We left off with some moderate success (after much failure) in the world of making wood that has some sexy curves. After we found some success with the test piece, we went on to the cap moulding. This is the piece of wood that will sit on TOP of the flat baseboard. We had this moulding custom made to identically match the existing 114-year-old woodwork in the house. So, to say that we were nervous about messing up – it’s an understatement. But, at some point, you have to be risky.

Science in Renovation

“The Steambox Turret Saga of ’16!”

(Part Two)

Here’s the fancy moulding in the Steam Box (again, it’s not a box. Grrrr.).

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Not gonna lie. I’m a bit jealous of this lumber. It gets to sit in complete darkness and bathe in steam for 90 minutes. I need that.

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On the form it goes! Please don’t snap.

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After taking it off the form (24+ hours to dry), here’s the curve we got. Not too shabby.

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But, here’s the problem. The clamps collaborated with the wet wood, and crushed the profile of the moulding. BOO.

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So, my ingenious husband made these little moulding cradles.

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The moulding can sit in these, and cradle the wood while the clamps do their job on the cradles.

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Also, he bought a cheap, flexible metal yardstick to use on the outside of the form to give more support to the outside to keep the moulding wood from cracking. Doug said, “That didn’t really help, because it still cracked some.” Of course, optimistic me wonders if the cracking might’ve been worse without it. Who knows. It was a $3 buy.

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The other thing we did was raise the form up, to give more room for the clamps.

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Here’s the next try!

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…..And….. it still cracked. Not as bad, but it still cracked. I said, “What if we kerfed it, and THEN steamboxed it?” (I’m using steambox as a verb now.) My suggestion was to kerf the thicker part of the wood, and the use the steambox to do the rest of the job. Of course, I was just going to wing it. Doug decided that our fingers and hands shouldn’t be chopped off, and he made a cool little jig to keep the moulding at the right angle to only cut where we wanted.

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Boom. One kerf down, ninety-billion to go.

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This creates enough saw dust to make sawdust angels.

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And that was the difference. Still, it’s not perfect, and it’s not installed yet, but it’s on the way. We’re both hoping that the small divots and cracks will look fine against the old original wood on the other wall, and that once it’s stained, it’ll be a lot better. I opted to stain after the fact, since this is going to be such a crazy process, and it didn’t make sense to stain something, and then subject it to steam and pressure.  But, at least we finally found something that brought us SOME success!

4 comments

  1. Looking good, you two! Probably for the best that it has some imperfections to start. Then it won’t be so devastating the first time it gets banged up with a piece of furniture or a suitcase.

  2. That looks good! I too am glad not to have the curves, but they look great in that room. I didn’t know the word kerf before your blog. I need to figure out how to use it in a sentence today. . .

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