1880s Counter #8: Square Up, Trim Out

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Blog entry by Smitty_Cabinetshop posted 02-05-2020 03:14 AM 398 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 7: And to Top It All Off... Part 8 of 1880s Counter series Part 9: What's the Latest on the Top? »

So, in the beginning, we started with a single complex moulding assy that supported the underside of the top. It was 11’ long and had one ‘return,’ or 90˚ el that was on the left end of the piece.

I didn’t take pictures, but several weeks ago my Dad convinced me to cut this long piece at the 8’ mark, at a 45˚ angle, and use that cutoff to make the right return. I used the small crosscut saw from my tool tote that Bob Summerfield sharped and restored for me, and it worked like a charm. And, most importantly, I didn’t hit any nails in the process. This shows the fresh cuts from a mock up, a couple weeks ago; I was happy to see the cuts were pretty close.

Let’s move on to completing the re-build of that entire upper moulding assembly for real, then.

The right side cuts, matched up and crowned for the first time ever on the completed base, looks quite good.

What I called crown is that 1/2” x 3 1/2” flat stock at the top of the moulding assy, and it’s what the top will ultimately rest on. And yes, I believe the top simply sits on top of the counter / is not nailed into place. But we’ll see when the time comes if it stays that way.

But, getting back to the tasks of the day, I wanted to set that crown to a base assembly that’s square. So a couple of temp braces were added.

What’s with the ‘stuff’ under the front leg, and the items weighing down the counter at either end? The assembled piece has a bit of a twist to it, probably because of the conditions I found it in (wet, rotted base, etc.) fifteen months ago. So we’re playing the ‘patience’ card by putting opposite stress on the counter between workdays. It’s getting better, so there’s that. Anyway, the center panel then needed attention. Where, you ask? Well, the center panel board is cupped, and it’s driving me crazy because of gaps and the impact those gaps will have on the three sets of moulding that need to be applied to ‘raise’ said center panel. Pictures might help explain the concern, you say? Okay.

So, what to do? Well, Dad convinced me to remove the center panel and plane down the ‘hump’ of the board that sits behind the vertical AND that part that will sit behind the larger piece of moulding to be applied. Then we’ll re-set the center panel and carry on. So, here we go. I started by marking the panel in pencil where the moulding would reach. Then it was removed and brought over to the bench, where I clamped a straight edge, knifed a line, and make the first blows via rasp to get the paint off.

Then, to the block plane (SW No. 118 that lives in the tote, for the terminally curious).

The 7/8” cove was applied in the crease,

then the nosing was applied inside that.

Things were looking good! Well, as good (or better/tighter) a trim up than the piece had when we found it! Can’t imagine nailing on those pieces by hand, with cut nails, as it was a hundred and thirty + years ago. That’s some serious skill with a hammer!

I brought the G-P to Dad’s shop for moulding cuts, btw.

And the No. 51/52 shoot board plane made the trip too (no pics, sorry). Dad was very impressed with that tool.

Anyway, the last applied piece was the 5/8” half round.

And the center panel is complete and looking good!

If you’re wanting an update on the top, sorry. But today’s work got me a critical piece of info: The top must be 93 3/4” long. And at least 23 9/16” deep.

Okay, that’s it for now. Next time, an update on the top. Promise. :-) And at some point, doing something to ‘finish’ the backside of this piece got into my head. The initial thought? Something like this:

Thanks for looking.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

8 comments so far

View theoldfart's profile


11249 posts in 3133 days

#1 posted 02-05-2020 04:55 AM

Still continuing to impress Smitty.

This is fun to watch and educational!

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View Steve's profile


100 posts in 3656 days

#2 posted 02-05-2020 01:28 PM

Looking good!

-- Free Wood Videos Here:"

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

4824 posts in 1264 days

#3 posted 02-05-2020 01:35 PM

Looks like real progress, Smitty. Have you figured out what you’ll do with it once it’s restored?

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View artsyfartsy's profile


1353 posts in 1840 days

#4 posted 02-05-2020 02:33 PM

It’s interesting watching what and how you do this. Does the top have to be exact or can it hang over say, 1/4” or more?

-- DWelch. Michigan, The only dumb question is the one not asked!

View AnthonyReed's profile


10138 posts in 3122 days

#5 posted 02-05-2020 02:53 PM

Pops looks quite content. Glad you’re in fine company as you ply your skills.

That framing square complain about its predicament?

Thank you Smitty!

-- ~Tony

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16555 posts in 3300 days

#6 posted 02-05-2020 02:57 PM

Thanks for the comments, let’s see…

Have you figured out what you’ll do with it once it’s restored?

- Dave Polaschek

Nope. So far, I have no idea what I’m going to do with it. It’s still all about the journey!

Does the top have to be exact or can it hang over say, 1/4” or more?

- artsyfartsy

Let’s start with a picture that shows the original edging that was applied to the top.

That small piece of stock (edging) was present on the front and the back of the top (each long edge), and had 45˚ cuts at the edge (well, one of the pieces did, just not the one in the pic). That tells me the whole top was edged. So, to answer the question, the top can be a bit long, I guess, but I’m thinking it should be more likely be a snug fit.

Thanks Tony! Nope, didn’t hear a whimper from said square. He was probably just happy to be put to use!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

View JayT's profile


6388 posts in 2893 days

#7 posted 02-06-2020 04:07 PM

Sounds like Dad is very convincing. It came out great, though, so he must know something.

-- - In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16555 posts in 3300 days

#8 posted 02-06-2020 07:16 PM

Wasn’t happy we had to do it that way, but it was the best route. Yeah, he’s good!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

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