corner blockTraditional Style, c. 1828 – 33

These photos are courtesy of the Library of Congress.

This ornate corner block is from the Connecticut Greek Revival home of Captain William Webb Wakeman.

You could make similar corner blocks for your traditional style home with a few simple materials you can buy at your local lumber yard.

Yay for Corner Blocks!

I’ve always been a big fan of corner blocks, and I feel they are under utilized by finish carpenters and designers.

Think about it, how much fun would you have looking for just the right appliques that would suit your decorating style!

The hardest part would be finding casing moldings that are similar to these. I’ve seen some made from mdf that would get you close. I’ll leaf through Don’s molding supply catalogues over at Durst Lumber in Berkley, and see what they have. I’ll post the results later this week.

The particulars of this design, while important, are less important than creating a substantial door surround that will make your home look like a grand historic home. I’m confident you can do it.

Here are some material suggestions to help get you started.

corner blocks historic

Note the plinth blocks at the bottom of each door surround.


Materials to Make this Corner Block and Door Trim

You need so little material to make this corner block that I’m not even going to bother calculating the price. The two items that will cost you the most are the casing molding and the ornate appliques.

diy corner block

1. Corner Block Backband, MDF-100

You can make the thin strips needed for the backband out of thin strips of MDF-100. You cut down on your table saw.

More about MDF-100 here >>

2. Corner Block Foundation, MDF-200

1/2″ thick mdf will do the job nicely for this. If you need even more thickness, then use 3/4″ thick mdf.

More about MDF-200 here >>

3. Casing, CA-002

You can go to a custom millwork company and have them make you this exact profile for you, or, if you’re cheep like me, you go to your local lumber yard and find something close, like CA-002, which is a common profile. Use the right (rolled) side for this pattern.

More about CA-002 here >>

4. Scriber, MDF-100

A few long strips of 1/4″ thick mdf will answer nicely for those internal scribers. Make them as wide as you like.

More about MDF-100 here >>

5. Plinth Blocks

Look closely at the plinth blocks in the room photo above. Note how they are rectangular with no bevels or other detail.

You can make your own out of mdf to the thickness you need (which is dependent on the casing thickness). Stack two pieces together like I did here if you like.