Cabinet maker says he can't make curved cornices

gopackMarch 24, 2008


I have never visited this board before- I am usually on the Kitchen or Bathroom board. We are building a custom home and I met with the cabinet man last week. (This is the cabinet maker my builder uses and he does very nice work.) I had alot of pictures of details I want in our new French Country kitchen. Many of the photos showed a curved cornice on top of a cabinet. I would like this type of detail over our built in refrigerator and some other places. I want to add some nice appliques also to dress things up.

The cabinet man said he cannot make these curved cornice tops because it requres some special tool that will allow a person to add curved crown molding to the sides and the front of the design.

I have seen this done in many kitchen photos and I am disappointed that he can't make them.

Is this something that requires a lot of skill and special tools??? Is it something that most people don't do? I am just curious if I need to perhaps talk to another cabinet maker.

Thanks for any helpful info on this.


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Curved work requires special knowledge and equipment. The equipment is large and heavy, and really dangerous if he's not experienced. Fine Woodworking mag does articles on curved work techniques. To make a curved crown molding you need a 1.25" spindle shaper, bearing guide and a custom jig. And a cutter (blade) that may run $300 or more.
There are several shops that ship nationwide that will make curved work to your specifications; I found some online two years ago, sry, did not bookmark them.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2008 at 7:43AM
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Our shop did something like what you are talking about for a gentleman back east (Washington), and we don't have any special tools. Give us a try, my boss would probably like talking with you.
Chek out our website:

    Bookmark   March 27, 2008 at 11:46PM
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can't he buy precut pieces?

And simply stain them to match?

Ask him to show you what sorts of precut pieces he could have access to, and see if there's anything there that will give you something similar to what you like.

Maybe there's a custom millwork place he could turn to for just that piece?
like this custom place or two?

If it's going to add a lot to the cost (though these guys say "no matter what your budget"--though I see they show only doorways), you could decide only to have one, or something.

Search on "curved" and "millwork"

Here's another one:

These guys look like they have a helpful and persuasive website.

Then your cabinet guy could do the box, and apply the cornice.

(of course, I don't know if it's hard to do a curved top of the cabinet, but he could do it w/ a slightly octagonal treatment, and have the curve be on the door and on the cornice.

Here is a link that might be useful: some place like this?

    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 12:58PM
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I do a lot of projects with radiused crowns and can assure you that it is an incredibly labor and tool intensive process.

You need jigs matched to the radius as well as shapers and knives. Just setting up the shaper can take hours. The profiles have to match perfectly. While it is possible to do a one off for a project the price would be outrageous. Many cabinet shops use off the shelf crowns and don't own cutters for the profiles. So assuming they even own the machine you could be looking at a set of knives, a forming jig, a machine jig + nmaterial and labor. Then the experience to install it.

It may be hard to believe but if I had to quote a pair of custom radiused crown it would be in the $2000+ range.

There are many shops that are equipped to do it but without the entire job it is unlikely that they want that small aggravating part of a project.

My advice is to live with what they offer or find a top of the line full custom shop that can handle those mouldings.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 7:28AM
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Ginny - Try they have lots of these types of things in various wood that you can add to your kitchen. That is what I am cabinet maker is not making them himself.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 2:39PM
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