Installing Crown Molding to Your New Kitchen Cabinets
When it comes to perking up an outdated kitchen, or adding an exquisite finishing touch to your new kitchen cabinets, nothing beats crown molding--especially if it matches the finish of your cabinets. Many people will tell you that it is easy to install crown molding, and it is. It's just getting it to look decent that is difficult.
Crown Fit for a King Requires the Right Tools
There are some tools to make it a little easier for your kitchen to wear its crown like royalty. Here are three suggestions.
- Air Power. With the availability of reasonably priced pneumatic tools today, it is hard to imagine how this work was once done with arm power. If your crown is going to be painted, you can easily do the nailing with an 18-gauge finish nailer. If you already have a 16-gauge nailer, you can use it, but it is more strength than you need (the higher the gauge, the thinner the nail). The 16-guage nail just means a slightly greater chance of splitting the molding, and making a larger nail hole to fill before painting. Use 2" finish nails if you are driving them into studs; if you are just nailing into the cabinet, 1" nails are fine. You also need a pin nailer.
- Pin Nailer. A pin nailer is probably the world's most overlooked nail gun. It shoots headless, 23-guage pins. The pins hold firmly in wood that is not under stress, and they are marvelous for securing glued joints while the glue sets. Because they have no head, they bury into the wood and are all but invisible. Hence, they are marvelous for setting outside corners of crown molding. Put a line of wood glue along the joint, hold it in place and shoot it with a couple of pin nails. It makes a solid joint with invisible nail holes.
- Natural Wood. You can extend the wonders of pin nails to the entire installation of your crown molding in a method that is especially useful if you are installing prefinished, natural-wood crown molding. Using a thin bead of construction adhesive along the contact edges of the crown molding, you can pin-nail the crown. While the pins are not strong enough to hold the molding for a length of time, they will hold the molding in place while the adhesive cures. Whereas 16- or 18-gauge finish nails will leave small but unpleasant nail holes in the finished wood, you would have to look for the pin nail holes with a magnifying glass. Any visible blip can be eliminated by rubbing it with a dab of putty.
Experts sometimes loathe admitting it, but often the key to doing a professional job is not skill, but it's having the right tools. A couple of small pneumatic nailers will take you a long ways to a professional crown installation.
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