Crown Molding, Dining room crown molding, MDF
Comments 4

Crown molding: fabrication begins

In this photo: outdoor woodworking. Routing MDF is such a dusty endeavor, that I do it in the driveway.

Medium density fiberboard is the material I chose to create my dining room crown molding. The chief attribute of MDF which made it a winner in my mind is that it is a flat material. When stacking molding profiles one on top of the other, being flat and straight is critical. But, the chief attribute that makes it a looser in my nose and my sinuses is MDF is a highly dust prone material.

I can’t ever remember doing such extensive routing of MDF. Since I had worked with it repeatedly on my table saw, I knew MDF created a lot of dust. But after routing a profile on twelve, eight foot long boards, the large amount of dust beginning to pile up on my driveway was starting to drift in the wind. I decided to form the profile of my custom crown molding in my driveway, because I knew the dust cloud resulting from indoor routing would definitely make it into our home.

I wear old tennis shoes during the routing operation – I don’t want my good ones to get all clogged up with dust.

This is the dust which wasn’t carried away by the wind. I just hope this stuff is environmentally friendly – there was a light dusting of it in the yard and it went clear up the walk to our screen porch.

Here is what I get accomplished during my first round of routing. Enough to get me started with the installation. You can see my shop dust collector in the background. I have never been able to connect it to my router with much success.

With rain in the forecast and therefore no outside woodworking, I decide to get started installing some of the molding. I will be installing the crown in layers with the first layer being attached to the wall and the ceiling and then subsequent layers attached to the first.

To make installation easiest, I decided to add a wood cleat around the perimeter of the room close to the ceiling. This cleat will hopefully align with the lower rear edge of the first row molding.

The cleat installed. It will give me the ability to attach the molding anywhere along the wall I choose (vs. only at a wall stud).

With the cleat in place, I use pocket screws to attach the molding to the wall and brads at the ceiling.

A corner close-up. Here you can see the cleat on the left and how the molding lines up with it. Note the pocket screw – the molding goes up amazingly well.

Finally, some molding installed. I have another board like this installed on the opposite wall.

And this is as far as I get before my back tells me to stop, but I am pleased to finally have some molding installed. I will continue to wrap the room with more molding like this and then it will be on to the next portion of the crown profile.

One side note: As I finished for the day, I commented to my wife how much I have been sweating. Then it dawned on me: our very basic chandelier is the culprit; I had never realized how much heat they generate. This heat congregates along the ceiling where I was working. I’ll have a fan in there next time.

Presently, I am working on the top two rows of moldings.

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


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  1. Great job so far Jeff. FYI, No surprise you've not had good luck with a dust collector and a small hose/portable tools. The DC doesn't have enough pressure to get the dust in a small hose. The hose kills it's efficiency. Doesn't matter how big of a collector you have. Your better off using a shop vac with tools that have a small hose. (ie under 2.5″) Don't remember where I read that, but once I stopped trying to hook up my DC to portable tools, it was a good day. Just my 2 cents as always. 🙂

  2. You are a brave man having a go at that MDF. I have an some sort of allergic reaction to the stuff, so I try to avoid it. I'll be curious to see how it holds a crisp-ish edge. BTW, same experience with router dust collection, I've long since discarded the dust port (for visibility) and now I pay dearly. More Festool envy.

  3. Jason – I figure the area around the bit is so open, that suction just doesn't happen. My shop vac is so sorry, that fine dust would just pass through it back into the shop which is probably my fault.

    Chris – the MDF is doing pretty good with a crisp edge. The bits I used are somewhat old and therefore not as sharp as a new one and they did fine. Over the years, my nose doesn't like dust of any kind, but MDF is in a class of its own.

    David – thanks for cheering me on, I need it. I am starting to gain some satisfaction from doing this project, but it is still a chore.

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