Tips on Using and Installing Moldings on Windows and Doors

Types of Moldings for Design Use

crown moldingsCredit: Wikipedia

A molding is the easiest "fancy touch" you could put onto your work.  Using power tools, you can produce your own designs or create any of a hundred different variations.  Naturally, you can purchase moldings ready-made at the lumber yard, and they're sold commercially in a score of various patterns. Some moldings are sold already finished in popular stains or varnishes.

Moldings are the essence of frames, but they're also used to put a completed edge on a plywood top, a tray, or any plain edge. They can be employed to increase the size of a form or to hide a seam or a blemish.  On a large area, they can be used to produce the effect of a small panel, maybe matching the shape of a window or a door, or in an octagonal or diamond shape. Like a finish on the crown of a cabinet or clock or column, or on the base, moldings function a chief decorative purpose. To support these on thin woods, backing cleats can first be screwed to the base piece, next, the molding is fastened to the cleats using screws from the inside. Moldings are also used for keeping in place such things as windows and screen doors, and also for panel moldings on drawer fronts, doors, and the like. However you utilize them, it is sensible to put some sealer or paint on the area under the molding to avoid warping or decay.

Among the more popular moldings are the half-round, quarter-round, beaded, flat-edge, fluted, and grooved styles. Adjustments are made for baseboards, casings, coves, picture frames, cabinetwork, paneling, and battens.

Panels and frames must be mitred and can be linked with splines, dowels, glue, screws, corrugated fasteners, or nails. Where mitres are glued, the end grain should first be sized using a thin coat of glue. This coat must dry and be scraped up smooth before the last coat of glue is employed. Mitring is also essential for moldings used for edgings. For this kind of edge, moldings should be cut into 4 pieces, slightly oversize, having adequate stock left to allow for mitred corners. The moldings must first be tacked in place and any irregularities shaved using a block plane. A rabbet, mortise and tenon, or other hidden joint is recommended. If a power tool is utilized for cutting, a wooden spring must be clamped to the ripfence to hold the molding on the dado blades. A stick should be used to push the molding on the fence into the blade.

Moldings often bear a hard grain and tend to deflect a brad. This can be minimized just by drilling a small hole, using a brad with the head removed (or a fine steel needle cut off above the eye) as a bit. Another precaution is cutting off the point of the nail prior to driving it into the wood.