Molding Clean Up
January 4, 2014 Comments Off on Molding Clean Up
It’s been a little while since I’ve written anything for this blog. December can be a busy month, and hopefully I’ll get back into things now that the calendar has turned. A while back I wrote about a door and moldings that we had stripped of paint. After a contractor enlarged the door and fitted a new jamb, the door was hung so that we would at least have a working bathroom door. But the moldings were still missing for weeks. In my defense, it was a several step process. After the wood had been stripped of paint, there were still some pockets and slivers of paint that were worked with dental picks. Then the moldings were planed, sanded, and/or scraped to remove the roughness. Coupled with some 180 or 220 grit sandpaper, those little rubber contour sanding grips worked really well here. An added bonus of those sanding grips is that they make nice little sharpening fids for molding plane irons when used with fine grit sandpaper. Because of how the door was re-hung (i.e. straightened), I had to rip the moldings for one side of the door to a narrower width. Easy enough except there is a side bead on each edge. I’m sure that a router molding bit could recreate that profile, but for me the easiest solution was to contact Josh Clark and see if he could hook me up with a 5/16″ side bead molding plane. He quickly found one that fit the bill, and I was able to produce a near perfect copy to the originals. The only difference I can notice is that the groove was made slightly wider from my plane. And using a molding plane is so much more pleasurable than firing up the screaming router. And finally a finish needed to be applied – in this case oil to darken the wood, followed by amber shellac.
That said, I did have a few challenges. The moldings are soft red cedar, and grain direction wasn’t always on my side. Even with a very sharp iron, this can lead to a little tearout. And the soft cedar sometimes wants to fuzz instead of cutting cleanly. For one of the moldings I needed to follow with a little sanding, while the other was good after just burnishing with a handful of shavings. One other thing that I’ve found working with side beads is that the mouth likes to clog on the closed side – the narrow area furthest in from the escapement. Some sort of slippery wax, be it tallow, slip-it, or something similar, really helps to keep the shavings moving through, and out the mouth. I saw Roy Underhill demonstrate this in person with mutton tallow at Woodworking in America last year, but forgot about it until after I completed the first molding and had to continually pull the shavings out of the mouth with a pick. After applying slip-it, the second molding took a fraction of the time and the mouth hardly clogged at all.
And while I still need to do some staining on the replacement plinths to better match the color, the door and trim are back up. The baseboards still need some work, though (and sorry about that wallpaper).