Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Never enough clamps!

I have been working on the living room trim for the last week and have enjoyed just about every moment of it. A friend of mine commented that “you are either good at trim... or not”. It took me a few days to wrap my head around it, but after I found my pace - it was most enjoyable.

Moving the workbench into the living room was (as hoped), the right thing to do. There were very few trips back and forth to the shop - which made things much simpler and reduced the snow puddles in the house too.

All the trim is quarter sawn White Oak which was not the easiest choice to learn trim work with... but what’s a guy to do? One of the challenges was how to treat the outside corners of the pillars and the windows. I did not want a simple butt joint because the quarters awn face and the flat sawn edge grain would look pretty crumby. My options were to miter the corners or use a very deep rabbet. I opted for the rabbet... the miters would have been a nightmare and I was worried about how they would hold up. In the end - the rabbets worked out very well.

Here is a detail shot of an outside corner. I used 3/4" stock for all the frames and cut a 5/8" deep rabbet in the mating piece. This left a 1/8" reveal of the flat sawn stock... but with a slight chamfer on the edge - the transition is well hidden. Oh, the chamfer - 5 passes with a particular XSNo.4 smoother.

The use of this deep rabbet meant I could make all the joints with glue alone - something that was time consuming and a reminder that one truly cannot have enough clamps. Ever!

It was slow - but the results were worth it.

Here is a shot of one of the pillars being glued up before installation. I attached the two sides to the front and then slid it over the framing. In hindsight... I could have left out the framing which would have made things much simpler. Live and learn.

One of the other details to work out was the crown molding profile. I followed George Walkers advise and made some mock-ups of various profiles. We have chosen the one closest to the camera - a simple 7 piece crown (what have I done?!)

One of the highlights of the project (aside from all the quarters awn white oak and using my planes all day long), was using the Festool Domino. There are frames and panels all over the place (29 raised panels so far) and the Domino has been the perfect tool for all the frames. It is foolishly accurate, very easy to use, and provides incredibly strong joints. I cannot imagine living without it.

The intended feel of the room is loosely Prarie style - based on the work of William Purcell & George Elmslie, with a bit of Frank Lloyd Wright in there too. One of the design features is a strong horizontal line which wraps around the room. The “line” flows from the bottom of the piano window trim and extends to the corners of the wall, where it wraps around...

... and continues to divide the upper and lower portions of the front and side windows.
The top of the front and side windows also have stained glass frames in them - I just left them out while working. This horizontal line will also be picked up in the trim above the fireplace and will continue in the built-in bookshelf.

There are still several more layers of trim to be applied to the top and bottom of everything - but the edges and lines are now defined - and we are both very pleased with how everything has come together.

Here are a bunch of photos of where things are at.

The underside of the bulk-head and a good view of the plywood base for the crown molding.

The ledge on the pillars is at the same height as the window sills.

Today was my transition day - moving from the living room trim to working in the shop on some new planes. On the bench - a Blackwood filled 22-1/2" A2 jointer, an A7 Norris shoulder plane and a birds eye boxwood SN.04 smoother.


Blogger Brent said...

That all looks really good. You do great work, and I have enjoyed following the progress. Did you do some work on your fireplace? Anyway, please keep updating your pics because they always keep me going in the remodel hell in which I live.

3 March 2010 at 23:21  
Blogger Tico said...

Everything looks excellent. As far as clamping all those columns, have you ever used big cauls? I've made my own and also own bowclamps. They really are effective.
Thanks for the review of using the Domino. You're about the tenth serious woodworker I've read who has given them a serious endorsement.

What saw(s) are you using on the trim work?



4 March 2010 at 07:16  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Brent. Yes - there has been some work on the fireplace too... bu† there was a bit of a disaster (being fixed as we speak) and I will hold off on that post until I can show the both the problem and the solution. Re-modelling hell... I debated on calling the post trim hell, but realized it was only the first few days that were painful... the rest was quite fun.


4 March 2010 at 08:35  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Tico,

Thanks for the reminder tip of big cauls. We did use cauls on this one... but I was worried things would shift around on me and that would have been disasterous. Maybe I should be more adventurous and give them a try. I have used them on smaller scale work with great results.

The Domino as well as the TS55 and the 9' rail are without question the best value tool purchases I have made in the last year. By a long shot. I cannot say enough good things about them. They perform as advertised and then some. And when you add in the fact that there is no mess or dust... I don't know why anyone would ever buy anything else.

There were a few saws on used on the trim thus far. The big machines were the bandsaw (for ripping everything to width and then edge jointed on the jointer). I used the table saw a few times to cross cut some of the smaller pieces where there were multiple pieces of the same length. At the bench there were a pair of Adria tenon saws (CC and rip), and a small Zona saw used for some of the really fiddly work. There is also a Rigid chop saw, which I am happy to say, has been a really good performer. The mitre plane and shooting board is set up at one end of the bench for shooting everyyhing. Oh, and I did have the Festool MFT which was used with the TS55 as few times as well.

Lots of sawing!!



4 March 2010 at 08:42  
Blogger teal and gold said...

I hope your wife knows how lucky she is! I love your raised panel design, i will have to borrow that some day.


4 March 2010 at 12:11  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Konrad - this remodelling project of yours is turning out to be spectacular. In an age where builders and renovators simply rely of shop bought supplier, the use of real wood (as opposed to primed MDF skirtings and other trim) harks back to an age, not so long ago, where homes were built by craftsmen. I am have just had a house built by a builder and I know what builders do these days to complete projects. Wood is a rarity these days.
I realise yours is a labour of love and painstaking care... and it shows. I say well done - may you enjoy the fruits of your labour.

On the subject of Festool, I happen to own a Kapex CMS. It has been in use recently to finish off some external trim around a timber deck. Like all things Festool, this one doesn't disappoint either - the capacity and capability range of this saw is truly wonderful... not to mention its accuracy!
Best, Richard, Melbourne

7 March 2010 at 16:19  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Tyler,

I think Jill is pretty happy with all the stuff I make... but I think I am equally lucky to have someone who puts up with my slow pace. I guess we have a pretty good set up then.

Glad you like the raised panels. They are really subtle. The raised field is only 1/8" above the tongue and is set in 3/8" from the frame edge.


7 March 2010 at 21:21  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Richard,

Thank-you for your very kind comments. Our house is about 100 years old. This area was quite prosperous when these houses were built, and the craftspeople took time and care with most of their work. There are some “odd” things about the house - some of the framing looks unconventional... but the house has stood for 100 years and I doubt that many of the house built in the last 20 years will last that long. It is a real horror show of builders houses out there.

I have been pondering the Kapex for some time now. Everyone says it is an incredible machine... I fear the day I get to try one out!


7 March 2010 at 21:25  

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