At last, the time had come to fit the cove molding to the frame-and-panels. Most conventional wisdom says to cut the trim to precise length, and then miter the ends. While this works up to a point, I’ve found that a modified version is easier for me. This is how I do it:
I start by cutting a piece of molding to just slightly oversize, and then saw to this length. As you may recall from a couple of posts back, I marked one face of the molding to keep any asymmetry coordinated, and reduce any irregularities between pieces. I now take care to keep this mark oriented against the frame, not the panel. The white on the panel is primer, applied to reduce any chance of bare wood peeping if the panel shrinks.
Rather than trim square to precise length, I go ahead and cut a miter on one end using the miter shooting board, continuing until the piece fits in place in the frame. The next step is to miter the other end just to a point, keeping that good fit.
The photo above shows how the mark on the back helps keep the pieces oriented during the various manipulations.
Once the first piece is in place, I repeated the process with its neighbor, starting with the end that butts into the first piece. Then, I shot the miter on the other end to fit. I’ve found that, even if you cut all the pieces to precise lengths, their interactions with each other inevitably require a bit of further shooting to get everything to play nicely together. For me, it’s easier to fit as a single operation rather than two distinct steps. The pieces are small enough that shooting requires very little effort. Just don’t forget your wax!
Once all the parts are settled into their respective places, I applied glue to just the side facing the frame, not the panel (remember the black mark?), and then held it in place with 23 gauge pins until the glue dried. (Haven’t I heard that somewhere before?) That way, the panels can expand and contract freely without trying to take the molding with it.
With all the molding in place, the time had finally arrived. The joints were glued, and the assembly went into the clamps. Suddenly, the group of flat panels was starting to look like a blanket chest.
Next time, I’ll add the bottom. Stay tuned!