- Wood molding is most commonly found around the doorways, windows, baseboards and sometimes the ceiling of a house interior. Wood molding can vary from a simple piece of 1-by-4-inch pine used as a baseboard to an elaborate crown molding that follows the edge of your dining room ceiling around the perimeter of the room. In almost all instances, wood molding performs both a functional and a decorative role.
- Wood molding acts first and foremost as a wooden edge or border to many important places in your house. These include edges around your windows, doors and baseboard. Properly placed molding provides an added barrier between the interior surface and the frame of the house. Sometimes a piece of molding can have a specific function, such as a doorstop placed on the inside of a door jamb.
- Wood molding comes in long pieces and is purchased by the linear foot. The length of a piece can vary from 4 feet to as much as 16 feet. Typically, pieces of wooden molding are attached to the frame of the house with finish nails. The nails are set into the wood and then covered with wood putty or caulking before receiving their finish. The styles and designs of wooden molding show an immense amount of variation.
- A piece of molding can be fitted into its proper place by two basic methods that are very basic to an experienced carpenter. These are called coping and mitering. Coping is done with a coping saw, which is a hand tool that should be in every woodworker's toolbox. In coping, one piece of wood is cut to fit around a second piece of molding that is not cut at all. Coping is almost exclusively limited to inside corners and often preferred by professional carpenters.
On the other hand, miter cuts can be used anywhere, and are made with a power or hand miter-box saw. The most common angle used in a miter cut is 45 degrees. This type of cut works well in almost all situations, including butt joints.
- Some preparation of the wood is usually required before or during the installation of molding. Sanding is by far the most important step. It is not always necessary to sand the entire piece of molding, but it is very important to go over the edges at least once with a light piece of sandpaper, if only to remove all splinters and burrs. Molding sometimes needs to be pre-stained or finished before the installation process is begun.