Build & install beautiful door and window trim
Your shop tells the world you're a woodworker. Use it to make the rest of your home say the same thing.
Make a statement
Like the beige walls of an office cubicle, basic builder moldings in most houses do their job—hiding raw drywall edges—but they're not anything you pause to admire. By designing and milling your own door and window trim, you make a style statement by controlling the size, width, wood species, and profile beyond the limited selection in home centers. And you'll save money versus buying the premade stuff.
Block out miter cuts
Corner blocks hide end grain on the molding and eliminate miter cuts and the need to make stopped cuts to form flutes or beads.
Combine corner joints
By encasing a butt-joined molding in narrow, mitered moldings, you conceal end grain without cutting wide, obvious miters.
Widen moldings, not profiles
Routing molding blanks wider than the bit length produces a bolder profile appropriate for rooms with ceilings over 8' high.
Help your router table handle long stock
Precautions that help you safely and effectively rout long molding include (1) hold-downs clamped to the fence, (2) featherboards, (3) infeed support, (4) clearance on both sides of the router table, (5) a helper on the outfeed side, and (6) efficient dust collection.
Patient sanding pays off
Both store-bought trim and one-pass routed moldings have tool marks (top) that must be sanded down prior to staining (bottom).
Study and mark windows
After checking that a window is mounted square and flush with the wall, mark the top and bottom centers of the head jamb and sill.
Recessed moldings lie flat
Multiple passes over a 34" dado blade create a recess to let this door molding compensate for wall imperfections.
Mark reveals on the window
A sliding square with a 3"-wide blade (see Sources, slide 18) helps mark reveal lines where you'll attach molding to the window jambs and sill.
Know your window and trim parts
Make the stool/apron assembly on the bottom of the window the same as a header assembly minus the beaded molding on the bottom
Center the header parts
Assemble this window header by aligning the center marks and nailing the cap pieces and beaded molding to the head casing.
Attach the stool and apron
Align the stool/apron assembly with the sill edge reveal marks, and attach the assembly to the wall with 15- or 16-gauge nails.
Nail the side casings in place
A 15- or 16-gauge nail at least 21⁄4 " long has what it takes to penetrate 34" hardwood, 12" drywall, and the stud underneath.
Plinths prove practical
A plinth block at the base of the door jamb provides a transition between the side casing and baseboards.
Get eye to eye with marks
Transfer the reveal mark on the door head jamb edge to the edge of a door casing. Then trim the casing to that mark.
Everything lines up
The ends of the door head casing should align with the outer edges of the side casings.
Fill in the nail holes
A dab of colored wood putty on your fingertip can fill nail holes in stained trim. A clear finish helps patches blend in.
Router bits: Window casing bit no. 175-4805, Eagle America, 800-872-2511 or eagleamerica.com. Base-cap bit no. 99-480, (Amazon.com), Freud America, 800-334-4107 or freudtools.com.
Profile sanding blocks: Set of 15, no. 68Z82.10, Lee Valley Tools, 800-871-8158 or leevalley.com.
Sliding square: No. 05N32.01, Lee Valley Tools.
Tinted putty: Color Putty no. 116 Butternut, Color Putty Co., 608-325-6033 or colorputty.com.
- For a free video on cutting and installing crown molding, go to woodmagazine.com/moldingvideo.
- To buy an article on choosing a mitersaw, go to woodmagazine.com/12mitersaw.
- For nailer and compressor combo kit information and reviews, see woodmagazine.com/nailercombo.