Author Topic: Carpenter/cabinet maker mentor.  (Read 5559 times)

Offline Moutainman15

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Carpenter/cabinet maker mentor.
« on: January 12, 2013, 11:50:48 AM »
Hi guys and gals.
I am a full time carpenter/cabinet maker and installer. I do VERY high end work and would like to offer any advise you may need if carpentry or woodworking is on your 13 list.
I am not very experienced with exterior/framing. I am more of a furniture, cabinet, interior finish carpenter.
If you have any questions on these subjects just shoot me a private message or better yet post it up here for all to see and it may help others.

Offline Greg1109

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Re: Carpenter/cabinet maker mentor.
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2013, 12:16:44 PM »
Hey Mountainman,

I do a little of what you do on the side, not full time and I'm sure you have way more experiences e than I have, especially if you do high-end work. 

Not looking for a mentor, exactly, but would like to ask a question or two from time to time and may e shoot the shit a little.   

My first question would be, have you found a reliable jig for crown molding?   If so, did you build your own, or buy one?   I've been looking at this product and was wondering your opinion...

http://www.kregtool.com/CrownPro-Prodview.html

To date, the extent of my crown molding experience has been painted, so painter's caulk has been my best friend.  One day, I'd like to do a stain-grade job where more precise cuts are necessary. 

Thanks in advance for your time. 

-Greg.

Offline Isailli

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Re: Carpenter/cabinet maker mentor.
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2013, 07:36:32 PM »
This is my business right now too. I dont use any sort of jig for crown and don't think you need one but Kreg does make good tools. I have a pocket jig that i highly recommend but here are a few tips for crown.

1, upside down and backwards on a 45 in the chop saw. I never had much luck leaning the blade over its too slow for me leave it plumb and just swing the blade left to right.
2, put a 2 foot or so scrap of crown in the saw (big long piece will be hard to get exact) up on a 45 kind of like how it hangs on the wall but upside down, adjust it up and down until you have it Perfect
 Draw a line on the saw where the crown meets the saw base plate also on the top of the crown (bottom really because it is upside down)and trace the line on the fence. Don't move the molding and repeat the process for left 45 miter then swing the saw to right 45 and draw again. do it also for 22.5 degrees left and right. Now every time you make a cut the molding is aligned with these pencil marks no matter if you are cutting left or right you will have a mark for it. The most important part of getting a good miter is consistently placing the crown in the saw.
3, support long pieces at the same height as the saw deck again get the crow in the saw square. A saw stand is good I have a cheep one that works very well you can use wood block if your working on the ground. a long unsupported bendy piece of molding will not cut accurately.
4, I have the 12" Dewalt dual bevel the Dewalts have a nice high fence.without a high fence then you have to lean the blade over some other brands the fence is so low u are forced to lean the blade. IMHO it is a slower and U need a lot of trial and error to get the settings right
5, don't butt joint long sections I usually cut a scarf seam at 22.5 also I nail up the piece that under laps first then the overlap section next for easier installation (sorry probably Hard to enplane in a message hope it made sense
6 If you can check the fit of of your adjacent pieces before you nail them up. and use glue on them all when they go up and find the studs before you try to nail up the molding.
Good luck.
 Gary.

Offline Greg1109

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Re: Carpenter/cabinet maker mentor.
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2013, 11:33:07 AM »
"Kreg does make good tools. I have a pocket jig that i highly recommend"

Couldn't agree more.  I love my pocket screw jig!!

1) I remember "upside down and backwards" from Tom Silva on a This Old House episode before I ever picked up a piece of crown molding.  I don't know why that stuck in my head all these years, but it did.

2) brilliant!

3) I have a rectangle box that I painted bright yellow (so I don't misplace it, and to match my DeWalt saw) and is the same height as the base of the saw.

4) I have the DeWalt 12" single bevel. 

5) that's what I do, tho I did not know that technique had a name.

6) good advice

Thanks for the input.  I'll definitely mark my saw before my next attempt at crown molding. 


Next question, do you prefer mitering inside corners, or using a coping saw?

Offline Moutainman15

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Re: Carpenter/cabinet maker mentor.
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2013, 03:55:58 PM »
Hey Greg,

I don't use jigs for crown, I nest it and make a pencil line of my saw so every piece is nested at the same angle for each cut.
Personally I lay it flat and do the compound miter, takes a little getting used to it. For me I get a perfect cut this way and it is just better for me also because in the case that I have to do a big crown that won't fit in my saw if it is nested upsidedown and backwards. I get looked at sideways by other guys when I lay it flat cause it is "to slow" for me it is faster, that is just me. I am able to nail my mark perfect cause I can see it better. I almost never have to recut a piece which means one trip to the saw, cut all my crown, one trip to the kitchen and install it. It usually takes about 30 minutes for me to crown out a kitchen.
I always switch it up to keep my skills honed at either method.

However if you don't do it a lot I do suggest using a jig. I'd just make one if I were you they are simple. I'll make one this week while I'm on a jobsite and post a picture of it. All you do is need a stop for the top or bottom edge of the crown so that it is always at the same angle in you saw bed for every cut. What I do is just take a piece of plywood and rip it down to about 8 inches and 2 feet long. The width depends on how deep your saw cuts, you don't want to be able to cut the jig in half. If your saw cuts 6 inches front to back, and 8 inch board will leave 2 inches uncut so it won't fall apart after using it.
So, after you have the board cut to size, lay it flat in your saw, now nest the crown on the board and rest the bottom edge against your vertical saw fence. Now just draw a line on your board along the edge of where the crown lands on your board and then tack a strip of wood along that line.
Now when you nest your crown it will rest along that strip of wood and it won't be able to move, perfect cut every time!!

Prolly a little hard to understand what I'm trying to explain, I'll post up some pics this week, I have to install a little crown this week I think. I usually work with prefinished material so even putty is not an option!! Crown is really easy once you get it figured out!!
« Last Edit: January 13, 2013, 04:17:41 PM by Moutainman15 »

Offline Moutainman15

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Re: Carpenter/cabinet maker mentor.
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2013, 04:09:50 PM »
As for mitering or coping, it really depends on the job.
If you are doing prefinished stuff or anything on furniture or cabinetry I always miter. The reason is because the joint is stronger and if it is a complex detail which is often the case on cabinets and furniture, it makes it impossible to cope.
If I'm doing crown on the wall I usually cope it unless like I said if it is a complex detail like dental molding then I read out all my angles and miter.
Coping is usually easier for paint grade stuff when giong on the wall cause the walls are never true 90 degrees and you end up fighting with miters.
I know guys that will argue all day over it, I just think you gotta use whatever method best fits the situation.
Isailli gave you some great instructions, only tip I can add is on those scarf joints I will nail a wood piece that is about 8" long and let it stick past your crown 4", to the back of my first piece before I hang it, when I put my next piece up I have the 4" piece to nail to. This makes the joint much stonger and keeps it from cracking later on. I also use a 2' piece with the 22.5 angle cut on it to hold up against my first piece and that way once that first piece is nailed up I know my next piece is going to fit perfect.

Hope this helps.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2013, 04:28:29 PM by Moutainman15 »

Offline Isailli

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Re: Carpenter/cabinet maker mentor.
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2013, 06:54:52 AM »
3) I have a rectangle box that I painted bright yellow (so I don't misplace it, and to match my DeWalt saw) and is the same height as the base of the saw.

If you have a box that fits in your saw just add a strip of wood on the bottom part as a stop instead of a line. I had one that I used when all the crown i installed was the same. I now sub for a differnet company and there crown is all different sizez so now i just draw a line and did away with the box
4) I have the DeWalt 12" single bevel.  i got one of those too, also got an older 12" slider great saw but over kill for most of what i do now,

I agree withMoutainman the flat method does have its place. I once did 14" crown set in an octagon coffered ceiling.  flat in the 12" slider was the only way to do it. funny story this was in a entry way 4 stages of scaffolding to reach it. cut climb to the top (no ladder of coarse)crap to tight, climb back down trim climb back up you get the idea. must have climbed a 1000' that day finish carpenters should not work that hard :)   

Moutainman great tip on backing up the scarf joints
Gary.

Offline NWPilgrim

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Re: Carpenter/cabinet maker mentor.
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2013, 10:56:29 AM »
I'm not clear on what you guys are saying about not butting long pieces of molding but to use a 2' section and scarf joint.  Is this to make it so if there is a fitting problem you just recut another 2' section and not the long ones? And I am not understanding the tip about the 8" piece with 4" overhang.

I nailed in hardwood floors and put in molding with a separate foot.  I got almost all of it in using mitered joints. The pattern was too complex for coping, at least for me. Inside joints were not much of a problem, but what I find on some of the outer miters is that the drywall has swayed in so when the molding is nailed on it no longer is 90 degrees at the corner, even if the corner itself is 90 degrees. So would it be better than to put a short section just on the corner to maintain the corner angle and then nail the longer length of molding across the rest of the room?

Offline Isailli

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Re: Carpenter/cabinet maker mentor.
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2013, 05:48:01 PM »
I'm not clear on what you guys are saying about not butting long pieces of molding but to use a 2' section and scarf joint. 
  no lets say you have a 20' room and the biggest molding you can get is 16 instead of leaving the end squair as it came from the lumber yard you would cut s scarf you miter the joint as if it were a corner even though it is on a straight run. giving a better glue line better fit and stronger joint

Is this to make it so if there is a fitting problem you just recut another 2' section and not the long ones?

Not usually but that could be used for a difficult to fit section a hump in the wall or ceiling where shaving the back of the molding or sheetrock is needed. It would be a lot easer on a shorter section then on a long one.

And I am not understanding the tip about the 8" piece with 4" overhang.

To put behind the the scarf joint to join 2 pieces of crown molding. 8" with 4" of it behind the one and 4 " behind the other nail through the crown into this to stiffen the joint

Not sure what you mean by "a separate foot."
I

Offline kevo

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Re: Carpenter/cabinet maker mentor.
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2013, 06:31:34 PM »
Here's a question but may be more geared towards a painter.

What's the best way to strip paint and a stain on existing cabinets, doors, and drawers so that I can repaint them? What's the best type of paint to use for cabinets?

I'll be painting them white.

Offline Greg1109

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Re: Carpenter/cabinet maker mentor.
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2013, 06:48:22 PM »
If you have a box that fits in your saw...

It doesn't fit in my saw.   It's a separate thing I use for supporting longer lengths of molding/lumber, etc.   

Offline NWPilgrim

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Re: Carpenter/cabinet maker mentor.
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2013, 01:07:06 AM »
OK, thanks, Isailli. I get the picture on those tips now. that is pretty much what I have been doing.  The foot is a quarter round tacked at the bottom of the oak baseboard. For hickory floor I leave 3/4" gap to the wall and the base molding is only like 5/8" thick on the bottom. So the quarter round "foot" extends out far enough to cover the entire gap.

I think I will try handling the swayed drywall by using a shorter section of molding at the outside corner so it is not pulled in at an unpredictable angle, but rather stays close to the angle of the corner itself.  I'll see how that looks anyway. I hate having any more joints, even scarf, then necessary but that swayed drywall makes the miters open up and it is it frustrating trying to get the correct angle to compensate.

Thanks for the clarifications!!

Offline Moutainman15

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Re: Carpenter/cabinet maker mentor.
« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2013, 03:46:42 PM »
I'm not clear on what you guys are saying about not butting long pieces of molding but to use a 2' section and scarf joint.  Is this to make it so if there is a fitting problem you just recut another 2' section and not the long ones? And I am not understanding the tip about the 8" piece with 4" overhang.

I nailed in hardwood floors and put in molding with a separate foot.  I got almost all of it in using mitered joints. The pattern was too complex for coping, at least for me. Inside joints were not much of a problem, but what I find on some of the outer miters is that the drywall has swayed in so when the molding is nailed on it no longer is 90 degrees at the corner, even if the corner itself is 90 degrees. So would it be better than to put a short section just on the corner to maintain the corner angle and then nail the longer length of molding across the rest of the room?


Isailli answere most of what I was trying to explain.
So what I meant about a 2' section of molding was to use it as a test fit piece. for example:

You have a 20' long wall to hang crown on. Lets say you are using 16' MDF crown.
Figure out where you want to make your splice or scarf joint, consider where your lights are, which way you enter the room etc. Try to hide that joint as much as possible with shadows from lights etc.
Once you figure out where it is going to be, cut your first piece and nail it up but when you get to the end where you are going to scarf your next piece to, if you just nail that end to the wall it could be off just a little bit from how you had it in your saw, if it is off then your second piece will have to also be off to get the joint to line up and then you end up with what I call fighting it!!
So, use a 2' test piece. Push the test piece that also has a 22.5 deg. cut on it to mate into your first piece. Press it into your first piece and make the joint perfect and nail up the end of your first piece.
Now cut your second piece and it will mate into your first piece just perfect.
Use test pieces like this on all your joints and it will make your life easy!!

For your swayed drywall problem you have a few different solutions.
This is pretty much a normal thing, the corner bead stickes out and makes the molding pull away from the wall and you end up with a big gap about 6" from the corner, where the base molding touches the wall.
Depending on what the base is tells me what I'm going to do to address it.
If you are using paint grade then nail your corner together and don't press the base tight to the wall, molding ALWAYS stays straight!!!!
The painters will caulk the gap and you won't notice it, if you bend your molding it will be noticable!!

For staingrade you can sometimes grind some of the back of your base molding down so it will compensate for how far the corner of the wall is pushed out. If you have a 1/4" gap however you prolly will only be able to get about a 1/8 out of it at the most before you start to grind into your base molding profile. I usually grind/scribe off what I can till it is going to start looking bad, then I will nail it up and they can caulk it, again NEVER BEND YOUR MOLDINGS!!! I know sometime while doing trim we get into the "make all gaps go away" school of thought but what you really need to do is keep your joints perfect and keep your moldings straight. If the wall sways in and out because of a bad framing and drywall guy it  will only be highlighted if your base is swaying around with it. If however your base is dead straight and a caulk line gets fatter or narrower and a painter makes his line nice and straight it will hide the fact that the wall is jacked up. Your eye catches wavy things it doesn't look at the details unless you really focus on it. In a perfect world it would fit tight to the wall AND be straight, this is the big difference between being a woodworker where all things are under his control and a carpenter where he is dealing with a very imperfect house!!

Offline NWPilgrim

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Re: Carpenter/cabinet maker mentor.
« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2013, 01:09:34 PM »
Thanks for the tips Mountainman!  This helps a lot.  I like the idea of to try grinding off some on the back of the molding and also to keep the molding straight regardless of the wall sway.  I will play around with this but looks like a good approach. I loved laying the floors but the finish work is not much fun.  I can see that someone doing this all the time would come up with a lot of time saving techniques that produce a clean look while not taking any more time. But as a homeowner this is one of 150 things I need to learn to do.  I thank you guys for your help!!

Offline Moutainman15

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Re: Carpenter/cabinet maker mentor.
« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2013, 06:19:23 PM »
Base molding is not much fun cause you are on your knees all day, but give me base over a floor any day of the week!!!
Everybody is different, I LOVE finish work!!
I use an angle grinder with a 24 or 50 grit sanding pad for taking material off where I need it. Cut all your pieces and go in there with a grinder and it will cut down on your trips back to the saw!! You'd be amazed how many times you need to take just a hair off and that angle grinder is perfect for that!
Another trick is when you cut a miter never shoot for perfection! If it is a 90 deg. outside corner you'd normally set the miter for 45 deg.
Instead set the miter for 45.25 and this will make the front edge of your joint really tight and will leave a tiny gap in the back which is hidden by the wall. Use clue and it will fill the gap. I do this whenever I can and it really makes a difference!
Good luck on your project!!

Isailli I know the feeling of doing the back and forth thing, I hate those be entry ways!! I did a place a while back that had skylights and they wanted crown run about 10 inches below the glass. The skylights were recessed about 5 feet into the ceiling talk about cramped!
I was thinking the same thing when I was doing it, finish carpenters aren't supposed to have to struggle like this!!
« Last Edit: January 17, 2013, 06:35:14 PM by Moutainman15 »

Offline LJH

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Re: Carpenter/cabinet maker mentor.
« Reply #15 on: February 03, 2013, 09:11:55 PM »
Mountainman15,

Thank you for this very generous offer! Woodworking and carpentry are two of my 13 and I know just enough about both to be dangerous. I will absolutely be taking advantage of it with my (decidedly no-so high-end) projects. In the meantime, reading all the posts in this thread, soaking up info.

Thanks again!  :)

Offline EagleSteel

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Re: Carpenter/cabinet maker mentor.
« Reply #16 on: February 08, 2013, 01:07:56 PM »
Hi guys and gals.
I am a full time carpenter/cabinet maker and installer. I do VERY high end work and would like to offer any advise you may need if carpentry or woodworking is on your 13 list.
I am not very experienced with exterior/framing. I am more of a furniture, cabinet, interior finish carpenter.
If you have any questions on these subjects just shoot me a private message or better yet post it up here for all to see and it may help others.

I have a question. I'm putting in Oak steps in my house and I installed the first set last week, we have a split entry home. The noise when you walk on them is bothering me. Is there anything I can do with these? I have access to the underside of the installed steps. Also what can I do about the second set of steps since I will not have access to them once installed? Thanks.

Offline Isailli

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Re: Carpenter/cabinet maker mentor.
« Reply #17 on: February 14, 2013, 07:39:57 AM »
OK, thanks, Isailli. I get the picture on those tips now. that is pretty much what I have been doing.  The foot is a quarter round tacked at the bottom of the oak baseboard.
Got it that type of molding is called Shoe or Base shoe Molding, We also some times put in 3 piece base that consists of a plane piece of 3/4 x 4 or 6 wood with a shoe at the bottom and a base cap on the top.

Offline Isailli

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Re: Carpenter/cabinet maker mentor.
« Reply #18 on: February 14, 2013, 07:55:31 AM »
Here's a question but may be more geared towards a painter.

What's the best way to strip paint and a stain on existing cabinets, doors, and drawers so that I can repaint them? What's the best type of paint to use for cabinets?

I'll be painting them white.

paint stripper and or sanding. more stripper if there is a lot of detail more toward sanding  if there is more flat areas  still it is not easy.


As for paint if you can spray (not a spray can) a paint made for cabinets we used to spray lacquer but with EPA regs I dont know what they use now. with a brush marine paint interlux brighsides lays out like a spray finish. u can get it in gloss or flat. I would go for flat. dont use laytex after all the work striping. brush marks, it peels, wont look as good,

Offline Moutainman15

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Re: Carpenter/cabinet maker mentor.
« Reply #19 on: March 02, 2013, 11:00:47 AM »
I have a question. I'm putting in Oak steps in my house and I installed the first set last week, we have a split entry home. The noise when you walk on them is bothering me. Is there anything I can do with these? I have access to the underside of the installed steps. Also what can I do about the second set of steps since I will not have access to them once installed? Thanks.

Sorry for not getting back here in a while! Been busy fixing my house up so I can rent it out and buy a bigger place.

This is a common problem and I'm not much of a stair guy so maybe Isallei can chime in as well.
Usually when I've ran into this problem it is do to the steps being nailed in and once some time goes buy you end up with a step that gets a little lose and when you step on it the wood moves against the nail and creeks. I had this happen on my houses old steps. I pulled them up and got the nailes out, and used construction adhesive and screwed them back down. I counter sank the screws and used a maple plug, the steps are red wood and it gave it a nice contrast.
When I see stair guys putting in new steps they just use construction adhesive and shoot knails in them, I think the adhesive is the key to it though!

Offline EagleSteel

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Re: Carpenter/cabinet maker mentor.
« Reply #20 on: March 02, 2013, 04:07:54 PM »
Sorry for not getting back here in a while! Been busy fixing my house up so I can rent it out and buy a bigger place.

This is a common problem and I'm not much of a stair guy so maybe Isallei can chime in as well.
Usually when I've ran into this problem it is do to the steps being nailed in and once some time goes buy you end up with a step that gets a little lose and when you step on it the wood moves against the nail and creeks. I had this happen on my houses old steps. I pulled them up and got the nailes out, and used construction adhesive and screwed them back down. I counter sank the screws and used a maple plug, the steps are red wood and it gave it a nice contrast.
When I see stair guys putting in new steps they just use construction adhesive and shoot knails in them, I think the adhesive is the key to it though!
thanks!