(All about the) Base Moulding

The Joiner and Cabinet Maker… Part 3

You know, I think young Thomas may disapprove about this instalment of my work through The Joiner and Cabinet Maker. Having faithfully followed the text so far (apart from my decision to cut the dovetails tails first, of course), I’ve made a couple of changes to the design this week. Nothing substantial, but some satisfying tweaks to the asthetics of the School Box.


If only every morning could start with strong coffee and moulding planes

In my last post I’d dovetailed and glued up the carcase. Once the hide glue cured I cleaned up the exterior of the casework with my No.3 smoothing plane. Cleaning up dovetails is always an exciting moment, as you get to see exactly how well fitting your joints are, and whether there are any unexpected gaps. Given that this is my first dovetailed project since I finished the sliding trays for my Anarchist’s Tool Chest some 18 months ago I’m pretty pleased with the dovetails on the School Box – they aren’t perfect, but they are perfectly respectable. And the carcase is dead square, which I’m very pleased with.


Not perfect, but not too shabby either

A box without a bottom isn’t much use, so I cut the next piece of pine to slightly larger dimensions than the footprint of the box, and planed the rough stock to 1/2″ thickness before attaching it with hide glue and 4d fine finish nails.


One of the elements of the School Box I’ve been looking forward to the most is the base and lid moulding. I don’t get much opportunity to use moulding planes in my lutherie, (although my Philly Planes beading plane has seen some good use recently on the Moxon vise build) and I’m always happy to find opportunities to develop new skills. The text calls for a chamfer on the base and lid moulding, but I thought this would be an excellent opportunity to break out the moulding planes and do something a little more elegant.


Lid moulding on the left, base moulding on the right

Moulding is easier to plane while stock is over-wide, as the thin strips needed for moulding (1 1/2″ for the base, and 1″ for the lid) are difficult to hold down unless you have a sticking board. I’ve not had opportunity to made a sticking board yet (that is another task for the to-do list) so I prepared a 1/2″ thick piece of 3″ wide stock to use for both sets of moulding. For the base moulding I used the 3/8″ square ovolo plane I bought from Patrick Leach earlier this summer, and for the lid I reached for my No.6 Round by Philly. Then runs of moulding were planed onto opposite edges of the stock, and then ripped to width with the trusty Disston D8 before being cut to the lengths needed to wrap around three sides of the box.


Dovetailed base moulding – I will carve the corner transition once the glue has cured

While I was deviating from the text I decided to make one final change (sorry Thomas!) – Thomas mitres his base moulding, but I was in a dovetailing mood, so cut a single tail in each of the side pieces with the pins on the front piece. The moulding was fixed in place using 4d headless cut brads, as well as hide glue on the front piece and the front inch or so  of the side pieces – leaving the side pieces mainly secured by just nails will accomodate any seasonal movement of the bottom without splitting the moulding.


School Box with the bottom and base moulding fitted.

Next it is on to the lid and internal partician while I wait for the hardware to arrive from White Chapel. There is still a fair bit to do on this project, but the end is rapidly coming into sight!

2 thoughts on “(All about the) Base Moulding

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