Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Crown Molding Woes

I've read lots of posts on WoodNet about mitering crown molding, but I had no idea how difficult the stuff could really be until I tried it myself. Between special events at my church and trying to get this stuff right, it's taken me several weeks to get where I am right now. And I'm not done with this stuff yet.

After routing the moldings, there was a fair amount of rippling on the surface that needed to be sanded out. So I got out my 80 grit paper & went to town. Due to the shape, I just used my fingers to back the sandpaper. This took a couple of nights of work to smooth. I didn't work on it continuously, mind you. It was too cold in the garage to work on it continuously.

After getting two pieces of molding that I felt I could use & sanding them smooth, I took one piece & cut a 22.5° miter on one end. I then took the larger piece of molding over to the base cabinet and marked where I thought I needed to cut the miter for the other end.

And I got it wrong. The piece ended up being too short.

The picture above illustrates what I think happened. I marked the place to cut the molding on the front face, where the cove ended, instead of on the back of the piece. And when I cut it, I lined my mark up with the kerf in my zero clearance insert, forgetting that the back of the cut would be further inboard because of the miter angle. So the piece ended up too short.

Now I had a problem. I need to attach two of these moldings to the cabinet, one at the top of the base cabinet & one at the top of the upper cabinet. I didn't have enough material to make another piece from the molding I'd already made, and I didn't have any material from which to make another molding. What to do?

Remember I said I munged up another piece of molding in my last update? Well, the picture above shows how badly that was munged up. I figured I had to salvage this piece, which was almost exactly 5' long.

So I chucked the bit back up and set everything up. I carefully set the fence's position so it would only remove a very small amount of material from the thinnest portion of the molding. And I set a piece of plywood (actually the template for the arch on the base molding) in place of a feather board to hold the stock against the fence. I used my CMT feather board to keep the stock flat on the table.

When I pushed the stock through, I tried to keep it against not the fence but against the "feather board". This worked great and I was able to salvage the piece. The picture below shows the two good pieces of molding I ended up with when all was said & done.

Now that I had two good pieces of the molding, each about 5' long, you'd think I would cut the second piece properly. Well, some how, I screwed it up again & cut the next piece even shorter!

Frustration sets in. Hang up the apron, shut off the light, and go cool off.

The good news is the third and fourth times were the charm. I got both pieces for the base & upper cabinets from the remaining 5' long piece & they were both cut too long! I could now sneak up to the right length.

That's all for now. See you soon.


neil said...

Hey Tony:

Making your Crown molding to match no less came out nice. Did it match-up to your liking with your original???

I liked the recovery on the very first crown molding piece you made.

What machine did you cut the mitres on?? there crown molding on the lower case. I went back to the drawering but couldn't determine, but I'm reading as if molding is on the base cabinet along with the upper. Am I right here or misreading???

I'm really curious about how you like your matching to the original dining room easy task!!


Tony V said...

Hey, Neil! Always good to hear from you.

I'm going to post some pictures showing a comparison of the moldings I've made to the original. I think they came out pretty good, if I say so myself. The radius of the original molding is a little bigger than that of the molding I made, but I really don't think it'll be noticiable.

I cut the miters on my table saw with my Osborne EB3. I just don't trust my Craftsman CMS, even though I tuned it up before I started this project. It's bitten me in the past and I'm not ready to give it another shot yet.

Yeah, you can't see the crown molding on the base cabinet too well in the drawings. There's an overhang that's way wider than it should be in that drawing. I don't know why I drew it like that -- the over hang is only supposed to be 1/8". I cut the overhang back in the parts I made the other night, so it will be seen more easily.