Good Resources : How To Crown Molding and Trim

kathryndOctober 8, 2009


We are about to venture into creating molding and trim in our circa 1880 renovation home. This home was never a victorian beauty, but a solid, square, well lived in house. Most of the original woodwork disappeared long ago and what is left is mostly dry-rotted. I am thinking classic elegant trim, nothing over the top - just like the house - simple and solid.

We are amateur wood-workers, but quick learners, self-taught on all previous projects and good with tools - have router, table saw, chop saw, etc. I believe with proper instruction and some trials and errors, we will be able to create what we want.

Can anyone recommend any good how-to books or websites we would be able to get some basic instruction from? I went to Amazon and was overwhelmed on the book selection in the trim and molding catagory. I am thinking some of these are fluff. Even a couple of resources I could read and combine the info would be fine.


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Get a book authored by Pat Warner(aka Routerman) and a trim carpentry book at Home Depot or Lowes.

Join a woodworking website(I am partial to , there is also Saw Mill Creek) and let folks know(in the appropriate forum what you want to do. There are very experienced folks at both places who will be happy to help.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2009 at 9:46AM
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I can't recommend any books but if you have those tools I'd suggest you buy a stick of crown. cut 2-2' sections, take them to the miter saw, place the top of the crown DOWN and cut one in the middle at 45 degrees left, cut the other at 45 degrees right. You will end up with a set of inside and outside corners "Testers" mark them for your reference.

See how they fit at you corners, you will find most are not true 90s and that's where beginners run into problems. Also mitered corners are relatively easy, it gets much more complicated when you have to make coped corners as that takes real experience.

So I suggest you play with some material and see if you really want to take this task on, crown molding can be very frustrating.

There's also lots to think about relative to scarfing, how and where your miter/copes will open due to movement. The alignment of the profiles (can vary within a batch. And lastly the size the bigger it is the harder it is.

remember putty and paint make up for what the carpenter aint ;)

    Bookmark   October 8, 2009 at 8:10PM
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Why not try your local library? I'm sure they have books that you could page through and perhaps a video or two you could rent.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2009 at 9:33PM
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Check out the info found at the This Old House site. There is a definite learning curve with crown but with a few practice pieces and some patience you should do just fine.

Here is a link that might be useful: This Old House

    Bookmark   October 8, 2009 at 9:35PM
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Cope cutting inside corners when installing any molding is superior to miter cutting. There are no matching angle problems.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2009 at 2:25AM
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Thank you all for the very good suggestions. Nothing is square, nor level, in this house, so thanks for that advice. I would have figured it out eventually, but you just save us precious time. Every corner will be different, both for crown and base.
We've learned so far that eyeballing for the illusion of level, shims and putty are wonderful tools. I am also reading through this forum, I usually hang out on the gardening side. Have to learn terminology.
Thanks Again.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2009 at 9:08AM
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"Also mitered corners are relatively easy, it gets much more complicated when you have to make coped corners as that takes real experience."

You miter the corner first, then cut away the exposed end grain to create a cope.

The line were the miter meets the face of the molding IS the cope line.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2009 at 1:54PM
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