how to install moldings

[This is part of my FIREPLACE MANTEL-103 series.]

Improvisational Finish Carpentry

Perhaps I don’t speak quite enough about this in my posts, but improvisational finish carpentry is what I’m trying to teach you here on The Joy of Moldings.

Why? Because you will forever be faced with slight changes in materials that will force you to rethink your way through nearly any design.

What’s the point of me drawing up elaborate CAD drawings when the molding you have locally available is 1/16″ different in some dimension than what I put on a drawing? This causes confusion.

So I spend much time in these installation sequences helping you understand the overall design concept, rather than fussing with too many specifics.

Where a dimension is important, I’ll always say so.

In order to make the pilasters flare above the crown molding (a subtle, but important design element), I had to make the extensions as separate pieces.

These pieces I’m calling pilaster extensions.

Once again, you start by building a few U-shaped core boxes from MDF-200.

Note 1  Like the cores you built for the pilasters, the inside legs of these cores need to be shorter than the outside legs — to account for whatever the thickness of your fireplace slip (the tiles around the opening).

Note 2  Since I’m always improvising when building something like this — I built my boxes one at a time — seeing how they look each step of the way. And that’s what I did here.


moldings & millwork

Below  Notice how I built these cores to sit on top of the small crown molding.

molding & millwork

finish carpenter

Below  I placed the pilasters up against the wall to help me work through this installation.

Again, before I start a project like this one, I make very rough drawings to help me find where all of my most important limiting factors are, and then I figure out the specifics as I build. This is just such a case.

finish carpenter

how to install moldings

Below  Now that I’m confident my pilaster extensions are just right, I lay them down on a flat surface to start assembling them into one unit.

easy molding projects

fireplace mantel surround

diy molding projects

mdf fireplace mantel

molding & millwork

What’s Next?

On top of these pilaster extensions you will be building the lanterns, the beautiful paneled lanterns, that make this design so very powerful.

Posts in this Series

1. How to Build FIREPLACE MANTEL-103 for $333.08

2. How to Build FIREPLACE MANTEL-103 Part 2: Materials Inventory

3. How to Build FIREPLACE MANTEL-103 Part 3: Pilaster Cores

4. How to Build FIREPLACE MANTEL-103 Part 4: Corbels & Inset Panels

5. How to Build FIREPLACE MANTEL-103 Part 5: Shadow Pilasters

6. How to Build FIREPLACE MANTEL-103 Part 6: Wrapping the Crown Molding & Base

7. How to Build FIREPLACE MANTEL-103 Part 7: Pilaster Extensions

8. How to Build FIREPLACE MANTEL-103 Part 8: Lanterns

9. How to Build FIREPLACE MANTEL-103 Part 9: Lantern Crown & Collar

10. How to Build FIREPLACE MANTEL-103 Part 10: Paneled Frieze

11. How to Build FIREPLACE MANTEL-103 Part 11: Making the Hood

12. Before & After: Great Room Fireplace Mantel with Overmantel

13. How to Make OVERMANTEL-100 for About $87.39