my Old Workshop

Top 10 trim tips

Looking back at the archives, we pulled out a few of the trim tips that will save you time and give you a job you can be proud of.

1. Always leave a reveal around window and door casing. That’s the little 1/8″ or so edge of the jamb that you can see on the inside edge of the casing. If you try and nail the casing flush with the face of the jamb, it just won’t look as good.

2. When installing ceiling trim – crown or cornice molding – keep it level, even if the ceiling isn’t. By shimming as necessary to maintain level, your corners are going to be much tighter and neater.

3. For real quality workmanship, practice coping skills, and cope trim when possible, rather than using a miter cut.

4. When possible, start with a longer piece of trim, fit it in position and trim small increments till it’s perfect.

5. Whenever possible, hold the stock in place and mark it for the cut, rather than measuring the distance and transferring it to the stock.

6. If you want big, old-fashioned baseboards, construct them yourself out of a two or more pieces. Or consider alternatives, such as MDF.

7. When installing ceiling trim, give yourself a nailer by either screwing a beveled nailer to the studs behind the molding, or by screwing a piece of flat stock to the ceiling joists above the molding; it can actually become part of the molding.

8. Install door and window casing in this order: side – top – side.

9. don’t assume 90 degree corners; get the angle and split it. And in the case of ceiling trim, find a calculator on the Internet that will help you determine the compound miter cut.

10. Which brings us to… get the tools. A sliding compound miter saw will save you hours of agony and give you a great job every time.