Bill Pentz, Dining room crown molding, Dust Collection
Comments 7

Crown molding: racing towards completion

Can you see some progress? I have completed another row of molding.

Putting this project on a fast track has been the goal of late. I announced to my wife that I was going to add shop time to my early morning schedule (prior to work) in an effort to really move this project forward. I have been able to do this many mornings recently. This is in addition to time dedicated in the evenings when I can.

You would have to be a very close follower of this project to notice the difference as shown in the photo above. All of the hard work since my last post does not translate into an equally noticeable visual impact, especially since this project is hard to photograph well.

I have been working on the third row of molding shown in yellow below…

The areas highlighted in green have been completed. The yellow section is my current task.

The first step was to mill some more molding, so I had to get the router out and create more – 48 feet more. This next part of the crown profile is one inch thick, so I begin by adding a layer of 1/4″ MDF to a standard 3/4″ thick board.

I then use a 1/4″ cove bit to cut the profile. It takes several passes to reach the depth I need…

You can see evidence of the different passes of the router in the boards above. This new bit makes nice crisp cuts in the MDF.

Here is a little better view of the profile (the molding is resting on it’s rear edge).

With the profile cut, installation begins. Even though this layer of molding is only about three inches wide, the full inch thickness gives it a little weight. I am using 18 gauge brads in my nailer and glue to attach the molding, but to get a tight fit, I have to use a series of vertical boards to wedge the molding in place…

There is a lot of test fitting on this wall, but it all goes well.

I cut one section too short, but the good thing about painted MDF is I can glue the cut-off back on and re-cut it to the correct length.

The final step: complete the wrap around the pilasters. I can now call the third row finished. The next two layers of molding should be easier.


Breathing easier
In my last post, I mentioned the problems created by breathing in some of the terrible dust from this project. Since then, I did a little more research and have implemented several measures to improve my nasal health and I have good news to report.

First, I added a section of hose to my dust collector in an attempt to capture more dust as it comes off my table saw blade.

Note my dust collector in the background and the new hose resting on my table saw.

I already had most of the parts needed for this. I decided to buy a router table fence dust port for the table surface. I glued and taped four rare earth magnets to the bottom of it which makes the dust port movable anywhere on my saw table.

This addition to my dust collection has been partially successful.

This new dust hook-up has helped, but to be more effective, I think something directly over the blade is needed like the combination blade guard/dust pickup accessory I have seen.

The ironic thing is that after a tip from woodworker Jason Herrick, I went to a website by Bill Pentz which is loaded with information about dust collection and what a poor job the typical dust collector does. You would think that purchasing a dust collector like mine would be reasonably effective at dust control, but I have concluded that I’ll have to make several significant improvements before I can call it effective. A couple of quotes from Bill:

“Almost all small shop dust collectors and cyclones fail to provide good fine dust collection.”

“typical small shop workers including hobbyists get more fine dust exposure in a few hours than a full time shop worker receives in months”

I know this to be true in my shop because you should see the dust cloud that erupts from the occasional cleaning with my electric leaf blower. I could go on and on about the things I learned from Bill with a quick scan of his site. But in summary, my dust collection captures virtually no fine dust and only eliminates the need for me to do some sweeping of my shop floor. I still have to get the broom out because my dust collector simply re-distributes fine dust all over my shop. There is a lot of important information at Bell Pentz’s site, so be sure to check it out.

I recently mentioned nasal irrigation – I have been doing this very regularly and irrigation combined with a prescription nasal steroid has kept my nose clear enough to sleep well without the need for Afrin. Also, I have resumed the use of a chemical style respirator while in my workshop. So I am making good progress with all of this.

The purchase of a 1 micron canister filter for my dust collector is now a high priority – my next step towards improved air quality in my workshop. I also need to look into other upgrades.

Up next: more router work as I begin cutting the profile of the fourth layer of molding. I am planing on using stock pine quarter round for the final layer in order to speed the process.

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


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  1. I love the weight of this crown molding. It really has a refined look to it. Once again, your hard work is paying off.

    So glad that you are having some success with the battle with dust. I once watched a show on a sculptor who had a similar problem and he wore a bandana under a dust mask.

  2. Yep, it is hard work; I had a big day with it on Sunday and after taking my Beth to dinner Monday night, I am ready to get back to it this evening.

    The task of getting dust under control is daunting because it means spending my very limited resources on something not very glamorous.

    For instance I'd like to buy a new router right now or a handsome hand plane, but a filter for my dust collector seems pretty boring compared to those things. But I know I need to do it.

    Thanks for the comment.

  3. Jeff, the crown looks AWESOME! My wife can't even get me to lay some base shoe in our house. You're a good man.

    I'm glad you found Bills site to be helpful. I was blown away with the info. My favorite quote was in regards to most dust collectors as dust pumps. I could not agree more with you. It is very unglamorous, but very much needed. I'm still dialing my new one in, and have yet to really get it right. I'm going to steal your magnet idea for sure. 🙂

  4. Jason – if you look closely at the photo of my table saw, you will notice MDF dust behind the dust port which indicates not all of the dust is being captured.

    I am contemplating attaching some card board to the dust port in attempts to further direct more dust to the port opening.

    Just know that my set-up needs some tweaking.

    Thanks for the comment.

  5. LOL. I just bought an overarm guard for the TS for that reason. I have the new system up and running full bore, and STILL a ton of dust comes off the back of the TS blade. The guard solved the problem. Damn dust…. It's the bane of my own existence. 🙂 You'll get it dialed in.

  6. David – so true as far as big projects. I need to tackle some smaller things because I am currently getting only two projects completed per year! Not good. Patience is a fluid thing – since this post went up, I have had to reduce the self imposed pressure to get this project completed.

    Thanks for the comment.

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