Making Molding

by John Mclain
(New Jersey)


I mill my moldings on a router table equipped with a 11/2-hp router. The stock can be passed quickly along the fence and over — the exposed bit, increasing my feet-per-minute rate and improving the accuracy and uniformity of the molding profile. The router table I use has an effective dust-collection system integrated into the fence, which catches about 95% of the chips and dust.


I won't describe in detail how to mill the backband, the bed molding, or the secondary foundation; all of them are
simple to run off in the shop using readily available bits. You might even be able to buy them at a lumberyard. The primary foundation molding, however, is a little unusual. The pattern is produced in two simple steps on a router table using a 1/2-in, beading bit (see the drawing on the facing page). The first cut is made on the face of the board. First, thickness the stock to % in. Then, with a trial molding piece laid on edge, set the beading bit.

flush with the router table. This will produce a 1/2-in, bead with a Vs-in. quirk (recess) on the face side. Check the sample. then run off the rest of the material.
For the second cut, place the trial molding piece face up and visually align the beading bit with the previous cut. Run off your sample. The finished trial piece should look like a 1/2-in, round bead with quirks on each side. Make sure the com¬pleted bead is fully formed with¬out any flat or misformed areas. If the trial piece looks good, run off the rest of the material.

The most common problem with wide casing is that the miter tends to open up as the wood dries. No matter what precautions are taken, this condition is almost unavoidable. I've gone so far as to use veneered plywood edged with solid wood to ensure a tight miter. The project treatment in this chapter avoids the problem and at the same time produces an attractive variation of a period joint. How does this joint keep from opening up? Unlike a full 45° degree miter, the miter on this right-angle joint is limited to the width of the 1/2-in, bead and quirk. The rest of the material is cut at 90°.Begin by marking out a 45° cut, 3 in. (the width of the molding minus the bead and quirk) from the end of the horizontal primary foundation. On the hand-saw, cut along the quirk until you reach the marked-out miter. Using a mitered guide block and a dovetail saw, cut off the bead at 45° and dress the cut with a chisel. The other half of the joint, the vertical primary foundation, is cut to the proper length at 90°, then the bead is mitered. Joined together, the two pieces look good: a clean, precise.

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