Posted by John on June 26th, 2014
I’m relieved to finally tell you that all of the crown molding has been installed in our home office. It was a bear. Granted, I still have to putty all the nail holes, caulk the joints and paint them. I’ll save that work for the weekend. That’s not the end of the molding in the office either. Once the built-ins are completed and installed, I still have to install a final piece of wall trim and all the baseboard molding. However, that type of trim work should be considerably easier to handle.
In today’s post, I’m sharing a video tutorial I made (with Lisa as camera lady) as well as some additional info below where I discuss some of the techniques I used to get better crown molding results.
Tips for Better Crown Molding Results
1. Pre-paint your Molding. While not hugely important, getting at least one good coat of paint on the molding BEFORE you install it will allow you to only have to paint it one more time after it’s installed. That’s less time on the ladder.
2. Use Backer Blocks. In the video, I use some simple plywood backer blocks. These little blocks can be cut from scrap wood and provide the crown molding a solid surface to lay against. It makes installation SO MUCH EASIER. After this list, I’ve shared a quick tutorial on making your own backer blocks.
3. Make a Cut Guide. Before measuring and cutting any intersecting crown molding pieces, make a cut guide with a piece of scrap crown molding. The guide can have a 45 degree cut on both ends and can be used to determine if any adjustments need to be made before the actual piece is cut. You’d rather find out that your molding needs a slight adjustment before you cut through it.
4. Use a Crown Molding Jig. While I do recommend using the Bench Dog Crown Molding Jig (affiliate link), you can just as easily make your own using some scrap lumber and a couple of clamps.
5. Be Strategic with your Boards. When you walk by the office or look inside, all of the crown molding pieces that face you don’t have any miter cuts. They all are straight pieces. That’s intentional. All of the cut boards are on the sides of the boxes. That way, even if the joints aren’t perfect, almost no one will notice if they stick their head in the room. Getting the joints done right is important, but any minor mistakes will be less visible this way.
How to Make Backer Blocks for Crown Molding
1. You’ll need a carpenter’s square, a small piece of the crown molding, a paper, and a pen.
2. Arrange the crown molding inside the carpenter’s square so that both the top and bottom flats of the molding are flat against the square. This is how the crown molding will look when installed.
3. Using a pen or a pencil, trace the inside triangle made by the molding and the square.
4. You can remove the square and the molding.
5. Measure the length of the top and the length of the side, marked here as “A” and “B,” respectively.
6. Now for some math. Using a scientific calculator or an online calculator take the inverse tangent (tan raised to the -1) of A over B (A/B). If you do that math, you get 38.7 degrees or roughly 39 degrees. Now you can set your table saw angle to that value. All you need to do now is make sure you cut the board to the length of “A,” which in this case is 1″.
To make things easier on you, you can also lay that drawing on your miter saw and use the miter saw’s gauge to determine the angle of the molding. OR you can just use a protractor.
For our home office, the larger molding had a block with an angle of 36 degrees and as mentioned above, the smaller molding was 39 degrees.
I hope you found this post helpful. Even if you’re not planning any crown molding work, keep this project in mind for when you do.
Now I’d like to hear from you. Do you have any crown molding installation tips or tricks?
Posted in Carpentry,DIY Projects,Videos. Tagged in ,crown molding, home office, trim, video
Posted by John on March 4th, 2013
Hey gang! Hope everyone had a great weekend! We made some major headway on our built-in project this past weekend. I’ve got the doors finished and the plywood for the boxes all cut. All I’ve got left to do is machine the plywood with some grooves and dados and we’ll be assembling it. So far so good. I’m definitely leveraging some past cabinet experience to make this one go a little smoother.
We’ve got two videos for you this week. The first one is a quick update on the bottom cabinet face frame. I added a divider to accommodate two doors. No big deal. This was kind of a video warm up for me.
The next one will be a how-to on making shaker style inset doors. So much easier to show you how to make one than to describe it.
Get any projects done this weekend?
Posted by John on November 8th, 2012
Hey guys! Hope everyone is enjoying the week so far. If you’re in the Northeast like us, I hope you’re surviving the worst week and a half of weather I’ve ever seen in November, ever. Terrible! Have I ever told you how much I hate the cold? I used to love it when I was a kid. Now I want to move to Florida. Is it weird that I appreciate and even envy the life-choices of our senior population at the young age of 33? Retirement? Yes, please. Florida? I’d love to.
In other news, we bought a car. We picked up a Jetta from a local dealer and we’re digging it. Sweet ride. We ended up buying a regular gas engine and skipping the TDI, but I have to admit, that diesel engine was tempting. I actually made a video that illustrates the basic nerd enhanced analysis I performed to see if the fuel savings from diesel vs gas would be worth the extra sticker price. Alas, it wasn’t even close. If you’ve never used Excel before and want to pick up some basic skills or just see how to figure out your own gas mileage, then check out the video. Or if you just want to hear a nerd rant on about his daily commute, check. it. out.
I thought I would miss my Grand Cherokee a little by now. Definitely not. I went from 15/20 mpg to 24/32 mpg. Big fan. Big fan.
I’m hoping to finish up the painting on our garage shoe rack, but I’m not holding my breath. This weather cycle is “spray paint in the garage” prohibitive. Bummer. Lisa and I are planning some serious work over the Christmas break, so soon after we finish up that shelf, I’ll be back to planning mode. We’re still trying to figure out if we want to work on the office or maybe start finishing the basement. We’ll see.
What are you all working on at the moment?
Posted by John on December 26th, 2011
I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday! Lisa and I are mostly kicking it old school in our pajamas most of the week. We’re not trying to go too crazy with the upgrades around here, but we have been getting quite a lot of our grand plan done and we can’t wait to share it with everyone.
BUT, for now it’s my turn to list my favorite Christmas songs. Especially since we’re still listening to ‘em around the clock. On Wednesday, Lisa listed her’s. I tried writing this post late last week, but I just too tired from all the shopping and gorging myself with holiday food. So here goes..
1. Please Come Home for Christmas – The Eagles
John: I have to say, I’m totally relieved that this song is sung by the Eagles and not just Don Henley. I was worried that my musical interests are something out of a 1980’s VH1 special.
Lisa: I like this song. Nothing smart to say about it.
2. That Spirit of Christmas – Ray Charles
John: Best song from the greatest Christmas movie ever made.
Lisa: I’m pretty sure when James Caan asks Buddy the Elf to sing in his office is the best song from the greatest Christmas movie ever.
John: There is no way Will Farrell sings a better Christmas song than Ray Charles. Not possible.
Lisa: I’ll give you that. But Elf is still the best movie ever.
3. Blue Christmas – Elvis
Lisa: Whoa! I’m shocked. Almost speechless.
Lisa: Awesome song by and awesome-est singer.
4. Oh Holy Night – Josh Groban
Lisa: Again, a very nice pick, I’m impressed.
John: Excellent song. Nothing really funny here. Wait, why are you impressed? What kind of Christmas music did you think I listen to?
Lisa: I dunno… Mariah Carey?
5. All I Want for Christmas – Mariah Carey
John: Nah, just kidding. No way!
5. Burl Ives – Holly Jolly Christmas
John: A timeless classic.
Lisa: I like it too! I’m impressed with your picks.
John: While I’m mildly offended that you think I have terrible taste, I’m happy that we agree.
Thanks for stopping by! What are your favorite Christmas songs? Are you still listening to them even though we’re past Christmas?
Posted by John on December 19th, 2011
The last week or so has been crazy busy. On top of the regular Christmas run-around, Lisa and I have been furiously busy with our grand plans; add to that a last-minute work trip to San Diego. So bear with us as we try to squeeze in a couple quality posts between now and Christmas!!
This past weekend, we were able to finish painting our added trim and finally started painting the beige!! Not gonna lie, it looks awesome! Most importantly, Lisa LOVES it. Pheww! If she’s happy = I’m happy.
First the trim: after two coats of semi-gloss paint on the actual trim piece and three coats of paint on the wall between the trim and the crown molding, it looks pretty decent. The in-between part is still not quite as glossy as the wood, so we may revisit this once all the beige is on and maybe UP the glossy level for that small section. TBD.
Now for the beige. We prepped and painted the morning room and we’re really happy with everything…. the level of shade, the paint quality, the overall look, you name it! Although, I definitely could have done a cleaner job cutting in the ceiling. I used a crappy brush and now I’m going to go back and clean it up with my Purdy brush later this week. Oh well!
Here’s a photo of that room before we painted it.
Even more fun than painting is the new time lapse video we shot!! I setup the camera and recorded me painting the morning room from painter’s tape to finish! Check it out below. I’m no Steven Spielberg, but it was a lot of fun to shoot. See if you can catch Lisa goofing off!! If you blink, you miss it!
Pretty cool ay? Later this week, we’ll have the after photos from the morning room. All I have right now is the photos from the movie.
Plus, before Christmas… Lisa and I are listing our favorite Christmas songs! Not guaranteed to be free from Elf quotes, but I’ll try to keep them at a minimum. Anyone else doing any holiday home improvements?