Thursday, January 15, 2009

Purple & White Trim

After I finished making & attaching the cap rails, I pulled out the boards I had set aside for the trim. These included one piece of hard maple 3/4" thick by about 7" wide by 4' long, as well as two pieces of rough 4/4 purple heart about 6" wide & about the same length. The maple stock came planed flat & of a uniform thickness, with one straight edge. The purple heart was a little over an inch thick.

The trim consists of two pieces of maple; one piece lies on top of the plinth or under the cap rail. A second piece is glued to the vertical face of the carcase. All pieces are mitered at the corners. The pieces that run under the cap rail just end at the rear of the sides of the wing carcases; the pieces on top of the plinth wrap all the way around the base and meet at a 90° angle where the wings attach to the center section. Two different moldings, made from the purple heart, get glued where the maple parts meet.

The first job was to make & attach the maple. The maple was all supposed to be 1/8" thick, but because of an earlier mistake, I have about a 1/16" reveal where the rails meet the corner posts on all of the carcases. In order to make sure the maple would touch the rails as well as the posts, I needed to make the stock for the these areas 3/16" thick, and then rabbet the extra 1/16" off.

First I ripped a number of strips of maple 1/8" thick. I did this by placing a feather board in my table saw's miter slot & setting it 1/8" from the blade. I placed the board against the feather board, then brought the fence up against the right edge of the board. After locking down the fence, I'd make a cut and the strip would fall to the left of the blade. I then reset the fence in a similar manner. After cutting the 1/8" thick material, I used the same technique to cut the same number of 3/16" strips.

Once I had all of the maple strips made, I worked on one side of each carcase before going to the next side of it. I would miter, glue & pin nail a 1/8" strip for the top of the plinth. Then I'd cut a 3/16" strip, miter it over length, rabbet the ends, miter to final length, then glue & pin nail it on. Then I'd miter a 1/8" strip for under the cap rails, glue & pin nail it on. Finally, I'd make another 3/16" strip to place near the 1/8" piece under the cap rail. Then I'd turn the carcase 90° and work on the next face.

After all of the maple was in place, I milled up the two purple heart boards. I then mounted my classical ogee bit into my router table. This bit cuts a 1/4" radius round over, a 1/16" step, and a 1/4" radius cove. I then took one of the purple heart boards & ran the profile down one edge. I rotated the board 180° and ran the profile down the other edge. Then I ripped both edges off of the board & did all of that again. Finally, I ran one more edge & ripped it off.

Next, I needed to make a 3/8" radius cove molding our of purple heart for under the cap rail. I replaced the ogee bit in the router table with the cove bit & reset the fence. I was able to make two pieces of this molding. At this point, I felt it was unsafe to make any more molding from what I had left of this board. It was, however, just slightly oversize to make the purple heart pieces I needed for the cross that will go in front of the pulpit. So I ripped it to 3/4" and put it aside for that purpose.

Before making these 2 pieces of cove molding, I had to resaw the stock to remove about 3/16"of thickness that wasn't needed. The stock was narrow enough that I could do it with one pass on the table saw, which is what I did. Then, after routing the profile on to both edges of the stock, I ripped them from the board. And found myself with a small dilemma.

I was thinking that I might need a third piece of the cove molding, but I didn't think making a third piece from what I had left at this point would be safe. I figured I could probably get away with what I had, so I didn't make a third piece. I did, however, leave the bit in the router table & didn't change any of the settings on the router & the fence, just in case I did need to make another piece.

Once I had all of my molding pieces, I began wrapping the molding around the carcases, much as I did for the maple. I started with the ogee molding on the plinth, then worked on the cove molding under the cap rail.

What I did not do, however, was put any moldings on the front of the wings, top or bottom, as I needed to cope those pieces into the inside corners, and I hadn't ever coped a joint before. So I cut the moldings for these faces extra long & put them aside.

I began trying to cope the ogee molding by working with some scrap pieces -- I had lots of extra molding at this point. I pulled out my father's coping saw, which I've had since he passed away when I was 23, but I've never had a use for until now. I even went out & bought a brand new blade, since the one in the saw was bent.

I installed the new blade, and took the coping saw to the piece of molding. And that's when I found out how hard purple heart is. I was able to remove some of the material from the molding, but I had a hard time getting it started & following the curve. I was very nervous

At this point, I spoke to one of our Elders at church, Jack, who is retired & has experience with coping moldings. He agreed to come over & help me cope the moldings for the corners.

So Jack came by and he tried using his coping saw on the purple heart. And he was taken back by how hard the purple heart was. What we ended up doing was breaking out my Dremel tool & the 1/2" drum sander attachment with a coarse sleeve and just sanded away the material we needed to remove. We got some burning, but it didn't matter, since that side would never show.

The resulting coped joints looked great & fit perfectly. If it weren't for Jack, I'd be deep in despair now, trying to figure out what I would do.

Here are some pictures of the finished moldings. First, the ogee moldings:

Now the cove molding:

Another shot of the cove molding:

That's enough for this post. Next time, we'll cover the last bits left to do, the cross for the front & the hinged lectern.

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