Oak Corner Blocks

A former coworker contacted me recently and asked if I could make some corner blocks for baseboard trim for an older home that he is fixing up. The previous owner had replaced some plaster and lathe walls with drywall and as a result the existing trim as just a tiny bit short at the corners. He hoped to make up the difference with corner blocks.

This was a new experience for me.

I purchased four 2x2x36 inch blocks of oak at Lowes.

Then I cut them into approximately 1 foot lengths.

The oak sticks from Lowes were nominal 2x2s but they measured 1-1/2×1-1/2, so I trimmed them on my table saw. I took 1/4 inch off them which left a rough sawn surface. It may be time to replace the blade on my table saw.

So I ran them across the joiner to clean them up.

After I got all 12 blocks cleaned up, I glued them together in pairs with kraft paper between them. I used Titebond glue.

After they cured overnight, I cleaned up one side of each pair on the joiner, and glued pairs together with kraft paper between them.

After these set overnight, I cleaned up all the faces on the joiner. It took only one or two passes on most of the surfaces.

After the blocks were cleaned up I trimmed each end on the miter saw and then marked and drilled the center on each end. The center was pretty easy to determine. It was the joint where all four sticks came together.

While I was waiting for the glue to dry, I turned a couple test blocks to work out the design I wanted to use. Shown below was the first test. Neither I nor the customer was happy with this.

The second test showed promise, and I knew what improvements I needed to make on the final product. The customer gave the nod and away we went.

To turn them I mounted the blocks of four sticks glued together between centers. I used a steb center on the drive end and a 1/2 inch pointed center on the tailstock end. I marked guide lines on the wood at 1 inch from the end, 1-1/4 inch from the end and 2-1/4 inch from the end.

The guide lines allowed me to see what I wanted to do while the block was turning.

While I had them mounted on the lathe I used my air sander to clean up the surface from the joiner marks and the glue joints.

The design was a bead from the 1-inch mark to the top, a cove at the 1/4 inch mark and a rounded shoulder that started at the 2-1/4 inch mark and rounded in to the cove. Here is a finished block.

I got all three of them turned and they looked pretty close – as the customer said, you can only see one corner at a time, any way.

Next, came the moment of truth, would the block really part nicely at the kraft paper seam? I used a 1 inch chisel and a mallet.

I’m happy to say that they did, and I ended up with 12 corner blocks that were surprisingly similar both in length, squareness and appearance.