For years now, I have been thinking on and off about the crown molding for our dining room; contemplating what to do. I didn’t want to just go down to Home Depot and pick up some stock crown. I certainly don’t mind doing this, but for a dining room, probably the most formal of rooms, and for the home of a woodworker, I decided the crown molding should be something special.
My woodworking magazine of choice has always been Fine Woodworking. I recently picked up a copy of Popular Woodworking which is a fine publication, but as a fan of graphic design, I view Taunton’s products as top notch graphically, full of useful articles, and every now and then they feature a furniture project that just blows me away…
Such was the case with their September/October, 1989 issue and an article titled “Handling Large Commissions” by Douglas Schroeder. This article detailed the process of winning and then building a commission that encompassed four large mahogany breakfronts. The project took 18 months to complete at a cost of $74,000 (in 1989 dollars, I wonder what such a project would cost 22 years later). I have repeatedly visited this article for design inspiration and for the dining room crown molding profile, I will be borrowing heavily from the cornice of these breakfronts.
While transforming the cornice profile into something that I could easily fabricate, I wondered if I would actually like the look of it. My concern was that this profile which is made up from a variety of 3/4 inch boards would have the look I wanted. After extruding the profile in SketchUp, I decided there was simply too much going on visually, so I scrapped my first design.
I then began considering an exact copy of the cornice molding; wondering at the same time if this design, while nice on the breakfront, would even be a good profile for crown molding.
This illustration challenged me in two new ways. First, I imported a scanned copy of the cornice detail for the purpose of tracing the outline of it’s profile – a first for me. This enables me to have an exact copy of what was applied to the breakfronts. The process was pretty simple, but I had a few work arounds: I don’t have a copier or a scanner.
Then, I had never re-sized anything in SketchUp before. Once I drew the profile, I was surprised to find just how large it was – 82 23/64 inches wide! My SketchUp for Dummies book provided all the steps needed to bring this drawing down to the correct size and it worked on my very first attempt.
I am pleased with the look of the breakfront cornice design used as crown molding. This SketchUp project was all about extruding molding – a task that I am getting pretty good at. It will now be a challenge for me to reproduce this profile with my router. I hope to visit Woodcraft today and look at their router bits and formulate a plan to cut the individual profiles. I really wish I had a supply of Matt Bickford’s molding planes for this project. I hope to begin purchasing some of his planes later this year.
I also will begin removing the textured popcorn ceiling in my dining room – a process I have never attempted before and one which I will do some internet research before I start. So, no woodworking is actually scheduled until next weekend.
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