If I were to pick a word that describes how I view this project currently, it would be “optimistic”. As I have said before, this project is onerous at best, although the view as seen in the photo above motivates me much more.
When I first contemplated what best would do for crown molding in the home of a woodworker, stock crown was quickly eliminated. And while I did ponder the use of multiple pieces of stock crown to achieve a custom look, that idea quickly became boring to me.
But then, the idea of totally custom crown was born. No big deal, I’ll just copy the design of one of my favorite pieces of furniture, a majestic thing that maybe someday I’ll be fortunate enough to build (see it here).
I knew in the back of my head replicating that cornice molding would be a chore. It is one thing to do it on a beautiful breakfront in the confines of a workshop – form a piece and then walk over and see if it fits.
It is another thing all together to apply it to the walls of your dining room which means forming a run of molding in your basement (or even better, outside) and then walk up the stairs to see if it fits. And then back downstairs to make adjustments; and then back upstairs, and then – well you get the idea.
This project has been a chore, but I am optimistic because at least I can now look upon my progress and get an idea of how totally rockin’ this molding will look when it is completed.
Since my last post, where I began installing the first row of molding, I have been able to complete that row and start on the second row. First, let me show you what I am talking about…
In the image above, you can see how the crown is being assembled by stacking different layers of medium density fiberboard (MDF) – each layer has a molded profile on its edge. I have completed the green layer and I am currently working on the yellow layer.
Every bit of what I have already installed has gone up amazingly well. I have been working my way around the room in the evenings – 30 minutes here, an hour there. Progressing this way makes the work more enjoyable than trying to knock out two or three hours on the weekend.
The long runs go up quickly. I basically have two walls that are ten feet long and two that are 13 feet long. One 13 foot wall requires molding to wrap around two pilasters that frame an opening (note the photo at the top of this post). This involves quite a lot of angles and fine cuts on small pieces.
In the photo above, one way of accurately cutting the small return needed for both sides of each pilaster is to first glue it to the adjacent molding and then make the final cut.
With the first layer completed, I simply repeat this process for the next layer. Sounds easy enough but if you look at the profile in the illustration near the top of this post, you will note that the outer edge of the second layer has to fit flush with the bottom edge of the first layer. This is necessary to make the two layers look like one. I worry a little if these layers will line up properly.
As you can see from the photo, the two layers align very well. I had to use a flat head screw driver to pull some of it into alignment, but so far this has not been a problem.
I will continue working around the room adding the second layer with a target of this weekend to begin on the third layer. In an attempt to speed the process, I am working through a plan to add the fourth layer at the same time as the third. This also means I’ll have to get my router out to fabricate more MDF molding stock.
Woodworking and Nasal Health
At present, I am 51 years old and have been woodworking for about 30 years. As I get older, sawdust is becoming a significant issue for me. When deep into a woodworking project, it is not unusual for my sinuses to be seriously irritated. Minimizing sawdust has become a higher priority as I contemplate future upgrades to my shop (the fine dust created by MDF is especially problematic).
In the meantime, I have started a regimen which includes twice daily squirts of saline solution in my nostrils in hopes of flushing some of the dust from my sinuses. I follow this with a prescription nasal steroid and in especially bad cases, I’ll pull out the Afrin. The goal is to keep my nose breathable while avoiding the Afrin. And of course, I am using the best dust mask I can find without jumping up to a chemical style respirator.
So, I am curious: should I be practicing a different nasal treatment? Or is this kind of gross to write about in a blog post? I am about to give serious consideration to a method I saw on the Wood Whisperer – check it out by clicking here.
To view all the posts in this series, click here. This is post eleven.
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