Dining room crown molding
Comments 13

Crown molding: adding the twelve footers

Much better. I am getting pretty good a cutting lap joints these days.

Well I know one thing: working on a ceiling project is real different from doing a furniture project. My dining room crown molding project is moving awfully slow these days for a number of reasons; one of which is this kind of work isn’t terribly fun. Another reason is that this is just a very busy time for our family. I spent much of last weekend getting my yard in some manner of order – I still have a lot to do before the neighbors begin to smile at me again. Fortunately I have been able to insert some woodworking into my schedule here and there.

A challenge I have run into is moving long boards around my home. Imagine having to fabricate components twelve feet in length and then carry them upstairs to see if they fit – then move them back downstairs to the shop for an adjustment. No matter how much I try, moving boards this long means repeatedly bumping into things, both in my shop as well as in my house. I’m looking forward to actually cutting the crown molding which should be more fun.

I have slowly been transforming a basic 12′ 1 x 8s into what I need for the simulated beams. Note the board highlighted in blue below, that is what I am working on…

Fabricated. Here you can see how the joinery will go together. I need to cut four lap joints in this twelve foot board. Click the illustration to enlarge.

The first thing I had to deal with was a very slight, but long bow along the length of the first twelve footer. I got my aluminum straight edge out and started to take the bow out. I then began cutting the lap joints.

Bowed. Note the edge of the board isn’t straight. My router and a straight edge make quick work of removing the bow.

After work with the router. The four lap joints have been cut and the board is ready to be sanded.

Next, I carry this board upstairs to see how it fits. Earlier in the week, I had carefully marked the lap joint locations. The lap joints have all been cut to a depth of 3/8″, so the joints should fit together perfectly.

A good fit. This corner (the far corner in the illustration above) goes together pretty well. A couple of wedges ensure a tight fit. The second and third lap joint go together just as good.

A problem. This corner doesn’t want to co-operate – the two boards don’t form a flat joint. I use a vertical wedge to force the 12’er flat against the ceiling – a trick learned from the guys at This Old House.

A close-up. Click this to enlarge. No matter how much I pound the vertical board with my hammer, I still have an ill formed joint (I used the rag to keep from denting the soft pine).

I decided to take the twelve foot board back down to the shop to trim the lap joint a little. I take this opportunity to apply a coat of primer and then keeping my fingers crossed move the board back upstairs to see how it fits.

Good enough. These joints are acceptable – I may try to wedge them up tighter to the ceiling later.

I will install the opposite 12’er Sunday and then I need to fill all the holes – I am thinking about using my plug cutting drill bit vs. simply using filler. Then I will add the quarter round molding to the interior of each beam. A lot of work left to do before I actually begin making the molding.

Which brings me to a point – is it moulding or molding? Chris Schwarz of Popular Woodworking recently wrote a blog post titled, “5-minute Cavetto Moulding” which got me thinking – have I been writing posts about my crown molding project and all this time been misspelling this word?

I decided to find out which is correct, moulding or molding. I did what any smart person would do: I went to Wikipedia and searched for crown moulding. I was re-directed to their article on “crown molding”. So, which is correct? I suspect its fine to use them both – I’m just glad I haven’t put up multiple blog posts typing it incorrectly.

UPDATE 5/19/11: I just stopped by a blog I rarely visit called Daily Writing Tips which has a post on the difference between American English and British English (see it here) – some evidence that in the USA, “molding” is the preference.

To view the next post, click here. To view all the posts, click here. This is post six in this series.


Have a question or comment? Leave yours by clicking on the “Comments – post yours here” link below. My email is jobranch@yahoo.com or you can contact me through Twitter or Facebook. Subscribe via email or RSS by clicking here.

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This entry was posted in: Dining room crown molding


During the week, I sell flooring products for The Dixie Group. Weekends, you'll find me in my basement workshop making furniture.


  1. Looking good, but man o man does it look like a lot of work with your arms above your head. but it is looking like it would be worth it.

  2. Looks Great Jeff. PLUS the joys of working with long boards that leave marks on walls, is that you also get to refine your drywall mud-slinging chops too. 🙂

    Keep up that great work.

  3. Jason – I see you know the dangers of long boards inside a home.

    The bumping into walls has not been a big deal, but I did drop my hammer off my ladder which tore out some sheetrock on the way down.

    This means not only a patch, but hoping I still have some of the paint, or this will turn into a big painting project too.

  4. Looking good Jeff. I've done a lot of overhead work in the past, and all I can say is “better you than me”. Can't wait to see the next step though!

  5. Aaron – thanks for the support. 🙂 I have been working on the second 12'er this evening – I have it cut and primed and will begin putting it up tomorrow evening. The board has warped since I brought it home, so I may have some trouble with it. Hope not.

  6. Looks like good progress so far Jeff. I've always written moulding, but I understand molding, so I don't think it really matters.

  7. How do the router & straight edge remove the bow in wood? Did you just wet the dry side and use the router as a weight, or is this referring to some other method I don't know about?

  8. Stephen, first thinks for visiting my blog. This beam went up prior to the crown molding had a bow along it's length (I am not cutting crown molding at this point). If you look at the aluminum straight edge in the photo, it is flush with the wood at the ends, but the wood quickly curves outward most noticable midway along it's length.

    I place a collar in the base of my router that rides against the straight edge and the trim bit cuts the bow out since it is following the straight edge.

    Hope that helps,


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