Jan 09 , 2019
In this article, we’ll show you how to cut out and assemble the square-edged moldings to make the window and door trim, baseboard, cove and plate rail you see with Craftsman style. Craftsman trim and Craftsman door casing may look complex, but because it’s built up from multiple pieces, it’s actually quite easy to install. The 1/2-in. square moldings that run against the floor and along the edges of the cove bend easily to conform to irregular surfaces and hide gaps. In addition, most of the inside corner pieces simply butt together and don’t require miters or bevels. You’ll still have to work carefully to get nice-fitting joints, but the small size of the individual pieces makes them easier to cut and fit.
Assemble the Tools and Select Materials
In addition to basic hand tools, you’ll need a table saw to rip the thin strips from larger boards and a miter saw to make crisp, clean cuts in the hardwood. We used a bench-top planer to remove saw marks and to reduce the thickness of the 3/4-in. stock to 1/2-in. for some of the trim pieces. If you don’t own a planer, hire the lumberyard or a local woodworker to plane these pieces for you. We recommend an air powered trim nailer, which not only speeds up the work but also makes it much easier to get tight-fitting joints. You can rent a nailer and compressor or buy a kit containing both at a fairly low cost.
We’re using ‘plain sawn’ red oak for this project rather than the more expensive ‘quarter sawn’ that was common for Craftsman trim. It’s readily available at home centers and most lumberyards. To simplify your planning, all the pieces are either 1x4s (3/4-in. x 3-1/2 in. actual size) or can be cut from 1x4s. The key to using plain sawn oak is to select the boards for similar appearance and attractive grain patterns. Straight-grained pieces usually look best and should be reserved for prominent locations. Use the less attractive wood for baseboards in areas that will be hidden by furniture. If you have a better selection of wider boards, 1x6s for example, buy these instead and rip them on the table saw to make your moldings.