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mystic_cobra 11-13-2011 01:30 PM

What size nails for kitchen crown molding?
I am putting finished wood (already stained, will be unpainted, uncalked) crown molding on top of my cabinets. The 36" cabinets will be pushed all the way so the crown is flush with the ceiling. I plan to put a 3/4 x 1 1/2" nailer strip on top of the cabinets set back about a half inch and then attach the crown to the front of that nailer strip so the crown sits flush on top of the cabinet face.

What size nails and nailer do I need?

I currently only have a 15 gauge nailer, so I'm planning to buy one or borrow one for this and future projects. The 15g nailer worked fine on the white painted crown that I used elsewhere in the house but I was able to fill and paint over the holes. Not an option here, right?

I figure I need a nail that's about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2" long to penetrate the ~ 3/4" of crown and then penetrate the nailer strip. I'm guessing 23g 1" pin nails will not do it. Should I look for a brad nailer that shoots 18 or 20g 1 1/2" brad nails?

I have 7 cabinets to crown around totalling about 20 linear feet.

pic attached:

kt82 11-13-2011 02:47 PM

the 15ga will work fine with 1 1/4'' nails on the crown .use hot glue on the corners instead of nailing them
just use some premixed putty to match your stain

mystic_cobra 11-13-2011 03:18 PM

Some good ideas I had not thought of. I was planning to use wood glue on the corners. Hot glue on the inside should make less mess on the front side than wood glue would.

As for using the larger nails and filling the holes, I like the idea. Should make it plenty strong enough. When you say premixed putty, can I just buy a putty to match at my local home store?

kwikfishron 11-13-2011 03:39 PM

199 Attachment(s)

Originally Posted by mystic_cobra (Post 770367)
can I just buy a putty to match at my local home store?

You can get close to a match. Iíll sometimes take two or three shades of putty kneading them together for a better match. If you take the time to play around with it for awhile youíll never be able to tell where the hole was.

loneframer 11-13-2011 04:10 PM

It looks like you have enough face frame showing to simplify this, IMO.I'd let the 1x nailer stick past the front of the cabinet far enough to accept the rabbet in the back of the crown molding, then use a 23 gauge pinner to attach through the thinnest part of the crown. No splitting, no filling and solid connection. It will also lend itself well to the full overlay doors.

I have one of these pinners. Some will bash Harbor Freight, but I've run thousands of pins through mine with no issues.

mystic_cobra 11-13-2011 04:53 PM

Thanks for the feedback, loneframer.

So I was wondering what that notch (rabbet) on back side was used for. Should have know it had a fancy name. :)

I considered dropping the molding down on the front of the frame face as you suggested but hadn't thought it all the way through. Since I am pushing the crown/cabinet all the way to the ceiling I guess that would move my cabinets up another half inch or so-not a problem either way I don't think. That would cover the seam creating by butting the two pieces together in my photo which makes sense.

Installing it the way you suggest seems like it may be how the molding was designed to go together, yes?

loneframer 11-13-2011 05:07 PM

I'd surmise that that molding is designed for several different installation scenarios. I just don't care for that much of the face frames to show at the top of the cabinet when the doors are full overlay. That may be the intention of the rabbet, I'm not sure.

When installing crown in your case, you'll want to make sure the cabinets are as parallel to the ceiling as possible, so it doesn't look crooked on the cabinet when installed.

Sometimes, you have to have a sense of humor when installing cabinetry.:laughing:

mystic_cobra 11-13-2011 05:14 PM

another layout
Here's a pic showing what I think we are talking about.
I was thinking that the gap was too small between the molding and the door but as long as they don't touch I guess it would work fine. I think there's room to lower the doors a little when I align them to maintain a sufficient gap there.

Trying to have a sense of humor about this but it's my first cabinet job so I'm still a little stressed/perplexed about the layout.

We'll have to see what the wife votes for. :)

firehawkmph 11-13-2011 05:22 PM

along with Loneframer said, which I think is a good idea, I usually predrill and fasten the 1x to the top of the cabinets with screws. Saves having a gun nail decide it wants to curl and shoot out the front of the style. Also, if you have a nail that isn't set you can tap it in without the 1x wood loosening up. A lot of the major cabinet manufacturers are making 39" tall cabinets now to use in your situation. Keeps the bottoms of the cabinets at a traditional height (54"). I would use an 18 gauge bradtacker to fasten the crown. The 23 micros don't have that much holding power. No heads on the pins. They are really meant to tack things together and keep them in place till the glue dries. They work well on the outside corners along the miter joint. Good luck with your project. Measure carefully, the prefinished crown isn't cheap, which I'm sure you already know.
Mike Hawkins:)

mystic_cobra 11-13-2011 05:31 PM

Hey, Firehawk, thanks for chiming in.

I was planning to predrill and screw the 1x nailer to the frame before using a nail gun on the crown. I, too feel like 23g nails would be too small.

Still processing all this and trying to work through it before I start cutting so I don't have to do it twice.


firehawkmph 11-13-2011 06:09 PM

I do a lot of kitchens. The other thing I like to do is use a protractor to check each angle before I cut it. They're not always a perfect 90 or 45. I have a Starret protractor which is very accurate. Makes the crown go a lot easier. I have a 10" Bosch sliding compound saw that I use just for crown. It has a dial which lets you dial in a fraction of a degree instead of just bumping the saw a little and tightening it back down. Also, make sure you have a secure way of holding the crown in the saw at the same attitude for each and every cut. I made a plywood base/fence that fastens to the saw. I screw on a piece of stop on each side that runs parallel to the fence and is about 1/2" square. The stop locates the edge of the crown that sits on the bed of the saw so it can't slip. You can figure out where the stop needs to be by putting your crown up against the inside of a framing square so both sides are flush up against each leg of the square where they hit. It may sound like a pain, but consistency when cutting crown is your friend.
Mike Hawkins:)

woodworkbykirk 11-13-2011 06:23 PM

for stain grade crown i would avoid using the 15 gauge nailer, a nail this gauge will have plenty of holding power however it will leave a much larger more noticeable hole, i would go with a 18 gauge nailer.

23 gauge will work and can hold just a matter of using nails closer together. ive seen some of lones work and its definitely top notch, ive heard all about the "HOH" project hes been on for some time and seen photos.... not to mention the nail gun collection photos:whistling2:

you are right about the starrett angle finder though, i have one as well and they work like a charm. keeping hte bosch dedicated to trim definitely keeps it in tune. im the same way with my bosch 12" it stays in storage until its time to trim, had it 4 years and still have yet to need to tune it up

loneframer 11-13-2011 06:56 PM

The point of the 23 gauge pins is to avoid having to fill holes. If you screw the nailer to the cabinets and put a small bead of glue or adhesive caulk on the rabbet, you will never have to worry about the trim coming loose. Honestly, on top of cabinets, the trim is not in any danger of getting jarred loose. A 23 gauge pin every 8 inches is more than enough holding power. If you pinch nail it every 12", all the better. If you start spraying that down with 15 or 16 gauge nails, you run a high risk of splitting. 18 might be risky as well.

Pick up the 23 gauge pinner, you won't be sorry. If nothing else, it's perfect for pinning the miters on the corners, but I use it for much more.

BTW, you pic is exactly what I was thinking.:thumbsup:

kt82 11-15-2011 06:36 AM

don't lower the doors add an extra 1/2'' to your nailer

mrgins 11-17-2011 11:22 AM

I always screw the nailer from the back and then down to the cabinet from the top. Bit more work but no visible fasteners. Glue joints and use clips, clamps or tape to hold joints tight until glue dries

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