How to Make a Wood Rope Moulding

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Wood rope moulding is a type of decorative trim carved from wood, but shaped like the coils of old-fashioned rope. Rope moulding gives an antique-style touch to cabinetry and other wooden house fixtures. It is also simple enough in shape that you can create it yourself to give your remodeling project a personalized, handmade touch while achieving the precise shape of moulding you want.

Things You'll Need

  • Twine
  • Thumbtacks
  • 1/2-inch-diameter wooden dowel
  • Carpenter's pencil
  • Rotary power tool
  • Conical wood carving bit
  • Table saw, band saw or scroll saw
  • Wood pushing stick or 10-inch-long wood scrap
  • Tie a knot in the end of the twine. Press a thumbtack through the middle of the knot and into the center of the end of the dowel to secure it.

  • Wrap the twine in a spiral shape from the pinned knot down the length of the dowel. Space the coils of the twine at whatever distance from each other you like, but keep the spaces the same for a consistent look.

  • Attach the twine to the opposite end of the dowel with a second knot and tack. Keep the twine taut. Cut the twine from the ball or spool.

  • Trace the line of the twine around the dowel using a carpenter's pencil. Place the pencil line all on the same side of the twine, whether above or below it. Make the line thick and strong.

  • Remove the twine and tacks from the dowel.

  • Fit the rotary power tool with a conical wood carving bit. Turn on the tool and set it to a medium speed setting; adjust this later, as needed, if you wish.

  • Carve a groove into the dowel along the pencil line. Press the pointed tip of the carving bit into the line as you go and let it carve the deepest part of the groove over the line as the edges of the bit carve along the sides of the line. Move the tool slowly, but steadily, down the length of the dowel. Run the tool over the groove repeatedly until the latter is ¼ inch deep.

  • Shape the edges of the groove with the tool to round them. Continue rounding until the wood between the grooves resembles the shape of rope coils.

  • Use the power saw to cut the dowel in half down its length, forming two half-cylinder shapes. Push the dowel from the back to keep your hands away from the blade. Push the dowel the last few inches using a thick piece of scrap wood.

  • Repeat all steps on additional dowels to create as much trim as you need.

Tips & Warnings

  • When selecting dowels for this project, check them for straightness; some dowels will have a natural warp or bend to them.
  • Follow all manufacturer's instructions and warnings when operating a power saw. Do not operate alone.

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References

  • "The Complete Manual of Woodworking"; Albert Jackson and David Day
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