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Pilaster Capital Ideas for Dave

archway in foyer living room

Dave’s questions mostly concern pilaster capitals. There are three different pilaster capital designs in this one picture.

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

Dave Asks

Q1  I noticed you took down  Any chance that you still have photos of ARCHWAY-100?

Q2  Can I use rope molding for the pilaster capital collar?

Q3  Will ARCHWAY-100’s capital look OK with a horizontal entablature?

Q4  My entablature starts at 6-8′ up, will that be enough height for a capital that detailed?

Ken’s Answers


finish trim joiner carpenter kenHi Dave,

It’s great to hear you’ve started your molding project, though I’m surprised you could not find a molding like PM-001 locally.

Well, maybe I should stop being surprised.

Many of the questions I receive here on our blog are about where to find the moldings I used for my patterns.

I hate to admit this, but I’m having such a hard time finding the simplest moldings for our own projects here at home, that I’m considering finding an online supplier for the rest of Our Molding Makeover.

Even though I make my living online, I’ve resisted buying moldings online because I like supporting local lumber yards and millwork companies.  Perhaps I need to let go of that idea.

But don’t worry about trial and error, Dave; you can only plan so much before you’ve just got to get in there and start nailing moldings together.  Making adjustments along the way is a normal part of the process.

A1  The top picture in this post should answer most of your questions with just a glance.  It shows ARCHWAY-100 as viewed from the foyer.

how to install archway moldings

This pilaster capital I’ve come to call a hooded capital because it has both a soffit and fascia making up the abacus.  It is made from simple moldings wrapped around an mdf board core.

I’ve never published this photo before, and it reminded me just how beautiful that project was when finished.  This photo even jolted my memory into recalling the name of the molding paint: Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter #HC-172.

Q2  I wouldn’t use a rope molding for the collar — not the proper use for that motif.

Q3  Yes, those capitals will look great with a horizontal entablature.  Remember, it’s all about balance.  Make more mockups to be sure.

Below  Here are two other pilaster capital ideas for you.


A simple paneled pilaster with lion head woodworking applique — a theme repeated in this project’s ornate details.

oval compo woodworking rosette applique

This pilaster capital is subordinate to the other capitals in this room.

Q4  The pilasters on this archway, with their hooded capitals, are a little over six feet high.  This much detail is perfectly acceptable at this height, provided the rest of your moldings are proportionate.  It’s all about balance.

Hope this helps.  Good luck Dave!

Other Posts in the Dave Series

  1. Dave’s Kitchen Crown Molding Challenge
  2. Dave’s Foyer Moldings
  3. Corner Blocks for Dave’s Living Room & Foyer Archways

6 Responses to Pilaster Capital Ideas for Dave

  1. Dave August 14, 2012 at 5:54 AM #

    This is just what I was looking for and will help me greatly. All are beautiful examples of craftsmanship and artistry!

  2. Ken August 14, 2012 at 7:12 AM #

    Glad to help, Dave.

  3. Chris H February 15, 2013 at 7:23 AM #

    I have a quick question, when you do a pilaster like the one shown at the top of the page for a front door it appears there are two stacked pieces of 1/4″ flat stock on the left side of the pilaster to cover the door jamb. Do you mirror this build-up on the right side of the pilaster, I would think yes otherwise you would end up with a gap unless you returned the molding on the right side. I just can’t tell from the picture and was planning to do something similiar, so I want to make sure it looks balanced. Thanks.

  4. Ken February 15, 2013 at 8:21 AM #

    Chris, have you seen this post Before & After: Grand Front Door Surround?

    Do those pictures help?

  5. Chris H February 17, 2013 at 7:45 PM #

    Those pictures are perfect, thanks! It makes sense to me after seeing them that the outermost edge would be returned. This provides a stair-step foundation for the pilaster that would naturally draw ones eye inward.

  6. Ken February 18, 2013 at 11:46 AM #

    Have fun with it Chris!

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