Routing a Gooseneck Molding - Popular Woodworking Magazine
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Routing a Gooseneck Molding

Making the molding on the top of this clock required an unusual method of template routing: using an overarm guide (see photo at right). The overarm guide is attached to the top of a router table, and is really just a long arm with a bearing screwed to its end. The bearing rides against the template, and can follow inside or outside curves and straight sections.

The overarm guide allows you to shape a profile that wouldn’t be possible to make with standard bearing-guided bits. Let me walk you through the steps of making this molding, and I’ll show you how the guide works.

Click any image to view a larger version.

1. First, I made a template the shape of the gooseneck’s inside curve. I traced the template onto the workpiece, which at this point is extra-wide, and bandsawed the curve, staying 1/16” away from the line. Next, I fastened the template to the back of the workpiece, installed a flush-trim bit in the router table, and shaped the workpiece to match the template.

2. Next, I shaped a large cove using the overarm guide to bear against the template. This required a number of light cuts, which I accomplished by moving the overarm guide slightly farther back from the cove bit each time. In the final cut, you can see that the center of the bit is offset from the edge of the template. This cut would not have been possible with a bearing-guided bit (unless, of course, it had a custom-made profile).

3. In this step, I cut a small S-shaped curve next to the cove using a standard ogee bit. (I removed the bearing from the bit.) Once more, the overarm guide follows the template. As with the cove bit, this cut would not have been possible with a bearing-guided bit, because the bearing would not have fit within the cove.

4. To complete the profile, I flipped over the workpiece and template, and used a roundover bit. This specialty bit has a bottom bearing which rides directly on the workpiece.

5. I completed the molding by bandsawing the outside curve, then smoothed the curve with an oscillating spindle sander.

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