Making crown molding with a complex molding plane.

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Blog entry by mvflaim posted 03-06-2012 03:12 AM 2204 reads 1 time favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

While in the process of building a Bourdonnais French style bookcase I needed to make some crown molding for the top.

I wasn’t about to go out and spend money on some pre-made crown molding. That would be the easy way out. I have a boat load of antique molding planes in my shop, so I decided to put one of those bad boys to use.

The first step in make making crown molding is to get the stock prepared. I ripped a couple of pieces of straight grained poplar 5/8″ x 2″ x 6′ long. It’s important to get wood with grain as straight as possible to avoid tear out caused by the plane’s blade.

I then chopped off a section of one of the boards to use as a test piece. Placing the piece in my sticking board, I began running my molding plane over the board to create the Roman ogee profile. After a few strokes, the shape was completed in about five minutes. By the way, my sticking board is similar to the one based off of Jim Toplin’s in the book “The New Traditional Woodworker” by Popular Woodworking Books.

The next step is to create the angles on the board so that is works as crown molding on the case. I took the board over to the table saw and set the blade to 30 degrees. Once I set the fence to the proper location, I ran the board through and then flipped the board over to rip off the same 30 degree angle off the other end of the board.

I then took the molding back to the bench to finalize the profile. I used a block plane and just knocked off the top corner. This corner should be 90 degree to the 30 degree angle cut on the table saw so that it will lay on the case properly. (It’s really helpful to have a small sample piece of crown molding laying around so that you can use all the angles on the molding as a template for your piece).

Once the profile has been completed, a light sanding with 120 grit sand paper helps clean up any chatter left by the molding plane. I use a styrofoam sanding sponge and some sticky sand paper to sand the profile.

After sanding the only thing left to do is attach it to the case. Always make more molding than you need. There may and will be parts of the molding where the plane falls out of line a little bit and the profile won’t match the rest of the board. You simply cuts those parts off and use the rest.


4 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


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#1 posted 03-06-2012 04:11 AM

Good job thanks for sharing.

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View thedude50's profile


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#2 posted 03-06-2012 10:55 AM

wonderful french Provencal book case. i love it but since this is about the molding. id like more good photos of the plane you used and some ideas on what type and model we should look for to make crown. currently i make mine on the table saw or with a router bit set depending on the thickness of the molding these are well accepted methods of making the crown and grail selection is less critical on the table saw method . however with router bits they seem to do better when you use strait grained wood. I always make my crown out of the same type of wood as the project because i never paint my projects, if the client wants it painted they have to go someplace else. I am in this for the beauty of the wood and I don’t like painted wood except for house molding but even then i prefer wood grain can you please add more photos of the plane you used and what it is called etc etc and of coarse i want to see the shavings flying in some photos thanks for posting this

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View canadianchips's profile


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#3 posted 03-06-2012 01:56 PM

Well done. Now I need a sticking board like that.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View Dennisgrosen's profile


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#4 posted 03-06-2012 08:02 PM

thanks for sharing :-)


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