Friday, December 6, 2013

Gooseneck Facade Part 2

I had a fair bit of time in the shop last night, so I was able to get a lot of the facade done last night. This is a good thing, as my goal is to have this thing finished off by the end of the year and I know that carving the gooseneck moldings will take me some time.

Anyhow, I started with the remainder of the cherry board from which I cut my two case sides.  This is important as it will hopefully make the finishing process easier and more consistent. The sash door and moldings will also be made from this same board.

This board was stored under cover outside but still
got a little water. No damage though. Just a couple of stains.
I have two cherry boards that were cut from this same tree. The tree grew on the property of Tillers International and they were given to me by a good friend and former instructor there, Steve Stier.

I started rough flattening one side of the board, the side on which I will draw the pattern.  I will rough plane the opposite side as well, but will only really care about thickness and flatness where the facade board attaches to the case. Other than that, it will be whatever it will be. No need to get crazy about it.

Like my latest work holding device? Its an offcut from making
the seat for my '26 Model T. Works great!

Once I had that side flat enough, I straightened and squared the bottom edge. This is the most important part of the whole facade, as this part will determine not only the overall square "look" of the piece, but also how the sash door will fit and operate. It has to be straight and square.

With that done, I then simply lined up the bottom edge of my template with the square edge and traced around the template with a pencil. I then flipped the pattern over its middle line, lined up the edges again and traced the opposite side.

Flat enough in the areas that matter.
Any tearout will be removed via scraper at a later time.
With the line completed, I then cut the pencil line in with my favorite carving knife, which is sharp enough to sever the grain without applying any real force to it at all. This makes it easy to stay on line while providing me with a sharp reference line. 

Then, I simply cut in the square ends to the piece, staying just off the line so that I have material to trim plush with the case. Lacking a decent turning saw (the coping saw in the pictures was an experiment... no go), I then proceeded to use my rip saw to cut a straight line that is very close to the curve.  I just bought a table saw (a real table saw, not one with a motor) but I haven't sharpened it yet, so a straight line that is close is the best I could do, even on these gentle curves.  

A turning saw would have helped me to save a little material but this works very well
A couple of strategic cuts with my panel saw to sever the large waste and a couple of backsaw cuts to clean out the middle and I had a roughly shaped blank.

This thing has more curves than Jayne Mansfield...
One that was complete, I then took a chisel (a very nice EA Berg that was a Galootaclaus gift), and started to pare down close to the line. I will finish this work with a rasp, but large parts of the waste can be simply removed by making stopping cuts with a backsaw, then removing the waste with a chisel. 

If you try this technique, make sure not to chop along the grain with the chisel. You will blow out big chunks of the back side of the work. By along the grain, I mean the areas where the pattern line runs with or close to with the grain, such as the top curves and the bottoms of the side curves near the straight-sawn ends. Only pare in these areas and only with the lightest touch. Cross-grain work is actually easier and less damaging with this method. 

The strop is a 4" chunk of old machine tool belting. How cool is that?
Once I was close to the line, I called it a night. This weekend I aim to finish down to my line with a cabinetmakers rasp and then use a sash fillister to cut a perfectly square back face so that I can attach the piece to the case.  I probably won't attach the facade until I have the gooseneck moldings glued and nailed to it so that I can trim and rasp the pieces flush without fear of damaging the case.


  1. Hi Zach,

    Nice progress on it. Out of curiosity, is there any reason you couldn't use a drawknife and spokeshave for shaping the piece down to the line? Or is it a case of using the tools you have and are comfortable with?


  2. Derek, you certainly could use a spokeshave and draw knife to get to the line on the outside curves. I just happen to prefer working with chisels and rasps. Others may choose a different way, and that is one of the great things about our craft... lots of ways to do virtually everything.

  3. It is refreshing to see you just going at it rather than getting held up on not having a "decent turing saw". I think this type of attitude is very much what 99% of old hand tool wooworkers did, i.e. just got on with it. BTW, coping saw do you cut on the pull or the push stroke :-)?

  4. Just get to it. That is my way. When using a coping saw, I am a pull cutter. What about you?

  5. Always on the pull, to push it would be the wrong way :-),