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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Considering a crown molding project.

Found this article on popular mechanics:

http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/how-to-plans/woodworking/4335690

Has anybody had success with that method of using a "backerboard" as a nailer for the crown molding? I like the sounds of it, but would love some testimonies from this crowd.

Secondly, if it works, I don't know that I fully understand it. Is it a triangle shaped piece of 3/4 inch plywood? The pics are so small, I can't really tell what the backerboard looks like.
 

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Old School
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The humorous part of fabricating a 'backer board' is that it is totally unnecessary.

Think about it. What purpose does that pointed triangle shape serve?

None. And that back part can even get in the way if the ceiling to wall line isn't perfectly clear and straight.

I use simple firring strips that I buy cheaply almost anywhere. They are ready to go up, just as they are... although sometimes I do cut them in half to get smaller pieces.
 

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1. Popular Mechanics isn't really a good source for.... anything.

2. What Willie T said.
 

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Bama,
I have used backers in the past. It really helps on the walls that run parallel to the ceiling joists where you don't normally have a nailer other than the plate on top. The important thing is to take a piece of your crown and fit it to the inside corner of a framing square. Make sure both flats of the crown are hitting the framing square and see how much space you have behind the crown. Make your backer a little smaller to allow room for adjustment when installing the crown. You also have to stop the backer short of the corner like it shows in one of the pics in the PM article. If you don't if will interfere with your crown end that butts into the wall.
Mike Hawkins:)
 

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Bama,
I have used backers in the past. It really helps on the walls that run parallel to the ceiling joists where you don't normally have a nailer other than the plate on top. The important thing is to take a piece of your crown and fit it to the inside corner of a framing square. Make sure both flats of the crown are hitting the framing square and see how much space you have behind the crown. Make your backer a little smaller to allow room for adjustment when installing the crown. You also have to stop the backer short of the corner like it shows in one of the pics in the PM article. If you don't if will interfere with your crown end that butts into the wall.
Mike Hawkins:)
Those two are SUPER important. Never make a backer that fits tight up against the back of the crown piece. About a quarter of an inch space between the backer board and the crown molding is good.

This is adjusted by simply ripping the backer board if necessary. It usually isn't necessary.
 
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Backer strip or not, the most important part of cutting crown is nesting the crown at the same exact angle each time. Without that there will be frustrations that will be difficult to overcome.

There are plenty of ways to achieve that. This is how I have been doing it for years with great results.







The real hidden benefit is in the zero clearance fence. That makes lining up your cut easy to very accurate tolerances.

Good luck to you with your project.
 

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Undoubtedly the correctly angled cut is important. But there is something else equally critical. And that is making sure you get each piece of molding up on the wall in the same orientation as all the others in the room.

This is especially more critical as the molding size increases. It is really easy to get molding pieces up on a wall, totally mismatched to the angle of another piece coming around the corner... a piece that HAS to meet it correctly.

The pictures below show a homemade tool that makes that task easier.

I wish I could give proper credit to the person who first posted pictures of this 'tool', but I just plain forget who it was. Still, I made a tool like they showed, and use it all the time.
 

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Willie T said:
Undoubtedly the correctly angled cut is important. But there is something else equally critical. And that is making sure you get each piece of molding up on the wall in the same orientation as all the others in the room.

This is especially more critical as the molding size increases. It is really easy to get molding pieces up on a wall, totally mismatched to the angle of another piece coming around the corner... a piece that HAS to meet it correctly.

The pictures below show a homemade tool that makes that task easier.

I wish I could give proper credit to the person who first posted pictures of this 'tool', but I just plain forget who it was. Still, I made a tool like they showed, and use it all the time.
I think it's a pic from a taunton's book. I use the same sort of thing. I also make one the height of the room to hold up the end of a long piece of molding when I'm installing alone.
 

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I have two of these black ones, (lower left) and seven or eight of the orange ones (middle bottom)... and two I made from wire. (the big pictures)

And over a dozen of the spring clamps. (lower right)
 

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NIce tools Willie. Unfortunately, I'm mostly working with masonry walls. They don't hold nails/screws very well. :laughing: That's why I use the prop stick.

Mostly I'm gluing to walls and fixing with nails to ceiling joists. Works pretty well and has held up over several heating/cooling seasons.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
does anyone know of the best online "tips sheet" on crown molding? Tons of great tips here from y'all, but would be nice to have a consolidated set.
 

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does anyone know of the best online "tips sheet" on crown molding? Tons of great tips here from y'all, but would be nice to have a consolidated set.
These can be found in books, online, written in the sawdust of time by our forefathers...... or written in How-To's on this site by ambitious newbies looking to spread the knowledge they gain through their experience (hint. hint).

I have read several articles from Tauntons, bought books about just crown molding, consulted with helpful carpenters who taught me aphorisms (upside down and backwards... ). I've revisited high-school geometry and 'calculated' the perfect angles to set my miter saw.

And none of this meant a damn thing the first time I tried to install crown molding in my old house.

None of the illustrations or mathematics prepared me to deal with rooms that scoff at the notion that a corner should be 90 degrees; that rooms should be rectangles - most of mine are really parallelograms. Or that it is pointless to install perfectly level crown molding in a room which has a wall height that varies several inches over the length of the wall. In the end... I just end up doing what 'looks' right to my eye.

Bottom line:

Like all things in life, it takes knowledge + practice to = skill.

You can buy plenty of cheap wood stock and practice, practice, practice. And the lessons still won't really stick until you mess up your last piece of really nice hardwood crown molding.

Read more, play with your saw, don't be afraid to notate on your molding in pencil, lather, rinse, repeat.
 
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