Lamb’s Tongue

A couple of years ago I bought the Moxon Vise hardware from Benchcrafted and quickly threw it together with a couple pieces of maple. I had intended to cut a chamfer and lamb’s tongue across the top front but other things took priority. Last night I decided to get it done. To my surprise it was easy and quick. I was in the shop for about two hours and most of that time was spent sharpening the blade of my spokeshave.

Lambs Tongue1 Lambs Tongue2

I started by laying out for the chamfer with a marking gauge. I’m not sure what the dimensions are, I just picked something that looked good. I went across the top and face of the board with this setting. Then I took the same setting and marked a piece of scrap to use as a template for the ogee that makes the lamb’s tongue.

Next I took a set of dividers and set them for the same distance as the marking gauge setting. On the template I put one leg of the dividers about halfway between the marks I made with the cutting gauge. This gave me an approximate idea of where the other leg should be on the vertical for swinging the arc. Then I moved the same leg to the intersection of end of the template and the line made by the cutting gauge to find the horizontal point. This located the point from where I would swing the arc.

Once I had the first arc created, I did the same thing off the other edge of the template using another piece of scrap to extend the dividers onto. The only difference is that my points of reference were the end of the previous arc and the edge of the template.

After getting things laid out I simply cut the template to shape with a coping saw and cleaned it up with a small rasp. Once the template was finished I eyeballed where I wanted the ends of the lamb’s tongue to be and traced it out between the lines made by the marking gauge.

Having all my lines laid out, I moved on to cutting the chamfer. I used a cross cut saw to define the inside ends of the lamb’s tongue and then moved on cutting diagonally between my lines about every inch. Then I just took a wide chisel and knocked out all the waste down to the line. This left some nice saw marks in the bottom that I could use to gauge the depth of the chamfer.

The next step was to use a flat bottom spokeshave to clean up the chamfer and remove all the saw marks. My spokeshave was dull, so I spent a little time getting it in shape. I couldn’t get into the corners with the spokeshave so I just used a wide chisel to bring the ends down.

Then I cut the lamb’s tongue on each end with a bench chisel with the bevel down. Essentially, I was just scooping things out and following the lines. The first one was really easy and only took a couple of minutes to complete because I was cutting with the grain. The second one was a little bit of a challenge and I had to take smaller cuts. After they were cut I finished up with a rasp and some sandpaper.

If you want to try this out, Christopher Schwarz wrote a good article on how to do this here. My method is a little different but the results are the same.

Now I’m thinking of rounding over the ends and doing some sort of decorative inlay on the front just for fun.

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