Interior trim molding gives you a nice finished look to the rooms around your home and they are always a nice detail that catches your eye. The problem with them is that they are mostly expensive, especially if you are looking for a model with many different shapes attached to it. One foot of trim molding can set you back for as much as 5 dollars.
The good thing is, you can make your own trim molding with some basic carpentry skills and a couple of standard shop tools in your garage. You will not only get to save money, but you can also customize your trim molding exactly how you want it. First, we will tell you what you need and then you can read on for our complete step by step process of making interior trim molding.
If you want to get the best trim, you should go with hardwood. Keep in mind that it’s much more expensive and it could be more than you really need, especially if you are going to paint it.
If you decide on using softwood, fir and pine will make a great base for stained trim. These wood can have lots of large knots so you should get those with higher grades of lumber.
Using straight lumber will work better because the trims can align much easier, and it makes less cracking sounds than wrapped lumber.
You can practically use any type of straight lumber with no knots. In fact, you can make the trim from construction lumber if you want to.
Trim molding making process step by step.
Step 1 – The milling
The first thing you have to do before you start milling is to set up your router table. You can also do things by hand, but it takes much more time and you won’t have the same results.
When your router is set up, you should start with a test piece, just to see hot the edges will look like when you are done. If something is not as you would like it, you can just readjust the router and try it again until you get what you want.
Now, when you have tested the first piece and when your router table and 3/4-inch round over bit are set up, get a 2×4 and run one side through the table. You can also make a couple of passes first, to make sure you get the smoothest results. This step is even more important if you decide on using a large bit because they take off more wood than smaller bits. That means that you will have to make a couple of passes to get the smooth finish. Rotate the stud and round the other side when the first one is done.
Step 2 – The sewing
When the edges are all rounded, you are ready to cut off the excess wood. Run the 2×4 through a table saw on both sides of the stud. This way, one 2×4 will turn into two pieces of molding and a square excess piece you can then turn into the third piece. Even though this process sounds simple to complete, it does take some practice to perfect the technique.
You have to make sure that the cutting blade is aligned perfectly. That means that you have to position the molding perfectly to prevent the saw from taking off too much. You will probably have to practice this for a couple of hours before you are able to make a good molding. Keep repositioning the 2×4 until you get the thickness you want. You can add a fence to your router table to make future cuts easier. If you set everything correctly, you should be left with only a thin strip of waste.
Step 3 – Removing the waste
When both sides of your trim are cut to size, it is time to remove the waste. You can do it with a grinding wheel if you have one that can be used on wood, but a good sharp chisel will also do. Slide the chisel down the entire length of the molding, but don’t push too hard on it because it can break.
Step 4 – Cutting the trim to size
When all the excess wood is removed and you have a 2×4 with rounded sides, you are ready to cut the molding to the proper sizes. Before you do that, get a measuring device and double check all the sizes twice. It is very important that the pieces of your molding fit together.
The last thing you will have to do is to make the last cut on the table saw. You can reduce the height of your new molding to the right size perfectly. Leave the fence on the saw table and place the milled stock back, but make sure that the curved part of the trim faces the fence.
Cut the molding by pushing it through the saw. The fence will make sure that it’s evenly cut on both ends, which will make it easier for you to install.
Step 5 – Install the trim molding
Before installation, you can also color the molding with wood paint and let it dry. When that is done, you are ready to connect the pieces and finish with your home trim molding projects. Before you assemble everything, mark all the trims on the back, so you know which ones to connect.
With a little adjustment, you can make almost all types of molding right at home, you don’t even need specialized tools. All you need is a good router table, a couple of 2x4s and some time and patience. Making your own trim molding will save you a lot of money. It’s better you spend 1/10 of the money on tools and make your own molding, instead of overpaying for someone else to do it for you.
If you are the type of person that likes home improvement jobs, making trim molding is a fun project!