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.

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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.

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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.

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Combine corner joints

By encasing a butt-joined molding in narrow, mitered moldings, you conceal end grain without cutting wide, obvious miters.

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Widen moldings, not profiles

Routing molding blanks wider than the bit length produces a bolder profile appropriate for rooms with ceilings over 8' high.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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Recessed moldings lie flat

Multiple passes over a 34" dado blade create a recess to let this door molding compensate for wall imperfections.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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Nail the side casings in place

A 15- or 16-gauge nail at least 214 " long has what it takes to penetrate 34" hardwood, 12" drywall, and the stud underneath.

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Plinths prove practical

A plinth block at the base of the door jamb provides a transition between the side casing and baseboards.

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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.

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Everything lines up

The ends of the door head casing should align with the outer edges of the side casings.

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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.

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Router bits: Window casing bit no. 175-4805, Eagle America, 800-872-2511 or Base-cap bit no. 99-480, (, Freud America, 800-334-4107 or
Profile sanding blocks: Set of 15, no. 68Z82.10, Lee Valley Tools, 800-871-8158 or
Sliding square: No. 05N32.01, Lee Valley Tools.
Tinted putty: Color Putty no. 116 Butternut, Color Putty Co., 608-325-6033 or

More Sources

  • For a free video on cutting and installing crown molding, go to
  • To buy an article on choosing a mitersaw, go to
  • For nailer and compressor combo kit information and reviews, see


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