Most blades 9 in. or larger in diameter have three or four .040-in. wide expansion slots ground into the plate to allow for even blade expansion during use. (See Fig. 2.) The slots usually terminate with a hole to prevent cracking. On some better-quality blades, the hole is plugged with a copper rivet to reduce blade noise. Laser-cut slots are a more recent innovation; some end in a fish-hook or anchor shape, rather than a hole.

The traditional carbide formula used for the sawteeth is fine-grained tungsten carbide particles mixed with a cobalt binder. The two powders are molded under heat and pressure into the solid shape of the saw-tooth blanks, which are brazed to the plate and ground to the desired tooth profile. Varying the proportions of the two materials determines carbide hardness, ranging from C-l (soft and resilient) to C-4 (hard and brittle). Better carbide is not necessarily harder, but the carbide particles are finer, and the mixture more uniform in densitv, and less likel\ to

A closcup look at teeth reveals differences between a low-end blade (left), and a mid-range blade (right) from the same company. Note the scratched paint and pitted teeth on the low-end blade.

THIN-KERF BLADES

hin-kerf blades have been around for years, but recently more saw-blade companies have been getting into the thin-kerf market, offering a wider variety of blade styles. Why choose a thin-kerf blade over a conventional-width blade? Manufacturers push the fact that these blades save material, which is true to a small degree. Most conventional-thickness blades cut a kerf about '/»to Via in. wide; thin-kerf blades cut a kerf about half that width. But saving 1 /»«. in. to Vk in. of material on each cut is hardly a valid reason for buying a thin-kerf blade, unless you're making multiple cuts on an exotic hardwood or expensive veneered plywood. The photo shows the differences in width between a conventional blade and a thin-kerf blade. The main reason for buying thin kerf-blades is that they perform much better than conventional-width blades on a low-powered saw (1'/: HP or less). Because they remove less material, they require less power, and less feed pressure.

Because thin-kerf blades have thinner plates, they tend to deflect when used for cutting thick materials or at fast feed rates, which can result in a warped blade. Also, the teeth are smaller and will take fewer sharpcnings. When shopping for thin-kerf blades, the qualities discussed in choosing a good blade are even more critical.

Thin-rim plywood and planer blades are a compromise between thin-kerf and conventional blades. Only the outer portion of the plate (near the perimeter) is ground thin, with the remainder of the plate (near the arbor hole) at conventional thickness to resist deflection. These blades are ground on one or both sides and fitted with narrow teeth to provide a thin kerf. Plates ground on both sides are usually more expensive (due to an extra manufacturing step to grind the second side) but tend to be more stable and balanced in the cut. On both thin-rim designs, the depth-of-cut is limited to the depth of the thin portion of the rim.— J.B.

Most conventional blades cut a kerf about Va-in. wide. A thin-kerf blade makes a kerf only about half that wide.

Most conventional blades cut a kerf about Va-in. wide. A thin-kerf blade makes a kerf only about half that wide.

fracture or chip. Lower-quality carbide mixtures often contain voids, which show up as pits, fractures, or chipped edges on the ground teeth. You can sometimes spot these defects with a hand lens.

Hard C4 carbides are used for cutting brittle or abrasive materials, such as particleboard and high-pressure plastic laminates; softer C2 or C3 carbides for cutting wood. Because harder carbides are more brittle, you need to take extra care in handling the blades to avoid chipping the teeth (compared to steel blades, all carbide teeth are brittle and will chip or break if mishandled).

Two manufacturers have recently come up with "new-generation" carbide formulas, which they claim will last up to ten times longer than high-grade conventional carbide formulas. One is "Dvanite," a proprietary formula used in DML's Golden Eagle line; the other is a new formula from Freud, dubbed "HOOK." According to Leroy Bell at DML, Dyanite includes additives that break down the tungsten carbide particles to produce an extremely dense, fine-grained carbide mixture. Jim Brewer at Freud explained that the HOOK formula includes elements that make the carbide highly resistant to wood acids and other chemically abrasive materials. Brewer notes that in conventional carbide formulas, wood acids and heat can actually do more damage to carbide than physical abrasion. Dvanite, also, is claimed to be less vulner-

w able to wood acidity and heat buildup. The Dyanite and HOOK blades I tried ranked among the best in terms of cutting performance and overall quality, but it will be several years before I'll know just how much longer the teeth will last. (As an aside, you can extend the life of any carbide blade by keeping it clean-removing the acid-laden gummy deposits with kerosene or oven cleaner.)

Manufacturers braze the tooth blanks into pockets cut in the saw plate. Quality control really counts here. Check the blade for smooth, uniform brazes on each tooth. Poor brazing often shows tiny bubbles or pock marks. On some blades, the brazes are often ground smooth or sanded for cosmetic purposes. On cheaper blades, the brazes (and plate) may be covered with a coat of spray paint to hide blemishes.

After brazing, the teeth are ground and sharpened on diamond abrasive wheels. On more expensive blades, the top and face surfaces of the teeth are wet-ground with finer-grit wheels to produce an extremely sharp cutting edge and smooth faces. The sides of the teeth are usually ground with a coarser grit. On cheaper blades, only the top and face surfaces of the teeth are ground, usually with a coarser grit wheel, and the sides not ground at all. You can examine the teeth's cutting edges under magnification for coarse grind marks and rough or chipped edges. A dull grey, slightly granular appearance indicates that the surface wasn't ground at all.

The more expensive blades generally have larger carbide tips, so they'll take more sharpenings, but there's a trade-off. Blades with bigger teeth require more motor power, and more feed pressure, which can tire the operator. When feeding by hand, such blades may actually cut faster and smoother after several good sharpenings. as do thin kerf blades with their narrow teeth. Also, longer teeth are more prone to breakage, but the teeth must have enough material to take more than one or two sharpenings.

Quality and Price

Now that you understand the different types of blades and how they're made, let's look at how blades are categorized in the marketplace. I found that carbide blades fall into three general price categories, which I arbitrarily call low end, mid-priced and high end. Within the industry, low-end blades are sometimes referred to as "economy," "consumer," "DIY" or "throwaway" blades, although you won't see these terms used in catalogs or on saw-blade packages. Mid-priced blades are often labeled "professional." "contractor." or "semi-industrial" blades, and the high-end blades "industrial" or "premium." Such terms aren't used consistently from one saw company to the next, so they're only good as a general guideline.

Price is a better indication of quality. Generally, list prices for "low-end" blades run between $30 to $40 for a 10-in. blade; "mid-priced" blades, $50 to $90, and "high-end" blades, $100 to $200 and up. (Typically, the more teeth a blade has, the more expensive it is, within any given line.)

Low-end saw blades are designed lor the weekend warrior interested in a low-cost blade that will outlast steel blades, but isn't picky about the quality of cut. I wouldn't equip my tablcsaw with one of these blades. But. I regularly use the smaller-diameter versions in my portable circular saw for framing and rough cutoff work, because it gives a lot more cut for the buck over steel blades.

In my opinion, the mid-priced professional blades, represent the best buy for serious home woodworkers and small cabinet shops. These include the Black & Decker "industrial" line (made by Wisconsin Knife Works), the Delta carbide blade line, DML D-series blades, Forrest's Woodworker I and II blades, Freud's LU series, and "stock" blade lines from General Saw Corp. and Systi.Matic. This is the broadest category in price and quality, and also tends to have the most new offerings and competitive pricing. Blades at the high end of the category ($80 to $90) approach industrial quality in performance and durability.

The high-end, or industrial, category is mainly custom blades made for high-horsepower, specialized industrial machines. These blades are designed for long life in continuous-use and power-feed applications. Most home woodworkers and small shop owners won't notice any significant difference in cut quality between these high-end blades and the better mid-priced blades on an average 10-in. tablcsaw.

It pays to shop around for the best price on carbide saw blades. Manufacturers, mail-order houses, and retail outlets often run promotional specials, or offer discounts on entire lines —especially in the mid-priced blade category, which is where you generally get the best cut for your money, anyway.

Putting it all together. When choosing a blade, consider the type and number of projects you do (aie you running your saw every day or just on weekends), what types of saws you own, and what types of operations you perform on each saw. I'm a general woodworker, who relys on my tablcsaw to rip. crosscut, and miter most anything: softwood lumber, fine hardwoods, plywood, particleboard, and, occasionally, plastic laminates. That's why I keep a 50-tooth ATB&R "combination" blade on "it 90 9c of the time.

Although I own a dozen or so different kinds of blades, I find myself using the following blades most

SOURCES

BLACK & DECKER GENERAL SAW CORP. 10 North Park Dr. 20 Wood Ave.

P.O. Box 798 Secaucus, NJ 07094

Hunt Vallev.MD 21030

GREENLEE; DELTA INTERNATIONAL FOREST CITY MACHINERY CORP. 4455 Boeing Dr. 246 Alpha Dr. Rockford, IL 61109

Pittsburgh. PA 15238

LIETZ TOOLING DML, INC. SYSTEMS. INC.

(Vermont-American) U.S. N. 31 Hwv. 1350 S. 15th St. Charlevoix. Mi 49720

Louisville, KY 40210

STATE SAW & EVERLAST SAW & MACHINERY CO. CARBIDE TOOLS, INC. (formerly Winchester 1404 Utica Ave. Carbide Saw Inc.)

Brooklvn, NY 11203 2633 Papermill Rd.

Winchester, VA 22601

FORREST MFG. CO. INC.

461 River Rd. SYSTEMATIC COMPANY

Clifton, NJ 07014 12530 135th Ave. N.E.

Kirkland, WA 98034

FREUD USA, INC.

High Point, NC 27264 Burt. NY 14028

often: a 24-tooth FT rip blade (heavy ripping when speed is more important than a smooth cut), an 80-tooth ATB cutoff blade (for smooth, chip-free crosscuts in cabinet-grade hardwoods and plywoods) and a 60 tooth TCG (10° hook) blade for nearly chip-free cuts in particleboard, tempered hardboard, and plastic-laminated materials. The TCG blade also makes a respectable trim blade when cutting with the grain, and can also be used for glue-joint rips if you keep a fairly fast feed rate.

A 50-tooth ATB&R blade should be the first in your collection. Then, you can add others as needed to get quality cuts in different materials. If you build cabinets for a living, I'd recommend a combination plywood blade (8 ATB teeth plus one raker per set), which makes smoother cuts in these materials.

And remember, the blade is only half the story—the saw powering the blade is just as important. It doesn't make good sense to put an expensive blade on a cheap saw. I suggest you confine your shopping to blades in the $50 to $90 price range for conventional woodworking machines (10-in. tablcsaw, radial arm saw, power miter saw). A

Jim Bane it is a free-lance writer specializing in woodworking tools, and finishes. He collects antique tools and is restoring his Victorian home hi Pacific Grow, California. He wrote about doweling jigs in the July!August, 1988 AW. and honing guides in the July!August, 1989 AW.

Laminated Cutting

Hard Rock Maple With Ebony Trimmings

BY DAVID SLOAN

his maple cutting board is a simple project you can easily knock off in a weekend. It's pretty enough to show off for company and rock-solid functional for some serious, heavy-duty slicing or chopping. 1 designed it with a slot to hold a special slicing knife, but you could make a board without a knife slot in even less time.

The cutting board starts as 8/4 hard maple. If you don't have 8/4 maple, then 6/4 will do. The nice thing about this kind of woodworking is that dimensions aren't all that important. You can design as you go.

Even if you have a maple plank wide enough to make

FIG. 1: LAMINATED CUTTING BOARD

Glue ebony strips Into Vu-in. deep dovetail grooves.

FIG. 1: LAMINATED CUTTING BOARD

Glue ebony strips Into Vu-in. deep dovetail grooves.

Orient end grain so growth rings are vertical.

Cut inlay groove before gluing on last piece of maple.

Direction of wood movement.

Direction of wood movement.

Cut knife groove before gluing piece to cutting board.

Orient end grain so growth rings are vertical.

Cut inlay groove before gluing on last piece of maple.

s the cutting board in one piece, . I suggest gluing up the cutting board from several pieces for three reasons: to minimize war page, to minimize wood movement across the width of the cutting board, and to provide vertical grain on the top of the cutting board just for looks.

Crosscut your maple plank to length, then rip your maple into pieces that are roughly square in cross section. You'll need enough pieces to glue up the width of the cutting board. Square up two adjacent sides of each piece on the jointer or a hand plane, then square up the opposite sides bv running the pieces through the thickness planer. If you don't have a planer, square up the sides on the tablesaw with a fine-tooth blade.

Orient the pieces so the growth rings on the end grain run vertically (see drawing), and you're ready for glueup. Because the cutting board will get wet, I glued up the pieces with epoxv. Epoxy is slippery, so make sure the pieces don't shift when you put on the clamps. If you're making a knife slot, don't glue on the last piece just yet.

While the glue is drying, prepare your dovetail inlay strips. I had some ebony lying around, so that's what I used. On the router table, cut a groove in a

"l A...

piece of scrap with a Vs-in. dovetail bit (available from Garrett Wade, 161 Ave. of the Americas, New York. NY 10013. 800-221-2942). Use this groove to test fit your inlay strips. Rip the inlay strips slightly oversize, and dovetail the strips with the dovetail router bit on the router table. Getting the right fit is a trial and error process, and expect to ruin a few strips. Because the strips are so narrow, 1 suggest using hold-downs to keep the strips against the router table and fence.

After you've squared up the sides, ends and faces of the cutting board, you're ready to cut the inlay groove with the V«-in. dovetail bit on the router table. On the side where the knife will go, rout a dovetail groove a little longer than the handle of your knife. Leave your router table set up as is. You'll come back to it in a minute. Glue in a piece of inlay strip, then trim and sand the surface smooth.

Cut the knife slot in the last piece of maple by making a stop cut on the lablesaw. and glue it onto the side of the cutting board. Square up the last piece to the rest of the block.

Rout the inlay groove all around, and glue in the inlay strips. As long as you've oriented the end grain of the maple pieces vertically, you don't need to worry about cross-grain construction, because most wood movement will occur across the thickness of the cutting board, parallel to the growth rings. (See drawing.)

The last bit of work is to nip off the corners of the cutting board at 45° on the tablcsaw. I screwed a 45e fence to my sliding crosscut table and made the cut with an 80-tooth cutoff blade. After some sanding, apply a coat of mineral oil if you like, or leave the cutting board unfinished. A

David Sloan is Editor of AMERICAN WOODWORKER.

Repeat moldings are repetitive patterns carved into moldings on frames, furniture, and buildings. This picture frame has a berry pattern carved on the outside of the frame and a "lamb's tongue" pattern around the inside edge.

Repetitive Cuts Are Secret to Success

BY BEN BACON

cpcat moldings arc prob-ablv the most common kind of carving —they're used everywhere around us as em-bellishment 011 picture frames, furniture, and architectural moldings. These carved patterns transform smooth moldings into a richly detailed surface that gives life to any room or piece of furniture. The variety of patterns is immense and covers all styles and periods, from flowing acanthus leaves to classically elegant honeysuckle. Whatever the pattern, there's something thrilling about the fineness and regularity of repeat moldings. In this article. I'll demonstrate the steps that are used in carving two simple, universal patterns —a "lambs tongue" and a berry. Once you understand the procedure for carving these two patterns. it should be easy to apply the steps to any of the thousands and thousands of repeat-molding patterns that exist.

They're called repeat moldings because they do just that —repeat themselves. If you look closely at carved moldings, you'll notice that most patterns will repeat themselves over and over again. This makes carving repeat moldings quite different from caning something like a ball-and-claw loot, or a drawer shell, where there is little or no repetition, and where slight variations will probably be unnoticeable. Repeat moldings need to be uniform, precisely spaced, and regular. This isn't as tricky as it sounds. There are aids and methods of working that make the process much easier.

Repeat-molding patterns are carved on lengths of shaped moldings, and each traditional molding profile (ogee, astragal, etc.) has its own traditional patterns. However you make your moldings—with a shaper.

Repeat moldings are repetitive patterns carved into moldings on frames, furniture, and buildings. This picture frame has a berry pattern carved on the outside of the frame and a "lamb's tongue" pattern around the inside edge.

Mark out a half berry at either end of the molding, and divide the space between into groups of three berries. Then, go back and mark the center of each individual berry.

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment