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Author Archive | Ken

The Masters and the Moldings

traditional moldings

Hi Ken,

I am both a golf fan and a molding fan. And since it is Masters weekend, I thought I’d send you this shot of the inside of Augusta National Clubhouse. Amazing moldings and a terrific group of players.

I am also finishing a closet makeover and so will be sending some pictures and the included story very soon. Just need to put on the last finishing touches.

Thanks for a great site.

Andrew LeRoy


Thanks for the great and timely picture, Andrew. I look forward to seeing your closet makover!



Example of Expensive Crown Molding Separating at Scarf Joints

The Willits

[This is part of my How to Install Crown Molding Series.]

The Problem

Buildings are designed to expand and contract with changes in temperature and humidity. And because rooms breath over the seasons, the crown moldings — if not properly installed — will separate at the joints where two piece are spliced together.

For example, the room in the image above is the lobby of one of the most sought after addresses in Birmingham, Michigan. The moldings were all professionally installed back in 2002 when the building opened.

And yet once or twice every year, the crown moldings have to be re-caulked to hide the 1/8 inch gaps that appear at all of the splices.

crown molding scarf joint

Above  A crown molding scarf joint that’s been pushed up and over its mating piece.

Below  This scarf joint (along with all of the others in the building) was filled with caulk only four months ago and yet has already separated.

crown molding joint

Two Crown Molding Scarf Joint Tips

1. Install a three-piece crown molding instead of a single piece. Here are two posts I’ve already written that will help you get started: Why I Don’t Install One-Piece Crown Moldings and How to Install a Three-Piece Crown Molding Series.

2. Use a 45 degree miter for your scarf joint rather than a 22 degree miter. The example above shows a 22 degree miter. When glueing the two pieces together at the joint, the 45 degree miter gives you more surface area to hold the two pieces together. Also, a 45 degree scarf joint allows you to sink a few 23 gauge pins across the joint to help hold it in place.

Hope this helps you with your own crown molding installation!

Joseph’s New Appliques

woodworking ornaments

They came in and I’ll have to say is, wow, the resolution is amazing.

— Joseph, The Joy of Moldings reader

I agree, Joseph. And you can’t go wrong with the beautiful urns and swag ornaments you chose to use in your design.

Please send us some pictures of your completed work, I’m sure my readers would just love to see what you’ve created!



door trimTraditional Style

I found this beautiful door surround last summer gracing the hall of an historic building in Grand Rapids Michigan.

I think the building is an art college of some sort, though I don’t remember exactly because we were looking at all of the wonderful art displays during Art Prize. This year, when I attend Art Prize again, I’ll find out the name of the building and what it’s original purpose was.

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ARCHWAY-102 and Ornaments of Life!

archwayTraditional Style

Many homes with open floor plans have at least one large walk-through opening like this one.

Why not bring attention to it by wrapping it in a beautiful surround of moldings and enhanced with architectural ornaments?

In the Before picture below, notice how much space there is to build something big and beautiful here.

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crown moldingSmall Ogee

This is your standard-issue, ogee crown molding.

You can use it as part of pretty much any architectural buildup you can think of; valance boxes, entablatures, fireplace mantels, newel posts — just to name a few.

I used this one as part of a flying crown molding.

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Wood Molding Warpage: A Warning

poplar baseboard

[This is part of my How to Install Moldings series.]

If you are going to use a tall, single-piece baseboard like the one pictured above, then you need to know about warpage.

I had to deal with it when I used the above molding profile (BB-002) while wrapping it around the pilaster bases of FIREPLACE MANTEL-103.

First of all, keep in mind that this is a high-quality poplar baseboard I picked up at a really good lumber yard, and not an inexpensive finger jointed pine product.

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Make Flying CROWN MOLDING-108 for c. $3.08/lf

crown moldingTraditional Style

Some of these pictures may look familiar to you since they make up my post on how to make a crown molding finial return.

But this time I want to focus on the crown molding itself.

Especially now that I have the original crown model I made for Greg way back when I was working up the design (Thanks for saving it Greg!).

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How to Install Crown Molding Series

crown molding designs

Click image to see all numbered crown molding patterns.

CROWN MOLDING PATTERN INDEX |  CROWN MOLDING-100  | 101 |  102 DIY  | 103 DIY  |  104 DIY  | 105 DIY  |  106 DIY  |  107  |  108 DIY  |  CEILING MOLDING-100  |


Crown Molding Basics

Why I Don’t install One-Piece Crown Moldings

An Example of Expensive Crown Molding Separating at Scarf Joints

Three-Piece Crown Molding: Three Common Mistakes

Four Ways to Terminate a Crown Molding

How to Return a Crown Molding to the Wall

Crown Molding Hanging Return in Historic Home

How to Make a Crown Molding Finial Return

Crown Molding & Corner Blocks: Do This Not That

How to Install a Three-Piece Crown Molding Series

Before & After: Another CROWN MOLDING-103 Installation

How Do I Blend a Crown Molding Scarf Joint?

Great Room Crown Molding Ideas for Marijke & Joel

Dave’s Kitchen Crown Molding Challenge


Flying Crown Molding Posts

No Crown Molding on Vaulted Ceilings: Making My Case for Flying Crown Moldings

How to Make a Flying Crown Molding Finial Return

What Molding Do I Use for Flying Crown Molding Lower Detail?

How to Terminate Flying Crown with a Finial Return

Another Flying Crown Molding Idea For Your Great Room


Other Fun Crown Molding Posts

Bathroom Crown Molding. Here? Really?


What’s Next?

If you haven’t read through the posts in my How to Install Moldings series, then I suggest you take some time do so.

I have about twenty years of accumulated molding design and installation knowledge buried in there, so I’d say it’s worth a look.

Good luck with your molding project!



Before & After: CROWN MOLDING-103 Installation

before crown molding

[This is part of my How to Install CROWN MOLDING-103 series.]

The traditional style crown molding I installed in this boy’s room, complete with these toy airplanes hanging from the ceiling, is a classic design that’s an appropriate style for the majority of homes in North America.

But I warn you, crown molding is the gateway drug to the permanent condition of wanting to upgrade all the moldings in your home, once you see a nice three-piece crown molding like this one installed in your very own home!

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Make CROWN MOLDING-101 for c. $3.62/lf

crown moldingTraditional or Victorian

Finish carpenter installation price c. $14.00/lf + $15.00/corner or return

If you’ve always wanted an ornate crown molding in your favorite room, this pattern might just be the very thing for you.

It’s three pieces are not only very affordable and easy to install, but you can buy all the materials at your local lumber yard and get started this weekend.

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Return Your Chair Rail On Top of Door or Window Trim

chair rail return

[This is part of my How to Install Moldings series.]

Historic Example, 1928

When your chair rail pattern projects beyond the door or window trim, then the proper way of installing it is to return it on top of the casing and not butted into it.

This example I found in the historic Allen House in Birmingham, Michigan. The chair rail is a two-piece design and acts as the wainscoting cap as well, though you will often find it as a stand-alone chair rail.

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Crown Molding Hanging Return in Historic Home

crown molding

[This is part of my How to Install Crown Molding Series.]

In The Allen House, 1928

In my continuing effort to show you historic examples of the molding design and installation techniques I preach about here on The Joy of Moldings, I give you what I call a hanging crown molding.

This one I found recently while touring Birmingham, Michigan’s, historic Allen House.

Continue Reading →


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