Draw a Scotia, Ogee, Cima-recta & Cima-reversa

mouldings2.jpgA scotia is a concave moulding receding at the top, and pro­jecting at the bottom, which in this respect is contrary both to the ovolo and cavetto; it is also to be observed, that its profile consists of two quadrants of circles of different radii, or it may be consi­dered as a semi-ellipse taken upon two conjugate diameters, Fig. 9.

To describe the scotia, divide the height A B into three equal parts, at the point 2 draw the line 2 C D, being one-third from the top, draw E C perpendicular to C D, with the centre C and distance C E describe the quadrant E F; take the height A 2 and make F D equal to it: draw D G perpendicular to FD, from D with the distance D F describe the arc F G, and E F G will be the profile of the scotia. This moulding is peculiarly applied to the bases of columns, and makes a distinguishing line of shadow between the torii.

The ogee is a moulding of contrary curvature, and is of two kinds: when the profile of the projecting part is concave, and consequently the receding part convex, the ogee is called a cima-recta, Figs. 10 and 11 ; and when the contrary, it is then called a cima-reversa, Fig. 12.

To describe the cima-recta when the projection of the moulding is equal to its height, and when required to be of a thick curvature, Fig. 10. Join the projections of the fillets A and B by the straight line A B; bisect A B at C, draw E C D parallel to the fillet F A, draw A D and B E perpendicular to F B; from the point E describe the quadrant B C, and from the point D describe the quadrant A C, then B C A is the profile.

To describe the cima-recta when the height and projection are unequal, and when it is required to be of a flat curvature, Fig. 11. Join A B and bisect it in C, with the distance B C or C A from the point A describe the arc C D, from C with the same radius describe the arc A D cutting the former in D, the foot of the compass still remaining in C describe the arc B E, from B with the same radius describe the arc C E, from the point D describe the arc A C, from the point E describe the arc C B, then will A C B be the profile required.

The cima-reversa, Fig, 12, is described in the same manner.

Quirk mouldings sometimes occasion confusion as to their figure particularly when removed from the eye, so as frequently to make one moulding appear as two.

Click here for Part 1: Astragal, Beads, Torus, Ovolo & Cavetto.

From “Mechanic’s Companion.”

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Astragal, Beads, Torus, Ovolo & Cavetto

mouldingsAn astragal is a moulding of a semi-circular profile; its construction is so simple that it would be unnecessary to say any thing concerning it. Fig. 1.

There are two kinds of beads, one is called a cocked bead, when it projects beyond the surface to which it is attached, see Fig. 2; and the other is called a sunk bead, when the sinking is depressed beneath the surface of the material to which it is at­tached, that is, when the most prominent part of the bead is in the same surface with that of the material, Fig. 3.

A torus in architecture is a moulding of the same profile as a bead; the only difference is, when the two are combined in the same piece of work, the torus is of greater magnitude, as Fig. 4; in Joinery the torus is always accompanied with a fillet. Fig. 5. single torus moulding.

The Roman ovolo or quarter round, as called by joiners, is the quadrant of a circle, Fig. 6. When the projection and height are unequal, as in Fig. 7, take the height B C, and from the point B describe an arc at C, and with the same radius from A, describe another arc cutting the former at D, with the distance A D or D B describe the profile A B. This is generally accompanied with fillets above and below, as in Fig. 7.

The cavetto is a concave moulding, the regular profile of which is the quadrant of a circle, Fig. 8; its description is the same as the ovolo.

Check back for Figs. 9-12, the scotia, ogee, cima-recta cima-reversa

From Peter Nicholson’s “Mechanic’s Companion

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Bookcase Catch-Up


Paul, Neil, Laurence, Bob, Jon, Ethan and me (from l).

Last weekend, I helped to birth six new boarded bookcases (based on Christopher Schwarz’s plans in “The Anarchist’s Design Book“); I, however, am still in labor. Whenever I teach, I prep wood for a build of my own, but I have yet to finish a project in class.

I have in my basement and the back of my car at least five Shaker silverware trays with two of the dovetailed corners fully cut and fit, and the third and fourth corners begun. I have three Dutch tool chests, all with the shelf dados cut and the dovetailed carcases glued up. I have a Shaker stepstool with one dovetailed sided fully cut and fit (including the back rail and step rails…on just one side). And I have goodness knows how many other half-built projects from classes kicking around.

I get started along with students, using my own pieces to demonstrate each step, then I leave them to it as I walk around to lend a hand or suggestion as needed. I almost never manage to get back to my own project (and I typically lend out my tools, which makes it difficult to work).

The bookcase, however, I am determined to finish. We need another one in the shop, and there’s no more room in my car for another half-built thing (especially one this large).

So after taking the day off yesterday to sleep in and be lazy (and do some editing on the computer), today I popped over the river to finish the dados and grooves on my second side.

IMG_9864 copy

Groove for the back rail. And oops – a wee overcut on the left wall.

I have the case in clamps now with the glue drying. Tomorrow, I’ll drill pilots and drive the nails, then process enough lumber for my backboards (because I either underestimated how much wood I needed for seven bookcases, or I was shorted a bit). I think I’ll go with a tongue-and-groove back – the no. 48 plane is just too much fun to not use.


My next class is another Dutch Tool Chest (Sept. 22). Perhaps I’ll be savvy enough to bring in one of the half-done ones on which to work. Sure, I’ll have to start a new one to demonstrate the joinery, but maybe while the class is cutting those dovetails, I can get ahead on the last one and be three-quarters done.

Just a heads up: We’ll be announcing some early 2019 classes at the not-a-school at Lost Art Press in October.

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Iron & Fire


Sure, I love “Mechanic’s Companion” for the Carpentry, Woodworking and Turning sections. But Peter Nicholson also covers the early 1800s tools and trades of many of the other skills that go into making a building: Bricklaying, Masonry, Slating, Plastering and Smithing.

I’ll likely never build a forge – but I do love good, hand-forged ironwork (would that I could afford it for all my hardware needs!), and the plates in the Smithing section are lovely (one is shown above).

Below is the introduction, and description of the forge.

SMITHING is the art of uniting several lumps of iron into one mass, and of forming any lump or mass of iron into any intended [shape].
§1. Description of the Forge. PL. 33.
The forge consists of a brick hearth raised about two feet six inches, or sometimes two feet nine inches from the floor; heavier work requires a lower forge than lighter work: its breadth must also depend upon the nature of the work ; the brick work may be built hollow below for the purpose of putting things out of the way. The back of the forge is carried up to the top of the roof, and is enclosed over the fire in the form of a funnel to collect and dis­charge the smoke into the flue, the funnel is very wide at its commencement, but decreases rapidly to the flue, whence it is carried up of a proper size to take off the smoke. The wide part is called the hood or hovel, which in modern forges, particularly in London, is constructed of iron. The air drawn in by the bellows is communicated to the fire by means of a taper pipe, the small end of which passes through the back of the forge, and is fixed into a strong iron plate, called a tue.iron or patent back, in order to preserve the bellows and the back of the forge from the injuries of the fire. A trough for coals and another for water are placed on one side of the forge, generally extending the whole breadth. See the Plate.

The best position of the bellows is on a level with the fire-place, but they are frequently placed higher for the purpose of getting room below.

The tools follow.

“Mechanic’s Companion is available direct from my hallway (warehouse) and dining room (shipping department), and from a handful of select woodworking specialty stores, both domestic and international.


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Nicholson’s Indices & ‘Explanation of Terms’

Plate36.2400Among the valuable lessons on offer in “Mechanic’s Companion” are the “Explanation of Terms used in…” at the end of every section – quick definitions of the jargon, with reference to where they’re covered in the text for further reading and elucidation.

Below is the “Index and Explanation of Terms used in Turning:”

N. B. This Mark § refers to the preceding Sections, according to
the Number.

Axis, an imaginary line passing longitudinally through the middle of the body to be turned, from one point to the other of the two cones, by which the work is suspended, or between the back centre and the centre of the collar of the puppet, which sup­ports the end of the mandrel at the chuck.

Back Board, that part of the lathe which is sustained by the four legs, and which sustains the pillars that support the puppet bar. The back board is only used in the best constructed lathes. In the common lathes, the shears or bed are in place of the back board, § 5.
Back Centre, See Centres, and § 5
Band, § 5. See also Cat-gut.
Bearer, that part of the lathe which supports the puppets. § 5
Bed of the Lathe, the same as bearer, which see 3.2.
Boring Collar is the machine having a plate with conical holes of different diameters ; the plate is moveable upon a centre , which is equidistant from the centres or axes of the conic holes; the axes are places in the circumference of a circle. The use  of the boring collar is to support the end of a long body that is to be turned hollow, and, which would otherwise be too long to be supported by a chuck. See Plate XXXV. Fig. 2.

Callipers, compasses with each of the legs bent into the form of a curve, so that when shut, the points are united, and the curves being equal and opposite, enclose a space. The use of the callipers is to try the work in the act of turning, in order to ascertain the diameter or diameters of the various parts. As the points stand nearer together at the greatest required diameter than the parts of the legs above, the callipers are well-adapted to the use intended.
Cat-gut, the string which connects the fly and the mandrel, § 5.
Centres, are the two cones with their axis horizontally posited for sustaining the body while it is turned, § 5.
Cheeks, the shears or bed of the lathe as made with two pieces for conducting the puppets.
Chisel, a flat tool, skewed in a small degree at the end, and bevelled from each side, so as to make the cutting edge in the middle of its thickness, § 9.
Chuck, a piece of wood or metal fixed on the end of the mandrel for keeping fast the body to be turned, § 6.
Circular Turning, § 2.
Collar, a ring inserted in the puppet for holding the end of the mandrel next the chuck, in order to make the spindle run freely and exactly, § 5.
Collar Plate. See Boring Collar.
Connecting Rod. See Crank Hook.
Conical Points, the cones fixed in the pillars for supporting the body to be turned; that on the right hand is called the fore cen­tre, and that on the left hand, the back centre, § 5.
Crank Hook, sometimes called also the connecting rod, as it con nects the treadle and the fly, § 5.
Crank, the part of the axle of the fly, which is bent into three knees or right angles, and three projecting parts; one of the parts is parallel to the axis, and has the upper part of the crank hook collared round it, § 5.

Drill, § 14.

Elliptical Turning, § 25.

Feet, the horizontal pieces on the floor which support the legs of the lathe, § 5.
Flat Tools, § 17.
Fly Wheel, § 5.
Foot Lathe, § 5.
Foot Wheel, or Fly, the wheel or reservoir for preserving and continuing the motion when the force applied by the foot is not acting, § 5.
Fore Center, that on the right hand. See Centres, § 5.

Gouge, the tool for roughing out the work, § 8.

Inside Tools, § 15.

Lathe the machine for holding and giving motion to the body to be turned, when the requisite force is applied.
Lathes, in general use, § 3.
Left-side Tools, § 11.
Legs, the uprights mortised into the feet for sustaining the upper part of the lathe, § 4, 5.

Mandrel, that part of the lathe which revolves the body when turned in a chuck: the pole lathe has no mandrel, § 5.
Mandrel Frame, the two puppets which hold the mandrel; a hardened steel collar being fastened in the fore puppet, and a screw with a conical point in the back puppet.

Nose, that part of the spindle of the mandrel which projects over the puppet to receive the chuck, § 5.

Oval Chuck, § 25.

Parting Tools, § 21.
Pikes, now called conical points, which see.
Pillars, the uprights fixed at the ends of the back board, for supporting the bed of the lathe or puppet bar, § 5.
Pitched, is the placing of the work truly upon the centres.
Point Tool, § 13.
Pole, an elastic rod fixed to the ceiling of the turner’s shop for re-acting by means of the string upon the treadle against the pressure of the foot; the foot draws the string downwards, and the pole exerts its force in drawing it upwards, and consequently should have no more elasticity than what is sufficient for this purpose, as the overplus would only tire the workman, § 4.
Pole Lathe, § 4.
Pulley, § 5.
Puppet Bar. See Bearer.
Puppets, the upright parts for supporting the mandrel, the one on the right being called the fore puppet, and that on the left the back puppet; the screw is fixed on the one, and the mandrel collar on the other puppet, § 5.

Rest, the part of the lathe which sustains the tool while turning, § 4, 5.
Right-side Tools, § 10.
Roughing Out, is the reducing of the substance by means of the gouge, to prepare the surface of the body for smoothing.
Round Tools, § 12.

Screw, the conical points or centres as made with a screw, in order to tighten the work; the screw or screws ought to be kept so tight, that there should be no play, otherwise the work may be in danger of flying out, § 5.
Screw Tools, § 16.
Sheers. See Cheeks or Bed of the Lathe.
Slider, § 25.
Square Tools, § 18.
String, that which connects the treadle and the pole in the pole lathe, and in the foot lathe it passes round the fly-wheel and the pulley of the mandrel in order to turn the latter.
Swash Work, § 29.

Tools, § 7.
Traversing, is moving the gouge to and fro in roughing out the work.
Treadle, the part of the lathe by which the foot communicates its force, and gives motion to all the other moveable parts, § 5.
Triangular Tools, § 19.
Turning in General, § 1.
Turning Gravers, § 20.

Wabble is the shaking of the work in the act of turning, because it is not fixed truly upon the centres.

There are several other terms which are common to smithing and turning. See the Index and Explanation of the Terms to those articles.

Excerpted from Peter Nicholson’s “Mechanic’s Companion.”

Editor’s note: “Wabble” is charming.

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2 Openings in Oct. Coffin/Bookcase Class

IMG_4139 copyBecause life sometimes gets in the way of woodworking (sad but true!), I had two students have to cancel for the Oct. 20-21 Build a Traditional Pine Coffin Class  (we’ll turn the coffin into a bookshelf for use until you need it for its intended purpose). Click the link to register.


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Nancy Hiller in Town Aug. 11!


Nancy Hiller and her Harris Lebus sideboard.

Nancy Hiller is among my favorite people. She is not only a talented woodworker and designer, she’s a good friend and a hilarious one – I always laugh a lot when she’s around. So I’m excited that Nancy will be in town on August 11 at Lost Art Press to sign copies of her latest book, “English Arts & Crafts Furniture” (where I suspect you could cajole her to sign copies of her previous book, “Making Things Work,” too).

The book is a good one – like Nancy, it’s erudite without being stuffy, funny (when appropriate) and full of excellent information. Christopher Schwarz agrees, which is why he’s hosting this event at his storefront, even though “English Arts & Crafts Furniture” was published by Popular Woodworking (the last project I championed there).

Nancy is bringing one of the projects from the book, a C.F. Voysey Two-Heart Chair, for your inspection (another of the projects, a Harris Lebus sideboard is pictured above in the background, on location in the PW photo studio). She’ll also give a short reading from the book…and rumor (rumour?) has it there will be an England-themed piñata filled with English goodies (give me any and all toffee, please!).

The event starts at 7 p.m., and is free, but tickets are required (so that we can stock the fridge and snack table with enough food and drinks for everyone). Click here to register.

I’m hoping I can also entice her over to my house. I could use her expert help in thinking through some design challenges for my bathroom sink!


That damn awkward drain! ARGGGHH!!!! (The sewing machine table is but temporary.)

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