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A Clockmaker's Diary
FIRST INSTALLMENT -- The Hood Assembly


The scroll board and base are done with the unturned spindle and finial stock blocked in between them for position. Now, I can figure some rough lengths: dimensions of the lower hood moldings. This is definitely a challenging project! All the interrelated skills I've learned are coming into play. A lot of final fitting. Some really tight tolerances. Used my rabbeting plane today to fit and clean up the rabbets on the door. What a great little tool!

Cut the sound ports on the hood sides with a scroll saw piercing cut. Then used a hand-held router to form the edge and hand-carved the inside corners to make them look as if they were mitered. I'm really getting rolling on this -- I hate to stop work for anything else.

Started the lathe work. Worked from the end of the spindle toward the middle -- large diameters first, then small ones -- less chatter and “whipping” that way. Marked and turned a piece of scrap first -- that gave me a full-size model and a three-dimensional, mental image of what I was wanting on the cherry stock. By the time I was done turning the four spindles, I had the pattern memorized.

Sanding on all four spindles came after I was done turning the fourth one. If I made a small mistake on the last spindle, I could go back, adjust the others, then sand them all at once. Like I've heard it said, “A true craftsman isn't necessarily the one who always does it right the first time... but rather, the one who knows how to cover for his mistakes the best.”

Didn't drill the ends for the joinery of the spindles to the finials, yet. That would make it real hard to get them back on the lathe for the final sanding and finishing to come later.

Really got into milling the moldings. Started from the bottom of the hood and worked my way up. From the simplest to the more difficult. From the “cream” of the stock I reserved at the very beginning for the thinner, more delicate moldings, I started to mill the moldings I wanted. Avoided trying to use “curly”, figured stock. It looks great, but anything less than straight-grained wood can be very difficult to work on the molder or shaper.

In all the milling, I tried to use reasonably large pieces of stock (“blanks”) so that forming an edge on it would be as safe as possible. The more “gripper” you have the better. After running the blanks through the molder or shaper, I cut the molding away from the edges of the blanks.

The door frame molding is real delicate. Cut the contour of the door frame in a wide board, then used a shaper with rub collars and a starter pin in my table insert -- no fence. The board was extra long so I could cut all the molding I'd need. After shaping, I resawed the board and belt-sanded the back side. Then I cut the molding off with my bandsaw and smoothed the topside of the arched molding on my disc sander at a slow speed, using a fine grit paper.

For the gooseneck molding and its matching sides, I started with the sides. That way, I could machine the 1-5/8-inch x 1-5/8-inch stock with molding knives... cut the cove on the table saw (see “coving” in “Power Tool Woodworking For Everyone”)... then hand-carve the cove in the gooseneck portion to match.

The gooseneck molding on the top of the hood turned out to be a very big challenge. I ended-up gluing up my stock like stairsteps, then hand carving the curved cove with my 1-inch lathe gouge (see Figure 1). I shaped the outer edges on the shaper first, glued the pieces together, then dove in on the handwork.

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