Circular wood mouldings

Circular wood mouldings

Circular wood mouldings (that’s moldings in N America) are found in lots of different types of clock. Either in complete circles or parts such as the arch of a beak-arch case.

Apart from completely hand carving, there are basically three  options for the amateur;-

1. Make up the exact circular blank and use an electric router

2. Make up an exact blank and then make a hand router with a cutter to match the design profile

3. Make an approximate blank and turn the detail on a lathe.

Making a hand router is a bit of an undertaking – even making the steel cutter and tempering takes a lot of time and patience for just one component: The  problem with using an electric router to cut the profile is the limitations in the range of router bits available – without making up a one-off cutter,  there are only certain bits but the mouldings in antique clock cases tend to be individual.

So, turning is an attractive option and the only snag is that some wood lathes don’t spin slow enough or just aren’t quite big enough for the larger diameters. A wood lathe capable of producing large (up to 24″ diameter) bowls should be suitable, otherwise a face-plate might be a good option. In any event, before using any power tools, make sure you’ve read and understood the manufacturer’s safety advice.

Step-by-step using a Face-plate

This article is work in progress – pictures and text coming.

Make up the blank by gluing segments onto a back-board of 1/2″ ply.

Mount the blank on the face-plate.

Turn the blank to a smooth ring form.

Turn off the inner and outer diameters.

Turn the detail.

Finish and polish.

Remove from the back-board.

Attach to the clock.


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