Mouldings by hand.

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Been on a planing/moulding fact finder to the V&A.

Staircase from France 1530



Paul Pindar's house, London 1600



Window moulding 1475, Suffolk

Impressive work. I've never really considered that woodwork can be a historical re-enactment. Trying to reverse engineer the old techniques is an interesting concept.
@Adam W. Seeing your pictures of the window mouldings from Suffolk leads me to the project I have to yet make a start on, which to be honest has
got me a bit stumped at the moment as to how to replicate it, and more to the point all the other Joiners that were contacted didn't either! the building is on the border with Norfolk & Suffolk.

window.jpgwindow 2.jpgwindow 3.jpgwindow 4.jpg
From the information I have the building is late 17th century, not sure if the windows are original but I guess they could be, this one has pretty much
Window 1.jpg

I need to tweak these profiles somehow to try and get a weatherproof housing for a casement opening into the equation, the original was iron may try and replicate that as it is more in keeping with the style:
section plan.png

See that little square hole in the sill, that's probably for a timber bar which leadded windows were tied in to for a bit of support.

Are you not going to make a direct copy of it?
HOJ I've seen plenty of windows like that in Norfolk but never had to make one. I think the heavy section and paint was an attempt to copy the stone mullions of the posh houses. If I had to make one I would laminate in sections, that way you could get the shapes off the spindle moulder. Some I have seen have replacement timber openings but I think the original iron looks best so Critall would be a good replacement
Hi Adam, I have a friend who is a proper stonemason. The way he does mouldings in stone is very different from how a modern woodworker would do the same in wood- just wondering if you've looked into this as in the early days the techniques may have been much closer.
His method includes making lots of facets- similar to the blue and yellow coloured lines on your photo- which are very carefully done but are then completely removed in the later stages.

That is the method I was using to make the other 18th century mouldings above. I was wondering if they would use profiled shaves in the 15th century, but after looking at the mouldings in the V&A, I think they were using planes and scrapers more than anything.

I'll need to take a look at the way masons work, as I think the methods used were very similar in both trades as you say.

I'm getting the same tool marks as the ones on the examples from the V&A on the moulding which I am working on today, which is encouraging.

They are subtle facets, but they are there.

Not wishing to deviate to much more from @Adam W. 's thread but in answer to both questions,
Are you not going to make a direct copy of it?
I would laminate in sections,

I have given this a lot of thought as to my best options, time/cost is the biggest factor, It would be nice to work these in the ways of old but I am not young enough to start learning too many new skills, I have a few H & R's inherited from my Grandfather but none that will produce the mouldings I need, so the thinking as you suggest @Jones is to make them from sectional pieces and running them off on the SM as close to the originals as possible, it also comes down to stock selection for me as well the 8" air dried oak i have is full of shakes, so negates its use in this instance.

Drawings to show the thinking at this time:

@HOJ It's not deviating from the thread at all, because your project and the challenges that you meet using machine tools for historic mouldings is the reason why I'm writing this dissertation, so I think its completely relevant.

If you weren't so far away, I would like come and measure it up and make the profile by hand and compare it with your solution, it would be perfect.

If I was making it, I would make it as one piece, by hand, with fresh sawn timber to see if it shrank the same way as the original. I'd have to replicate the timber section exactly for it to be as realistic as possible.

It would also be good to compare the time you took with how long it would take me doing it by hand.....It'd be very interesting to see which was quicker.
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But Adam, one of the problems we have now is the quality of wood available. I suspect there was a much better selection available in past centuries & certainly in my area of work....old boats/ships, the qulaity of timber was superb.
You seem to have access to some excellent oak, but I know I have great difficuly now in sourcing lengths of clear oak for steaming into ribs.
This wood supply will obviously have an impact on the techniques available to replicate wood structures & the tools used.
It's the way we cut it all up that is the problem and not the availability of trees. There has always been quality timber and there still is, the plantations around Fontainebleau and the impressive German and Danish oak plantations are testament to that.

There are very few people that I know of who want to take the time and effort to source and convert their own timber, but when they do, the quality of the product is far higher than that which can be bought at a merchants or from a commercial mill.
I was Adam, unfortunately, considering the UK.
Certainly in Europe there are beautiful swathes of well managed timber, but less so in the UK as far as harwood is concerned.
There was an old woodyaard in the middle of the New Forest that would cut out superb oak for frames, planks & knees for me. Gone now I believe.
Here in Scotland now there are stll a few yards able to cut oak well, but hardwood, & even good larch is hard to find.
Progress, along with the elimination of most of the planes...


The finish is about right too and comperable with what is in the V&A and it took a lot less time to make with simple carpentry tools.


I won't show you the ends as it may cause you to faint, but rest assured it is suitably rustic.
Progress, along with the elimination of most of the planes...

View attachment 162576

The finish is about right too and comperable with what is in the V&A and it took a lot less time to make with simple carpentry tools.

View attachment 162577

I won't show you the ends as it may cause you to faint, but rest assured it is suitably rustic.
So this was flat planes and a bit of scrapping?
Mostly, I used a 1/2" gouge and a sloping rebate plane for the quirk. I did start to use a couple of hollows, but decided to try and get rid of them too.

That's what I ended up with.....


I'm going to ditch the small rebate plane and the Nº 4 hollow next. The sloping rebate plane Nº 3 from left is invaluable as is the larger rebate plane, although I think I might try to make a handled quirk cutter, much like a spokeshave with a fence for the curved ribs.

The Nº10 was good for regularising the large cavetto on the base.