Thursday, March 3, 2016

Crown Molding was Never This Easy: Corner Blocks Rule!

House of Fara Corner Blocks

There are few interior details that effectively add some "class" to a room as a
course of crown molding up at ceiling level. It's tasteful, elegant, attractive... and a total pain in the butt to install. That’s probably why the skinny saw originally used to cut miters on the stuff is called a coping saw: because carpenters had to cope with the stuff too. But seriously: cutting a miter in crown molding truly tries one’s patience: does it go in the miter box/saw upside down? right-side up? Must you cope the joints for a better fit? How loud should you swear when you botch a cut? 

If you're a smart do-it-yourselfer, you'll forgo the entire mitered corner hassle and opt to use corner blocks, like those from House of Fara. Using the outside and inside corner blocks means you never have to cut a miter in the molding; you make a straight cut and butt the molding against the block. You heard me right: nothing but straight, right-angle cuts. 

Sure, the blocks seem a bit expensive, but one messed-up cut to molding costing more than $1.50 a running foot seems pretty expensive, too! Plus, the corner blocks invisibly help you square up corners that have become saggy or have been rounded over, which is common with older houses. 

For my project, a small kitchen with an ell on the end, I mounted five inside corners and an outside corner. I skipped the middle box they sell and used a scarf joint instead. Fara's corner boxes are available in unprimed hardwood, primed "whitewood," and oak. They're sold in three different sizes from about 5 to 8 inches high with identical profiles. The three sizes let you size the boxes to your molding. 

The boxes are pre-sanded and the staple holes plugged. All you need do is drill starter holes in the sides for nailing them in place. The whitewood is soft enough to allow some some shaping with a utility knife in case of irregularities, but since the box is open you avoid the messiest point in the very corner. Of course, if the room’s not square, you may still need to play with a coping saw some.

Period purists will point out that this shortcut isn't authentic;  but it's lots easier and faster to install crown molding with corner blocks than it is to slave over a hot miter box for a couple of days. And when you're done? It looks darned good (if I do say so myself). 


Plus: not a single miter cut needed
Minus: not really "authentic" (but who cares?)
What They’re Saying: Make quick work of installing crown molding and still get a nice-looking job: House of Fara Corner Blocks for Crown Molding.

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