Carving Vise for Mouldings

I was asked to bid this job as well as provide some samples of the completed mouldings.  These pieces are in Mahogany and the total job will require 590 ft. of each piece of trim. The larger one is 9/16th inch wide and the smaller one is 3/8ths inch wide. Not very wide as moulding goes but these will serve as trim for custom made Mahogany doors where the moulding will fit into panels in the doors.

In order to carve pieces like this I needed some way to hold them securely without damaging the pieces and have full access to them when in the process of carving. Also I wanted a jig of some sort to hold either piece. I came up with this idea of a vise that would accomplish everything I wanted. It had to be quick to open and close. Hold the pieces securely. Not interfere with the carving nor damage the finished carving in any way since they are so small and delicate.

I used some Cherry stock and made a bed. Along the face I added a fence if you will to act as a stop for the moulding to sit against. What holds the moulding in place is a sliding table that presses against the back of the moulding effectively pushing it against the fence. A pair of wheels along the back exert the force against the sliding table.

In the bed I inserted a pair of threaded rods. I made the wheels out of two pieces into which one piece I inlaid a square nut before gluing the pieces together. With a hole passing through the wheels I basically capture the nut inside which made essentially a large nut that when threaded on to the rod and tightened it gives the force against the sliding table to tighten it against the moulding. Sounds odd but the photos will show it clearly ( I hope )

Also for doing repetitive pieces as this moulding is it’s necessary to have a pattern of some sort to rapidly and consistently draw the pattern. For the lengths needed here or in cases where many repeats are necessary of a design using paper and tracing just doesn’t work at all. I made these templates for each strip of moulding out of thin sheets of aluminum bent to the shape of the moulding. Many times I’ll use chisels to cut them out once the pattern is on the aluminum but in this case since the designs are so small I used a burr to cut out the templates.

If the template needed will be used on flat pieces instead of moulding for example, I often use the plastic “For Sale” signs. It’s easy to work and holds up well for repeated use.

This is the door moulding that will fit into inset panels in the Mahogany doors. The larger outside moulding is approx. 9/16 and the inner piece is 3/8. I don't have to make the section with the flutes or the rosette corner block.

This is the door moulding that will fit into inset panels in the Mahogany doors. The larger outside moulding is approx. 9/16 and the inner piece is 3/8. I don’t have to make the section with the flutes or the rosette corner block.

 

Here is the broken down carving vise I made to hold the mouldings.

 

On the bottom you can see the bed with the pair of threaded rods inserted into it. Along the front of this bed is a flange that the moulding will sit against. The upper piece is the sliding table that will press against the moulding. And the wheels with the capture nut inside act as large nuts to provide the force against the sliding table.

On the bottom you can see the bed with the pair of threaded rods inserted into it. Along the front of this bed is a flange that the moulding will sit against. The upper piece is the sliding table that will press against the moulding. And the wheels with the capture nut inside act as large nuts to provide the force against the sliding table.

 

Here you can see the table tilted up where the threaded rods pass through it. The slots in the table are for screws that will keep the table snug against the bed as the screws aren't tightened securely but just enough to keep the table against the bed.

Here you can see the table tilted up where the threaded rods pass through it. The slots in the table are for screws that will keep the table snug against the bed as the screws aren’t tightened securely but just enough to keep the table against the bed.

 

The side view might clear things up a bit as you can see how the two pieces now fit together with the small trough along the front is where the moulding will be inserted and clamped in place once the wheels are spun on the threaded rod.

The side view might clear things up a bit as you can see how the two pieces now fit together with the small trough along the front is where the moulding will be inserted and clamped in place once the wheels are spun on the threaded rod.

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The smaller piece of moulding has been put in place and by turning the wheels gets clamped tightly in place.

The smaller piece of moulding has been put in place and by turning the wheels gets clamped tightly in place.

 

These small pieces of wood act as thumb catches to allow me to slide the table to release the mouldings. The screws aren't put in tightly as they merely act to keep the table from lifting from the bed. Since it's a bit snug the thumb pulls come in handy.

These small pieces of wood act as thumb catches to allow me to slide the table to release the mouldings. The screws aren’t put in tightly as they merely act to keep the table from lifting from the bed. Since it’s a bit snug the thumb pulls come in handy after releasing the tension from the wheels and sliding the table back a bit.

 

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The aluminum template for the smaller piece of moulding. All totaled there will be approximately 22,000 of these small leaves that will need to be carved .

The aluminum template for the smaller piece of moulding. All totaled there will be approximately 22,000 of these small leaves that will need to be carved .

 

Slightly blurred but you can see the size of the mouldings and how small the actual carving will be.

Slightly blurred but you can see the size of the mouldings and how small the actual carving will be.

 

The template for the larger moulding is show here along with how the template can easily transfer the design to the strips of wood.

The template for the larger moulding is show here along with how the template can easily transfer the design to the strips of wood.

 

I mounted the vise to a swivel base so I can tilt it to the ideal carving angle. Doing 1180 ft of moulding comfort , ease of accessability and speed are very important. Here you can also see that there are no obstructions to get in the way of carving.

I mounted the vise to a swivel base so I can tilt it to the ideal carving angle. Doing 1180 ft of moulding comfort , ease of accessability and speed are very important. Here you can also see that there are no obstructions to get in the way of carving.

 

IMG_5661

A close up of each of the mouldings and you can see that the large (?) leaf design is about the size of my thumbnail!

A close up of each of the mouldings and you can see that the large (?) leaf design is about the size of my thumbnail!

 

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Various angles of the sample I carved. I used a cut out of the design they sent to fill in in between the two pieces of moulding just to get an idea of what it will look like.   Another thing to consider is that the runs will not all be equal so the design has to be adjusted over its length to allow for miters and variations in length and still have each corner end up looking perfect and have all the spacings the same.

Various angles of the sample I carved. I used a cut out of the design they sent to fill in in between the two pieces of moulding just to get an idea of what it will look like.
Another thing to consider is that the runs will not all be equal so the design has to be adjusted over its length to allow for miters and variations in length and still have each corner end up looking perfect and have all the spacings the same.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. dorisfiebig
    Jun 07, 2013 @ 23:34:48

    oh my god, mark, 22000 of these small carvings! i am glad to read that you began this huge workload with inventing everything to help the work. this holdung jig is great! i always loved your jigs you create, they are art pieces in themselves 🙂

    Reply

  2. mark
    Jun 08, 2013 @ 00:51:05

    Yes, if I calculated it correctly with roughly one per inch of the large moulding design and three per inch of the smaller design. Now,, who want’s to be a full time wood carver?
    I had a strong feeling about getting the job so I didn’t mind taking a bit of time to build the vise. Even if I didn’t get the job it was well worth the small amount of time to be able to hold the pieces correctly and do a good job even if it only was going to be the samples.
    Funny thing about these jigs and such that I make. Once done it seems the logical solution to the problem. But the designs and variations that ran through my mind as I was designing it and choosing the best ideas to bring forth is the most fun and challenging part of building them. Once done and you look at it you think ” But of course,, what else would you have built?” Finding the solution is the challenge.
    And , I had to make it nice looking and finished because if I’m going to be sitting there for several months using it, it better be nice and comfortable to use. All these little things add up when doing a large job such as this.
    Lets face it, I’ll turn myself into a human typewriter. chip, chip, chip, chip, Ping, return, chip , chip, chip , chip, Ping,, etc…
    That’s how it’s done. Not one at a time but a dozen of the same cuts along the length, return, another dozen of another cut etc. Adds to the accuracy of each piece.

    Reply

  3. Mike Allen
    Jun 13, 2013 @ 00:31:24

    Well done, Mark. The jigs and templates make the job doable. I’ve seen some molding jobs others have done, and it’s just mind-numbing to think of the repetitions. A rolling task chair or stool helps a lot. Let us see the final product. Mike

    Reply

  4. markyundt
    Jun 13, 2013 @ 02:31:52

    Chances are as it is with most all of my work I won’t get to see the finished product. Seldom do I even buy wood. Stock gets sent to me, I carve it and ship it out. Just the other day I joked with my wife that I had to put gas in my van this year!
    The numbers are mind numbing to say the least. But I remember a summer where 900 ft of egg and dart got done in Oak, Cherry, Pine, Basswood and I had a blast. It becomes a challenge to see just how many feet you can do a day. Turn yourself into a human typewriter as I’ve said and go at it. It’s a Zen thing I guess. It’s also a nice Banking thing as well. That in itself is mind numbing but I think I can deal with it!

    Reply

  5. karin corbin
    Feb 02, 2015 @ 22:35:41

    I love this vise, I plan to make one for myself. Thanks for showing it with the swivel vise as I have one of those too. I have the vise mounted to a hideahorse folding wooden sawhorse so I can work outside on nice days.

    Reply

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