Figa Crown Molding Profiles

Here are a few crown molding profiles that you can make with a set of matched round and hollow molding planes. Design the profiles to approximately match the radius of your planes.

check the radius all along the sole. Finish up by smoothing and fairing the curvc of the sole with sandpaper.

Next, check the shape of the iron's cutting edge. It should conform as closely as possible to the curvature of the planes sole. If the curve is off, you'll need to reshape it. Begin by coating the back of the iron with machinist's layout bluing. (see Sources, p. 85). The bluing allows you to scribe a highly visible line into the iron. Insert the iron in the plane so its entire cutting edge projects about 1/16 in. Transfer the curvature of the sole onto the iron using a dull knife (Photo 2).

Grind the cutting edge down to your scribed line. 1 use a 60-grit white or pink grinding wheel, (sec Sources, p. 85). Dip the iron in water frequently to prevent overheating. After grinding, hone the ht-vfl .inil ihr hark of ihr iron 10

bring the cutter to a razor-sharp edge. Reassemble the plane, set it for a light cut, and test it on a piece of scrap. To adjust the iron for a deeper cut, tap it lightly downward with a hammer. To retract the iron slightly, tap on the rear of the plane body.

You can now use the tuned round plane to shape the sole of the hollow plane. Afterward, scribe the hollow's iron as you did the round plane's iron. 1 find that grinding a concave cutting edge is easier on a grinding wheel with a rounded edge (see Shaping a Grinding Wheel, p. 85)._

1 hone the iron (Photo 3) with a soft, aluminum oxide "roughing" stone (see Sources, p. 85). To hone a concave cutting edge, I grind off the stone's corners using a typical, vitrified, gray grinding wheel_

Making a Crown Molding

With your planes tuned up. you're ready to make some molding. Fig. B shows a nice molding profile that incorporates an ogee and a cove, with a shoulder separating them. To lay out the molding, first make a cardboard template of the profile. Lay out the profile on the end of a short length of 13/16-in.-thick by 4-l/2-in.-wide straight-grain softwood. You will use this piece for practice.

Before planing, you need to do a little tablesaw work: First, saw all the 45-degree bevels on the edges of the molding stock (Fig. B). Then, saw a 45-degree V-shaped notch in the face of the stock to create the shoulder I use a jack plane to clean up any saw marks on the four edge bevels.

Begin shaping the molding by planing the concave half of the ogee with the round plane. Make sure you're working on a firm, flat surface. I clamp a 1 -in.-thick wooden straightedge to the molding to guide my first few strokes. I plane to about 1/8-in. deep. After that. I remove the straightedge and let the hollow guide the plane.

Make each planing pass with a firm, steady stroke. Each complete pass should yield one continuous shaving. If you find yourself fighting the plane, retract the iron slightly. If the plane skips over the middle of the board, try shimming under the center of the molding to raise it a bit.

As I approach the final depth of cut. I roll the plane to one side or the other as necessary to widen the hollow and match the desired profile. The outside edge of the hollow should meet the sawn bevel in a sharp edge.

After completing the hollow. 1 use a rabbet plane to remove any saw marks on the edge of the moldings shoulder (Photo 4).

Next, clamp your straightedge to guide the First few passes on the moldings cove (Photo 5). Remove the straightedge as before and complete the cuts, again rolling the plane to one side or the other to create tht- desired profile. The cove should meet the bevel and shoulder in a sharp edge.

84 American Woodworker JUNE 1999

PLANING THE SHOULDER. A rabbet plane cleans up any saw marks left on the molding's shoulder.

STARTING STRAIGHT Guide the first few hollowing passes with a wooden straightedge that's clamped along the workpiece.

PLANING THE SHOULDER. A rabbet plane cleans up any saw marks left on the molding's shoulder.

STARTING STRAIGHT Guide the first few hollowing passes with a wooden straightedge that's clamped along the workpiece.

The last step is to plane the convex section of the ogee using the hollow-plane. The V-shaped ridge on the sole of the plane rides against the moldings shoulder to guide this cut.

Place the sole's ridge into the moldings V-shaped notch and make your first cut. For each subsequent cut. till the plane farther into the workpiece (see lead photo). You're done when the ogees curves meet in a smooth transition that matches your profile.

If you've done your work well, you should have a lovely molding that needs little or no sanding. M

Hill McCarthy is the ow ner of Restoration MiIhvoth in Pennsylvania.

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