For the next step in my crown molding project, I am using medium density fiberboard, which is just about the perfect material for this except the terrible dust it creates.
After several trips to Woodcraft to exchange router bits and one trip to UPS to return the MLCS router bit I ordered a month ago, I have settled in on the final profile for my dining room crown molding. The final design kept evolving - I went through three additional possibilities after finally coming up with a profile that was mostly true to the cornice molding I was copying, yet was reasonably easy to replicate. Take a look below (click to enlarge)…
An exact copy of the cornice molding. The lower portion of this profile is difficult to copy with router bits. Remember that I am copying the cornice molding shown in this photo.
My router friendly version - the main difference is the cove molding at the bottom. I've made slight alterations here and there, and the overall size is smaller. Otherwise, I think the design is faithful to the original.
One side note – I had ordered a large MLCS thumbnail table edge router bit to cut the round over shown in the lower half of the original profile. This bit was so big that it was actually larger than the opening in my router base. There was no way for me to safely use it. Since I have never had this issue come up before, it did not dawn on me to verify the outer radius of the router bit prior to placing the order. Lesson learned I guess. The router bit is on its way back to MLCS for a refund.
With the crown profile figured out, I made a MDF copy…
The final profile design of the crown molding.
The example shown in the photo will become the template from which all the molding will be cut, and there is a lot of molding to cut. MDF is the best material to make this molding because its flat and straight - I won’t have to contend with any warped lumber. But the main drawbacks of using MDF are 1) the tremendous amount of dust created during fabrication, and 2) MDF is very dense and therefore heavy.
I use a series of router bits to cut the profile.
In the photo above, I utilized a 1/2" cove bit and a 1/2" round over bit near the top of the profile. Then I switched to a 1/4" cove bit for the small return. Next on the way down is a large 5/8" cove bit (four cutters on this one) and then the same 1/2" cove bit used for the top of the profile.
This means a lot of router work in the coming weeks and I'll have to be extra careful to align the different layers correctly; keeping my fingers crossed for that.
After much fussing with the crown design, this is what it will ultimately look like - nice profile, not too busy and it still retains the look of the original design.
My first step will be to attach a thin strip of pine on the walls which will serve as a place for me to screw the molding into and then the MDF fabrication will ensue. That will be the subject of my next post.
This is post nine in this series. To see the next post, click here. To view all the posts, click here.
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