Yesterday we began the dismantling the Marrett House panels in order to repair the broken stiles and rails. Above, Shawn shows his method for extracting the pins. He drills a tiny hole through the center of the pin, then threads a screw into the hole until it just bites, and then uses a hammer claw and a lot of padding to pry the pin out. This method prevents the blowout and denting that might occur from trying to knock the pin all the way through the joint.
Unbelievably tight joinery made the dismantling process both frustrating and inspiring. We softly tapped a handful of soft-wood wedges into the backside of the joint between stile and rail, and checked again and again to make sure that there were no pins or tiny nails or frass creating the unholy friction that prevented the stile from moving more than 1/32 per tap.
Once we got the stile off, we thought we’d find a fox wedge, but there was none, just incredibly tight joinery, and stunning coping. The interior edge of stiles and rails are decorated with a thumbnail profile, and the thumbnails are coped to one another rather than mitered. Coping is the process by which the negative profile of one molding is cut into the backside of another. Good carpenters cope crown and other moldings when they meet at right angles to one another so that when the joint moves with humidity changes, the molding beneath the cope is revealed, rather than a gap. Some carpenters do it better than others, and this guy was among the neatest I have seen.
I took a lot of photos of the process; click on the slideshow below for more.