Arched crown production without electricity


Well-known member
I am starting a project to make a Roxbury - Aaron Willard type case. I know how to use a shaper and router to create the arched crown molding but how did they do it back in the day? Is there any record or evidence? I have a few ideas on how I might do it including carving and scraping but I wonder if they had some sort of "engine" for the task. What is your most successful method?
+1 carving and scraping.  That's what I did on the Townsend highboy I built.  I broke the profile down into three separate parts and made a scraper for each.  A trick that Al Breed taught me was to make the straight side returns first, then mark the mitered blank directly from the completed return.  This is especially important if the curved molding is not parallel to the floor when it miters with the return, as the profile on the curved molding will be slightly different than the return.  This was the case on the highboy I did, and this tip made all the difference. 
Eugene Landon had an article in Fine Woodworking I believe, a number of years ago and that is exactly how he advocated constructing the crown moldings. I have used that method of carving;  then making scrapers to remove all the bumps and valleys. It takes some time but is not that hard.

David Turner
Plymouth, MI.