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Intern Insights: Crown Molding, Yet Again

I left you hanging, anticipation gripping your body, fingers poised to type the URL for the next blog post as soon as this one came up. Wait no longer, dear readers. Hold on one second so I can refresh my own memory…bring up the archives…on-screen! Excellent.

I had previously mentioned the cutting, the angles and the 2x4s that went behind the molding (I apologize if it left you confused). So, after the horizontal piece of molding was done, there were two pieces of molding at a 22-degree angle to put up along the top of the portico wall. These angled pieces also had to continue around the side of the wall to look like one complete piece.

Now, to accurately cut the wraparound with the angles, there’s something to consider first. When you have an angle that exists on one plane, it is a single angle, such as a simple, 45-degree angle. A compound angle is an angle that exists on two planes, for instance, a 45-degree angle that has a beveled edge to attach a piece from a different plane. (By “plane,” I’m referring to it in drafting sense. When looking at a plot or graph there is an x-axis and y-axis, denoting you are looking at a 2-dimensional space. There is also a z-axis, denoting 3-dimensional space. So the x- and y- axes are one ‘plane’ of existence and the addition of the z-axis adds another plane).

Well, these 22-degree angled pieces of molding had some kind of funky triple compound angle. It had to be cut at a 45-degree angle, upside-down and angled, as crown molding should be, with an additional bevel angle added to the miter saw. This gave the molding, already at the 22-degree angle, a 45-degree angled edge on the side, with a more severe bevel on the edge so it could match the 45-degree angled/beveled edge that was meeting it from the side.

Let me pause a moment to catch my breath—still with me? Now, this wasn’t going to actually work exactly as it needed to, because the difference in angle/bevel severity between the face and side pieces of molding meant that the molding would not line up properly along the angles I had cut, and there was no way to do it differently. Therefore, I had to cut strips out of the side pieces, sand down edges and use liberal amounts of joint compound to hide the differences. It was quite a process and took more time than you’d think.

But it wasn’t over there, oh no. After the molding was FINALLY done (I was not in a good mood during this build), I had to custom fabricate column toppers. They were 9-inch-high, 4-and-a-half-inch-wide decorative pieces that also had to wrap around the side and required a lot of fiddling with. Because they were not a stock piece, I had to create all of the pieces that would be joined together to achieve the desired look including curves, half-circle pieces of wood, angles and everything in between to create these pieces.

There was one curved piece that could not physically be cut out of wood. Sigh. Therefore, I had to make the curve out of Styrofoam and very carefully attach it to the wood base, since Styrofoam is quite easy to completely blow through, thus losing all purchase on the object. But after that was all attached, the half round was made (oh, I forgot to mention that? I had to take dowels and rip them in half or pieces of 1x and round them over with a router…fun times), it was time to cut the angle.

When making something like this that will be cut on an angle from its farthest point, it’s best to make a box longer than what you need. This allows you to cut the with room to spare. These angles fortunately lined up much better than the molding, so no janky-ness was required—just caulking and spackling the seams.

Once all the dust had settled and all the smoke had cleared, all that remained was one beautiful piece of scenery, with immaculate crown molding and something that—despite all the trouble it gave me—I could be proud of accomplishing.

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