A well-designed crown molding is the perfect addition to a beautiful case, table or cabinet project. Most furniture moldings are created using one or a combination of a few basic profiles, including the quarter-round, cove, fillets, ogee and bead. While these profiles are easily made using common router bits, the trick is in putting them it together properly when using multiples.
Unless you specialize in furniture woodworking, it may seem intimidating to make and install crown molding. The procedure isn’t necessarily harder than other basic joinery and trim work, it does, however, takes some practice. Armed with the following tips, a good router and miter saw, working with and mastering crown molding won’t take long.
Cutting the molding pieces to the proper angle and length is the main challenge in any creating any type of crown molding. The need for accuracy in the cutting process increases with the width of the molding. The slightest error on a large piece of cove or crown will create an obvious gap in a joint end. However, two options will get around those difficulties.
• Make a compound cut by setting the saw blade to cut a bevel and the saw fence at the proper angle to cut a miter. These settings factor in the precise angle of the molding to the spring angle. This trick allows you to cut the molding while it’s lying flat. Using an Offset Fence
• Position the molding so the edge to meet the cabinet lies on the saw bed while the other edge meets the saw’s fence. Keeping the saw blade upright to the bed, cut standard miters. This is the easiest way to adjust the angle of the cut.
Profiling an entire edge of raw stock is like jointing a board edge – all the original surface is removed to create the profile. When using a standard setup, this method will keep the profiled work piece from riding against the outfeed router fence. For the best support, keep the outfeed fence flush with the cutter while the infeed fence steps in to a depth of about 1/22 of an inch. Make several practice passes on scrap to dial in the offset. Set up the offset fence by drilling a router bit opening in a piece of stock, set the jointer to the proper depth and joint the edge of the fence just to the cutout.
Crown Molding Jigs
Investing in a Crown Molding Miter Jig will ensure that most of your cutting difficulties disappear. This device ensures that every piece of wood you cut is positioned precisely in the saw at the proper angle. Most of these jigs include a reference guide that includes setups for a wide range of commonly used molding sizes.
Properly cut moldings need minimal cleanup before ripping, especially if the profile was created using several bits. Scrapers, files, a shoulder plane and sanding blocks will take off tearout, chatter and tool or burn marks.
• Start the process by scraping, using a card scraper cut to loosely fit the profile because it must be scraped at different angles.
• Detail files are best for small radii; they leave very small marks that are easily removed by sanding.
• Keep sanding to a bare minimum to avoid sanding away the grade.
A satiny hand-made crown molding lends the same touch of elegance to a finely crafted piece of furniture as a silk tie on a well-dressed man. When you build something extraordinary, it deserves the extra effort to finish it up with decorative molding.