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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-06-2016, 12:47 AM Thread Starter
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Default Historically accurate router bits

I specialize in historic window and door restoration. I am getting more and more into making new sashes and parts for old sashes. I cannot find anywhere, historically accurate router bits for making window sashes. None of the bits I can find even come close to matching the profiles of these old windows. Short of having a set custom made. Where can I possibly find something accurate. If I wasnt trying to match old work It wouldn't be an issue. Either they all are closer to an ogee bit or they dont cut a narrow enough profile.
Thanx for the help.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-06-2016, 01:06 AM
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Hello Albert, welcome to the forum.

I wonder if you might search under shaper cutters as well as router bits. It seems to me that I may have read something about some of the old shapes in an advertisement from Lee Valley many years ago.

Or try contacting someone who is involved in restoration of the older buildings. Maybe the Smithsonian can help you with information.

Short of that, you may well need to have custom bits or cutters ground to your preferred profiles.

Our Senior Guru here, Stick486 may have more information. There's not much he doesn't know about the subject. I'm sure he will see this.

If you get a minute or three, fill out your profile a bit...thanks. We like to know who we are picking on!
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-06-2016, 05:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by albertk View Post
I specialize in historic window and door restoration. I am getting more and more into making new sashes and parts for old sashes. I cannot find anywhere, historically accurate router bits for making window sashes. None of the bits I can find even come close to matching the profiles of these old windows. Short of having a set custom made. Where can I possibly find something accurate. If I wasnt trying to match old work It wouldn't be an issue. Either they all are closer to an ogee bit or they dont cut a narrow enough profile.
Thanx for the help.
Hello Albert (hope I gots that right) and welcome to the forums...

I believe the vast majority of the antique profiles you are looking for won't be had in a router bits(s) unless you have them made to your specifications...
you may be able to find them in shaper cutters...
have you checked your profiles against what is commercially available in moldings.. a near hit will equal a shaper cutter...

you could go IRL old world and make those profiles the way they were more than likely made and use a Stanley 45 or 55 plane, Sargent 1085 or the like, or with one of the planes in the pictures...


.


.

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If only new layers hadn't been added....

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-06-2016, 06:06 AM
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this picture will give you and idea of what you are up against...
have you considered making your own planes???
Moulding Planes: Where to Start | Lost Art Press
Molding Planes at The Best Things
The Village Carpenter: Making Moulding Planes
not to mention what is on YouTube...

.



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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-06-2016, 06:08 AM
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how come answering this thread made my arms and shoulders ache...

This would have been the week that I'd have finished chewing thru the restraints...
If only new layers hadn't been added....

Stick....
Forget the primal scream, just ROAR!!!
"SNORK Mountain Congressional Library and Taxidermy”
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-06-2016, 07:23 AM
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Welcome to the Forum. I think Stick has pegged it for pre electricity moldings. The are most likely to have been hand made using a plane. Ordering a custom made, large bit for either a router or shaper is going to be expensive for your customer, since they have to pay for everything. Making a plane is going to be expensive as well, but you are not trying to replace long lengths of molding, so hand planing is likely to be a good option.

Finding old planes that match old parts like that seems a near hopeless approach to exact matching existing, antique parts. It seems to me that the leads in Stick's links to plane making instructors might be a good way to find someone you could work with to make planes that work.

I'd also suggest you recommend to all customers who choose to have exact match materials buy lots of spare material so they have spares in reserve for when other windows deteriorate or fail.

For plane making, I found a good source of oversized material for the body are turning blanks for a wood lathe. Some really nice, seasoned stock out there.

I am a very marketing oriented guy, and I can see you making videos and planting stories with lots of pictures in antique oriented publications and websites about how you do each and every job. Some clients might like that, and certainly local and regional magazines and even local papers would love to print such a spread. That would get the word out fast among the right people, and I'd make sure you clipped and sent a copy of each article and a letter and emails to antique dealers and other restoration oriented craftsmen, and to museum directors so they got to know you. I bet that would really produce access to some high paying restoration work. And specialty bit makers would soon direct people to you as well. You might also grow to love doing this kind of work. Or, you could team up with someone who has learned to make custom planes. Lots of possibilities here.

In any geographic area, I bet many of the parts you're trying to duplicate were made in the same local or regional shop. So if your customer invests in a plane or bit, you might be able to use it on more than one job. A piece of the old molding will give you a profile you could cut into a new plane or have cut into a new bit.

Either way, authentic parts are not going to be cheap and most of your customers should have a choice.

1. pay for a new commercially made bit.
2. pay for a custom made plane and hand work.
3. settle for a workable replacement using closest match material you can find and replacing all parts on all windows so they all match.

Whichever choice they make it is going to be expensive, but that's the way it is with authentic restoration, isn't it?

Personally, I'd really look into making custom planes. Once you get good at it, I bet there are museums and networks of customers who insist on authenticity, and that word will spread about you as the go-to specialist, if it hasn't already.
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Last edited by DesertRatTom; 04-06-2016 at 07:34 AM. Reason: Additional thoughts.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-06-2016, 10:02 AM
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Welcome, AlbertK. Good to have you. Enjoy our site, and help us learn through our pictures and writing.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-06-2016, 11:02 AM
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Hi Albert and welcome. I know Lee Valley had copied a few of the old Stanley molding plane profiles but there were a lot of them. Whiteside will make custom profiles I`ve been told but it will be pricey as you suspected.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-06-2016, 12:15 PM
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Hey, Albert; Welcome!
I'm very familiar with your situation. I discovered early on in my renovating career that those old profiles varied from job to job...even if they sort of looked the same.
I just told our clients right up front that recreating matching profiles was going to be expensive. It's all custom work requiring custom ground shaper bits and custom millwork. Period....$$$$$
In some cases we lucked out and previous owners had removed casings and mouldings, storing them in the basement or garage.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-06-2016, 12:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DesertRatTom View Post

Either way, authentic parts are not going to be cheap and most of your customers should have a choice.

1. pay for a new commercially made bit.
2. pay for a custom made plane and hand work.
3. settle for a workable replacement using closest match material you can find and replacing all parts on all windows so they all match.

Whichever choice they make it is going to be expensive, but that's the way it is with authentic restoration, isn't it?

Personally, I'd really look into making custom planes. Once you get good at it, I bet there are museums and networks of customers who insist on authenticity, and that word will spread about you as the go-to specialist, if it hasn't already.
As Tom points out there are several options you can consider.

If you are just replacing a small portion of the trim on a project as most restoration projects go then it would probably be best to make your own scraper plane for the job. Each plane you make can be added to your collection and you might find that you can use the plane on other jobs.

If you are replacing the majority of the trim it might be cheaper for you to have a router bit produced for that job but you do have to remember you are restoration work and some projects will require that the parts replaced be made like the original parts were produced.

If it were me I would make the planes and display them proudly for customers to see when they visit your shop looking for someone to do a quality restoration for them.

Mike
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