Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pennsylvania Spice Box- some progress

 I made some progress over the past couple of weeks, that was to build the back panel and to start on the base and crown moulding. I accomplished both but not without some trial and error. I was determined I was going to make these moulding by hand as I don't have a lot of router bits and sure don't have any that match these profiles. I also resisted using the table saw to hog out a lot of the waste material. Material is walnut.

Crown moulding on the left, base moulding on the right

The tools I used to make the moulding are shown below. A pair of #6 and #8 hollow and rounds, a 7/8" rabbet plane, and a Stanley #66 beading plane which came in handy to cut the bead on the face of the crown moulding.

Base moulding shown in the tray held by a bench dog and tail vise.

The back is a splined  panel made of 1/4" Ash and slides up and into the back dadoes and rabbets.

This is an interesting feature. By removing a drawer and reaching in the front, you lift the back and push out the bottom to remove it. This reveals a secret compartment. These compartments were a popular design feature in 18th century furniture.

The mouldings were a challenge to make as I had never tried doing them by hand before. Sometime ago I had purchased the book shown below with the intentions of learning how to do just that.  
This is a very well written and easy to understand book by Matt Bickford and it removed a lot of the mystery of the process of making various profiles with moulding planes. It's not as easy as it looks but not impossible. As with most tasks using hand tools, patience truly is a virtue. 

Next step is to get the moulding attached to the cabinet and work on the feet. After that the door, then the intricate holly wood inlay. Drawers will be the last step. Will share some more at the next milestone.


  1. The mouldings look GREAT Rick! I too try to make some from time to time and am reminded that like most things physical, practice and practice and practice gets one closer to what they can accept. Nice work.

  2. Thanks Bob, I have one more piece of crown to practice on, started the feet earlier today, more to come.

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