The Society of American Period Furniture Makers

Tools and Techniques => Period design and construction => Topic started by: Fuzz on April 08, 2009, 10:03:40 PM

Title: tombstone panels
Post by: Fuzz on April 08, 2009, 10:03:40 PM
I am looking for instruction regarding 18th century techniques to bevel the curved portion of a tombstone panel. I've asked certain "fine" magazines for help and they made me feel like a hillbilly for wanting to do it this way. I know you guys won't let me down. Thanks!
Title: Re: tombstone panels
Post by: Tom M on April 09, 2009, 03:39:02 PM
I just completed my first tombstone doors last week.  I carved the top.

I laid out the curve with a compass and stabed the curve with a #5, and pared wood away to form the fillet.  The carving became pretty easy once I realized I needed to make a saw cut to separate the curve from the straigh section (I used a dovetail saw and was careful to stop cutting before nicking the raised portion of the panel).  Then I just carved with a 1/2" bench chisel from my marking gage line (which I added after cuting the shape out on a scroll saw).  Since I used bookmatched crotch for the panels, the hardest part was figuring out which direction the grain went.  I used a mallet for most of the work since the wood was so hard, but switched to paring cuts for final shaping. I found using a small skew chisel (single bevel) helped a great deal.  I finished with a cabinet scraper.

After dry assembling the door, I looked for tight points along the bevel (all around) and allignment of the corners of the panel to the frame, and made adjustments as required.  I wanted the panel to be loose enough that it could be shifted slightly after glue-up.  I had been putting off finishing this project for a long time because of these doors, and am now amazed at how easy it was.
Title: Re: tombstone panels
Post by: Fuzz on April 11, 2009, 07:31:25 PM
Thanks Tom. For some reason I always think things should be more difficult than they really are. I'll give your way a go.
Title: Re: tombstone panels
Post by: Tom M on April 12, 2009, 08:49:13 AM
Attached is a picture of the saw cut I mentioned.  Hope this helps.
Title: Re: tombstone panels
Post by: rococojo on April 12, 2009, 07:21:53 PM
Hi fuzz & Tom,
 I've made several of these panels,
 We call them "Fielded and Shaped" panels, they are commonly used on; George 1, Furniture. (1725) In Oak.
"Dresser". I have made oak L shaped, hot water cabinets. To match  an oak "Cloths Press".
 As in their day's. (It would be all done by hand)
So I have always made a scratch block to the same angle as the required shape.
Then used the electric router (all around the panel, to take out the thick in wood in steps), but leaving it over sized? Then finished it with scratch block.
This is easily made just take a: 6"X 2"X1" piece of scarp timber, cut a "Set Square"shape.this is to hang over the panel edge,( just as in feature" Scratch box" 09 Jounal. (Fig 7, middle) just cut down the centre of the 1"thin end. to receive, a "Angled" scraper blade, (cut from an old discarded saw blade) a woodscrew each side of blade, to secure it.
 Then just work around the panel, hold as you would a "Marking" gauge, working "Backwards and Forwards", till the block is touching the panel surface, Then a sharp chisel to clean into the sharp corners   this gives the correct hand finish, to the piece.

                                                                     Joseph Hemingway

Title: Re: tombstone panels
Post by: frangallo on July 22, 2009, 12:08:10 AM
Joseph brings into these discussions a remarkable point. It is all too easy for the many of us accustomed to solving problems mechanically to rely perhaps a bit too much on the quick fix. The charm and the beauty of reproduction work depends on the appearance of tooled work. It is no sin to improve on the original model but a certain restraint should be in order to stick to the basic foundations of our work. Obviously the sharp chisel is absolutely necessary for the tombstone panel, but rather than devising an elaborate mechanism for the panel edge I would encourage those who have not done so to use the scratch block Mr. Hemmingway describes. My personal opinion is that the scratch block is a great time saver.