Monthly Archives: November 2013

Dressing-up the Keystone

IMG_1394With the moulding installed around the arched opening for the dial, there’s one last detail on the hood before moving on to the goose-neck mouldings of the broken-arch pediment. The Egerton tall clock has a small keystone that separates the two pieces of the arched moulding. The keystone is made from solid mahogany, but the face of the piece is a small assembly of veneer. And by small I mean 5/8″ wide at the bottom, 1-1/4″ wide at the top and about 1-1/4″ from top to bottom. That’s not a lot of inlay, so I can easily get that from scrap pieces already on hand. (Check out the photo. You can see a picture of the original clock between the hoods of the two clocks I’m building.)

To get things started, I thought it best to lay out the design to better get a feel for the pieces and steps. That also made it easy to get the sizes of the maple veneer just right, IMG_1381and that made the work go much quicker. After I had the design, I snapped off pieces of the ebony stringing and cut the small pieces of maple from a leftover sheet of shop-made veneer – I’m tired of sanding through the 1/40″- or 1/64″-thick commercial veneer and vow to never purchase it again. To make sure things went as planned, I stuck the pieces to a piece of tape, then checked the size against the actual keystone.

I was now ready to stick the pieces to the keystone. With a thin layer of glue on the keystone, I positioned the veneer and stringing. IMG_1382(Again, I really like the Titebond No-Run, No-Drip Wood Glue.) A neat technique was to lock one leg of my spring clamp into my bench vise, leaving the other leg operable. This allowed me to easily move or reposition the keystone in any way necessary. At this time, I wasn’t concerned about the length of the pieces applied to the workpiece. I didn’t want them to run past the top and bottom, but I also didn’t need them to be perfectly aligned. After everything was placed and slide to its final position (moving the veneer pieces up or down influenced the overall width of the assembly so I could easily match the keystone face), I set the piece aside to allow the glue to dry.

The next step after the glue dried – about 10 minutes – was to saw the top and bottom edges to add the last pieces of ebony stringing. IMG_1384A marking gauge is perfect to scribe lines to which to saw, and I particularly like a Japanese saw for these types of cuts. With the assembly locked in the spring-clamp vise, I sawed the two lines then peeled the waste parts easily off the keystone. A little more glue was added before I position the two last parts to the face of the workpiece. After the glue dried I used a rasp to level and smooth the inlay, then sanded everything smooth with #180-grit Abranet.

The finished keystone is shown in the opening photo. It’s a small piece that adds significantly to the overall look of the clock. And that’s what inlay does, at least to my eye. Also, if you look at the opening photo you can see the first carved rosette that fits at the end of the goose-neck moulding. I ran through three alliterations before arriving at what I think will work. To get a quick look, I stuck the half-finished rosette in place, then stood back to make a decision. So far, so good. But there is more work to be done.

Build Something Great!


1 Comment

Filed under Design, Inlay, Tall Clock, Veneer

Egerton Moulding Install

I promised last week to show you the moulding installation. But if you stopped by, you found that I was unable to post. So as promised, here is the technique I use to cut, fit and install the lower moulding on the tall clock.

Layout is the important step. First position the arched moulding to the hood. After it’s in position draw a line along the back or top edge. IMG_1365Make the line run the entire length of the moulding, or at least indicate where it crosses the inlay at the center and the lower 2″ at the hood’s base. The second step is to lay in the straight line to indicate where the moulding runs along the base – show the area that fits between the arched moulding and the hood’s return. To obtain the angle needed to fit the two pieces (arched and short straight) draw a line from the two corners as shown in the photo above.

Moulding Marking

To reveal the cut lines on the moulding, slide the arched piece back into position then use a couple of spring clamps to keep it in place. On the top edge of the moulding, mark where the lines intersect – the intersection of the arched and straight, as well as where the arched crosses the inlay should be marked. Repeat the steps to mark the two points on the inside edges of the arched moulding. Both steps are shown above.

On the back face of the moulding, make a couple of tick marks that show the two points then use a rule or straightedge to draw the line from mark to mark. Strike the lines at the two layout points. IMG_1374I also square the lines down the back edge of the mouldings to provide two points of reference as I cut. Because the moulding is arched, a couple of spring clamps will hold the piece secure as you cut. The easiest way to cut the lines is to grab your handsaw and make the cuts. I like a Japanese saw for these cuts because the finer teeth are easier to start, and glide through the cut better. This saw is from Lee Valley (link). Make the cuts while watching both lines – it’s the same as when cutting dovetails. After the arched moulding is cut (touch-up the cut with a small plane if you’re off your layout line), reposition the arched moulding to the hood.

The next step is to cut and fit the short, straight moulding at the base. You can repeat the same procedure to cut this piece; layout the two points, IMG_1375strike your line then saw the cut by hand. But for this cut – because it is a straight piece of stock – I work at my miter saw. I simply guess the angle then make a couple of cuts to hone-in on the final angle. You could, of course, use a bevel gauge to setup the correct miter. Even using a bevel gauge, I find myself fine-tuning the cut, so I go right to the saw. Make sure your fit is tight and that the moulding profiles align. You will have a small amount of work to do to bring the two profiles to match, but the work should be minimal.

For me the tricky part of this installation is the next step. On the top edge of the straight moulding, mark the start of the 45° bevel, and indicate the direction of the bevel. IMG_1377(That’s where I sometimes have problems.) It’s easy to get things turned around as you move to make the cut. I, again, use my miter saw. This is also a straight piece of stock and easily set and cut at the miter saw. Because it is a small piece, you may not feel comfortable at a power saw. If that’s the case, use your handsaw and a bench hook to do the job.

The last piece – on this first side – is the return. It’s a simple 45° cut at the front with a 90° cut at the rear. With all the parts cut and fit, turn your attention to the second run of mouldings. IMG_1378The process is the identical, but the angles are reversed. When both sides of the mouldings are fit, use spring clamps to hold a run in position as you prepare to attach the pieces to the hood. Working with the arched piece of moulding, add a thin bead of glue to the back face, then position it to the hood and to the short straight piece that is clamped in place. A few #23-gauge pins hold everything as t he glue sets. Work from there to the return, then repeat the same steps to install the second run of mouldings.

Build Something Great!


Leave a comment

Filed under Hand Tools, Methods of Work, Power Tools, Tall Clock

Egerton Hood

After preparation for Woodworking in America and building a lowboy for the February 2014 issue of the magazine, I finally had the chance to get back to the tall clock. IMG_1363Inlay, both banding and pictorial, were fit to the hood, then I got started on the mouldings. I had a couple of snafus with which to deal, but otherwise things went as planned.

You would think that the bandings – straight pieces of layered ebony and maple – would be the easy work. That, however, is where I had a snafu. One side of the hood went like clockwork. The second edge was laid out just as the first, but somewhere along the line I made the decision to cut away my line instead of leaving it. As a result, I routed a bit wider than necessary. Because the banding is striped, I couldn’t just cut it wider. I had to slice off a couple of the lines then glue back slightly wider lines to make it work. In the end, it was wasted time, but nothing else.

IMG_1360The center inlay was easy. (Read how I made “My Night Cap,” in an earlier post.) Being guided as to position by the design of the hood, I simply clamped the straightedge in place, set the router base tight to that edge and plunged the cut. (No need for a plunge-cut router here; it was easy to tilt the base into the cut to get started.) After establishing one edge, I set the inlay tight to that routed edge and drew the opposite edge onto the hood using a sharp pencil. I then set up the straightedge to just cut inside that second-edge line. I routed the second edge then free-handed the router to waste out all the remaining unwanted material.

IMG_1361With everything ready to go, I added glue to the center inlay recess, and positioned the pictorial piece to the hood, making sure I had a little glue along both edges. A layer of wax paper was slipped over the inlay before I installed two clamps. (After the clamps were in place, I tore off the wax paper to better aid in evaporation to help the glue dry quicker.) The banding at the edges is too easy. And I get to use one of my favorite clamping strategies – blue tape. After spreading glue into the recess – my fingertip sported a heavy layer of glue by the time I was finished  – I slipped the banding into position then added a few pieces of tape to hold everything in place. (Note: I used Titebond No Run, No Drip glue and continue to be impressed with this product.)

Next week I’ll discuss the installation of the bottom-edge mouldings and the center keystone which has to have a small amount of inlay work done before I can stick in place.

Build Something Great!


Leave a comment

Filed under Inlay, Methods of Work, Power Tools, Routers, Shop Tips, Tall Clock