Sunday, March 27, 2011

Crown molding: back to work

The jig. Here I am about to begin making a lap joint on the end of this board. I made a jig to act as a fence which my router can run against. Note the pencil line which indicates where the lap joint will end.

Enough already with the laying around the house. After dealing with the flu for eight days, I got back to work on the crown molding project for my dining room. I had cut four of the ceiling beams to final size the day before I got sick. These are the beams that run left to right across the room. The next step was to begin fabricating a lap joint on each end of these beams.

Making a cut. The jig enables me to precisely line up the cut with the pencil line. After the cut is made, I simply move the jig forward, nibbling away material until the lap joint is completed. UPDATE 4/17/11 - In this lap, it is actually better to start at the end and work back towards the pencil line.

In my last post, I was contemplating how best to make this lap joint. In the comments, Duane suggested a simple router jig, which I was not wanting to do because of all the repeated passes I would have to make. The largest straight bit I have is 1/2 inch and the width of the lap joint is six inches, so that meant 12 passes to complete the lap joint. Plus, as I began cutting away the material, I decided to make each pass with two cuts: one at 3/16 inch deep and a final pass at 3/8 inch. So, in total, making this lap joint took 24 passes and each board has a lap joint at each end - a lot of cutting. A radial arm saw with a dado blade would be the best way to do this, but I don't have such a saw, so the router is the next best tool. I made a simple jig as Duane suggested and made the lap joint.

Not pretty. Repeated passes yielded a mostly smooth lap joint, but at the very edge, my router was not supported as well, so that pass was a little deeper. The joint will still work fine and this cut will be totally out of view.

Evidence of a lot of cutting. A nice build-up of saw dust rests on my shop floor after making the lap joints.

My new sander. So much better than my old Porter Cable palm sander. This Makita is light and virtually vibration free - a real joy to use.

After a little sanding with my new Makita 5" sander (love this tool - just wish my old Porter Cable had worn out sooner) I painted on a coat of primer on the beams, then filled a few imperfections. Then it was time to attach them to the ceiling.

A lot of work. Over head work is tough. After a while, my drill gets heavy and my wife's willingness to help hold the beams in place begins to wear thin (although she was a very willing helper).

I reached my goal: these four beams are in place before supper. I still have to fill the screw holes and then do this all over again for the two beams that run front to back (see the SketchUp illustration of the beams by clicking here). I hope to have the whole simulated beam part of this project completed by this time next Sunday. Then it will be on to the actual crown molding. Yes!

This is post five in this series. To view the next post, click here. To view all the posts, click here. This is post five in this series.

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Aaron said...

That's almost exactly the same process I used to join the countertops for my recent "sales counter" project. You are right that it takes multiple passes, and boy does it create a lot of sawdust and waste! My joint was 3 inches long, 24 inches wide, and seemed to go on forever. Looking good, Jeff!

Jason Herrick said...

Glad your feeling better Jeff. Being sick is no fun at all. Especially when there are projects to be done!
I like your jig a lot, That's usually how I chew through a bunch of wood too.

I really love your attention to quality and details. Keep it up!

Jeff Branch said...

"...and seemed to go on forever."

Aaron, man can I relate!

And Jason, thanks for the kind words. It is funny how my jig is so simple, but so important to making an accurate cut.

David Scott said...

Glad you are feeling better. Nothing like new tools and sawdust on the floor.

Jane Bell said...

Coming along Jeff. Very nice1

Alex Comes said...

Moving along, Jeff. Can't wait to see the crown installed. It's going to look good.

Jeff Branch said...

Thanks Jane and Alex. I can't wait to see it finished too.

Dyami said...

Looking good, Jeff. I'm glad you're feeling better and I can't was to see the finished ceiling.