Currently in the shop we are building a Tavern Table based upon a design and article Matthew Burak published in American Woodworker magazine in 1995. We are motifying the construction techniques and methods in certain aspects.
One unique aspect of the table is the beading profile applied as a decorative edges. To provide an early look to the bead profile we elected to not use a traditional beading plane that typically has a deep wide fillet and half round profile. We decided to create a flatter profile with a bead width of 3/8″ of an inch. In the 18th century, the cabinetmaker may not have had all the molding profiles to simply strike a 3/8″ bead profile. We achieved this by using three simple tools; the traditional marking gage, a round plane and a snipe bill plane. Below are these tools with a matching pair of snipe bill planes.
Hollows and rounds and marking gages are readily available on the used tool market. The snipe bill plane is much more rare and a very useful tool and deserves several articles on its use and purpose. Several resources are referenced on our main page that provide reproductions of this useful tool. We happen to own a version made by Matt Bickford. Using this plane we created a custom designed bead by first marking a line 3/8″ from the edge of the boards. We then followed that line with a snipe bill plane to a desired depth creating a “quirk” as shown below.
Once this is complete, the round plane is used to shape the bead profile carefully checking the ends until the desired look is achieved. Below is a photo shaping the bead profile with the round plane to its final shape.
The completed bead profile: