80″ rabbet and 150+ year old plane

I set forth to make an item for my house, a length of trim for the front of my fireplace which conceals a speaker cable.  The piece stared with an 8 ft length of 1×2 red oak.  A rabbet was to be cut on the bottom, back edge to match the size of the speaker cable.  I needed an 80″ run to cover the fireplace front and a short length on either side mitered to conceal the cable as it wrapped around the hearth.  One immediate dilemma was that I only have a 5 ft bench, it is hard to plane items longer than ones bench.  So using a length of 1×4 pine, a piece of remnant moulding from my door project (3/8″ thick stop), and a screw, I fashioned a long sticking board that was secured to the bench using holdfasts.

I placed the piece in the sticking board and got out my wooden moving fillister plane, a pre-civil war English made example I got at the tool store about the Woodwright’s School.  I next adjusted the fence and depth stop to match the rabbet size I needed.  Then I set the depth of cut using my plane hammer.  I began on the far end of the board and worked carefully to define the shoulder down the piece’s entire length.  With shoulder defined, I worked the entire rabbet while walking down the length of the board.  I was amazed how easy it was cut such a long joint with this set up.  I did take some time given the rabbet depth and my son and father-in-law sat on the bench to keep it more stable as I worked.  After some time, a beautiful pile of red oak curls lay about and the rabbet was done.  I next rounded over the face edge with my block plane so the piece had the appearance of a quarter round.  I cut the miters for the end pieces and secured them with screws through the miter.  Given that one would have to crawl on the floor to see the screws, the work did not require a more elegant fastening approach.  Dropped the piece into place and the trim now covers the cable in question.

 

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