The mould frame is finished, a backing and a facing have been made for it. Now the parts are fitted together prior to sewing the wires to the ribs.
Fitting the Backing
The twists on one side are trimmed to fit into the notches cut in the frame. The backing has been made wider than needed and with several narrower spaces along one side. Trimming away one, two or three of these spaces (or none) allows the width of the backing web to be adjusted to closely fit the space. If you look closely you can see that the last four wires are closer together than the rest; in this case it worked best to leave three of the narrow spaces along the edge.
The far side of the backing has been taped to the frame and the extra part is being cut off.
One more laid wire needs to be removed.
Now the other side can be taped in place. For now it is only necessary to tape the wire to the mould in every fourth space between ribs.
The chain wire on each end will need to be pushed along the laid wires and re-located. A fingernail will suffice, or an old credit card. It should be moved gradually, with care taken not to bend or stretch the wires.
The laid backing wires are trimmed to fit down into the lowest ledge.
Sometimes the chain wires need to be moved a bit closer to the ribs before putting on the facing.
The backing is fitted and the mould is ready for the facing.
Fitting the Laid Facing
Laid facings also need to be trimmed to fit.
The far side has been taped in place; now some extra laid wires need to be removed to narrow the facing.
You can see that five laid wires were pulled out.
Removing the laid wires has loosened the chain wires so the twists need tightening. These parallel action pliers are useful for this because the mechanism is stiff and they hold onto the wire by themselves after being squeezed. This makes it easy to tighten the twists since you don’t have to squeeze and turn at the same time.
The tightened twists are shortened to fit in the notches.
The laid facing its carefully marked so that it will drop into the shallow ledge after trimming.
Above every rib a bridge wire is fed into the space between facing and backing and alongside the upper and lower chain wires. The bridge wires at the ends of the mould will be added later, after sewing has been completed.
The facing has been taped every fourth space between ribs. More strips of tape are now added to narrow the spacing to every other rib. This way every chain wire is tugged on equally to better align the facing while it is sewn to the ribs.
Overlapping layers of tape are applied over the ends, then a strip of tape is run all the way around the outside of the mould to keep all the other tape from coming loose. (The tape sticks better to itself than to the oiled wood.) The tape prevents the exposed wire ends from being caught and damaged while the mould is being sewn. A narrow strip (green here) protects the twists. It is narrow enough to leave the scribed lines visible along the edges. This helps when adjusting the chain wire to align with these marks.
Preparing a rib for sewing. Starting at a middle rib and working outwards a chain wire cluster will be sewn to each rib with wire. First the upper chain wire is nudged into a straight line aligning with the scribed mark at each end. The lower chain wire and the bridge wire are then coaxed into place (with the tool shown below) to lie right alongside each other on top of the narrow rib. In the photo the middle rib is ready to be sewn. You can see that chain wires on the other two have not yet been aligned.
This dental tool is used to reach down between the laid facing wires to move the backing chain wires and bridge wires into place. It is called a “double ended cowhorn explorer”. It is also used a lot while sewing to help handle the wire.