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Thread: How would you create this baseboard profile?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    Ann Arbor, Michigan
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    59

    How would you create this baseboard profile?



    I'm an utter woodworking newbie when it comes to anything but rough framing a wall. I'm looking to get my feet wet and wanted to try installing some molding in my house.

    I really like the profile above, but the place wants $50 for 8' of it in poplar! I figure it wouldn't be too difficult to make it myself for much cheaper if I can find the correct router bit. I've been browsing around online and didn't have much luck finding a matching profile. My questions are:

    1) Am I correct in assuming that it's as simple to make as running the stock past a router? I don't understand the outrageous cost of buying it premade if it's that easy.

    2) How to I make the profile I want? Do I have to keep looking for the right bit, or is it more common to use multiple passes with several different bits to get the desired cut?

    Thanks!

  2. Have you thought about doing this with 2 separate pieces. Your local lumber yard may have stock pieces that will do it.

    Rick

  3. #3
    Richard hit on what I was thinking; can you stack parts to make this? Will it be painted? As far as multiple passes to create a profile, yes, home shop folks do that all the time. Stacking parts for a profile that tall would be easier. Now as to when you are all said and done; Bits, electricity, time, etc. . . . will it be MUCH cheaper that $6 a foot, I am not so sure.
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  4. #4
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    Aug 2007
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    Fort Wayne, Indiana
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    I run a custom molding machine at my work. I grind all the knives for custom profiles. I know that we charge $50 just for setting up the machine. if a profile needs to be ground to make this, i would expect thats where most of the price is comming from.

  5. #5
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    Jan 2005
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    Concord, NC
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    That's a common profile. If you are looking at poplar, I assume you are going to paint the molding. MDF molding in that profile is availble for much cheaper than poplar. Making something to save money seldom works out like you think.

    Richard

  6. #6
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    Given the size, that's really not a "router bit" problem. You'd need to cut that with a molder or work with multiple pieces. But as Richard says, it's a common profile, so shop around a bit.
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  7. #7
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    I do this for a living in a commercial setting, and I can tell you it is not as easy as you may think. In my well equipped small shop it would still be a PIA to produce any quantity of this with just a router table, but I have done things similar. Basically you would have to make a three piece base mold and nail in each of the three rather than run a single complex molding. I see no accurate, safe and efficient way to do this molding as it exists with a router in one piece.

    A few more details would be helpful. Paint grade or stain grade, and if stain grade what species. And how many lineal feet are you buying or making?

    For the one piece casing as shown you are better off paying the price to have it run if it is more than a limited amount or if the runs required are longer than say 8'. It gets fairly difficult to make moldings on a router table of any length without excessive chatter that would be difficult or nearly impossible to sand out. A proper molding from a professional will leave the molder ready to paint with minimal sanding and come in 14'-16' lengths to minimize scarf joints. Do you enjoy sanding? You say you are a newbie? You will need several router bits one of which is some what expensive, a very good router table and a serious table saw at minimum, and you will need access to good 3/4" S4S or the ability to make it. Most good millwork shops can supply S4S, DO NOT COUNT ON THAT JUNK FROM THE BORG FOR MILLWORK.

    In any event you could break this casing down into three parts that could be accomplished with a router table and proper infeed / outfeed support over some length. From the floor, you have a 4 1/2" base mold with an ogee that would require a rabbit on its top to accept a 1/2"X1" filler piece to be topped with a 1 3/8" base cap. The base mold can be made with a basic ogee bit (freud makes a great one for wainscot that would work perfectly) and the rabbit can be made with a straight bit. The filler strip can even be 1/2" mdf or poplar planed to 1/2" and ripped to 1" width.

    The base cap (the top 1 3/8") will be the most challenging part. They make router bits for this molding, check CMT, Freud, Eagle America, Infinity or Amana, I'm pretty sure one or more of them sell this. You will have to run it on the router table from 6/4" stock at least 3-4" wide in several passes, then rip the finished molding off on the TS, rejoint, and run again. I'd suggest molding both edges then ripping and jointing each time. You can also create a rabbit on the bottom of the base cap to accept the middle filler strip in a more seamless manner, or simply but it on top if you choose.

    I could write pages to describe exactly how to do this, but in short you will need good hold downs and feather boards or a power feeder on both TS and router, very good and long stock support on both ends, and DUST/CHIP collection, because making moldings makes a ton of chips and dust.

    I do short runs of smaller moldings regularly at work using a shaper for customers that don't want to pay the setup charge for the large one piece moldings made on the 7 Head molder. Short of buying the one piece molding I think your best bet would be to create the molding from stock moldings. All of those elements are for sale at the Borg fairly cheap.

    For paint grade, You could buy a standard 9/16"X 4 1/2" base mold and attach a 1/4" MDF or plywood backer (or maybe 3/8?) to give the necessary depth, on top of that add a 1/2"X1" filler strip of MDF, then top it off with a standard 11/16" X 1 3/8" base cap or panel mold. Make sense? Probably cost a bit less per LF than the custom molding. You might even be able to buy just the base cap and make the base mold your self.

    Good luck. I'm not trying to discourage you but make you aware that it can be both challenging and dangerous if not handled correctly.

  8. #8
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    Nov 2006
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    If you can find a friend with a Williams & Hussey machine (or a fellow Creeker with one), you can pay a couple of hundred bucks for a custom knife. Just trace the profile onto a piece of paper and fax it to W&H and they'll send you a pair of knives that fit the profile. Then you can run 8 feet or 8,000 feet. You might even be able to make the knives yourself by grinding some steel. I've seen some contractors do it that way.

    Jason

    Quote Originally Posted by jeff begin View Post


    I'm an utter woodworking newbie when it comes to anything but rough framing a wall. I'm looking to get my feet wet and wanted to try installing some molding in my house.

    I really like the profile above, but the place wants $50 for 8' of it in poplar! I figure it wouldn't be too difficult to make it myself for much cheaper if I can find the correct router bit. I've been browsing around online and didn't have much luck finding a matching profile. My questions are:

    1) Am I correct in assuming that it's as simple to make as running the stock past a router? I don't understand the outrageous cost of buying it premade if it's that easy.

    2) How to I make the profile I want? Do I have to keep looking for the right bit, or is it more common to use multiple passes with several different bits to get the desired cut?

    Thanks!

  9. #9
    I'm not a big fan of telling people not to attempt things. But I really don't think six bucks a running foot for a custom moulding run of only 50' would be too much. There is no way you are making this for less if you have to buy any bits, regardless of how many moldings you stack to get the full profile. If you can find the exact profile "off the shelf" it will probably be cheaper but a seven inch tall base is still gotta be at least five bucks a foot.
    David DeCristoforo

  10. #10
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    Sep 2008
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    Wow. Thanks for the abundance of replies.

    I figured it wasn't as simple as it first seemed. I'd need around 400-500 feet of it, which is why I was turned off by the retail cost. I was initially planning to paint it (hence poplar), but am also considering a stain. Doing a multipart piece would work with paint, I'm not so sure about how it would look with stain though. I'll have to some more thinking/deciding.

  11. #11
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    Northfield, Mn
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    Figure it this way. If you need 450 linear ft of the trim, you'll use 263 bd/ft of material to make that much base. Not figuring waste, which you can figure at roughly 15%, so you'll need 300 bd/ft. You'll have to buy alot of material to get enough 7"+ wide pieces to get sizes you need.

    Buy it, its easier and cheaper.

  12. #12
    In your post you said that they wanted 50 bucks for an 8'piece. did you tell them that you want 400-500 feet? If not I bet the price will be quite a bit different.
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  13. #13
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    I've seen that molding or something very close to it for less that $6.00/ft. in oak at a "high priced" hardwood store. You should be able to find it for less. As Richard, one of our best experts here at the Creek said, it is a common profile and wouldn't be worth trying to duplicate it.
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  14. #14
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    Nov 2006
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    Sebastopol, California
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    I used a similar profile in our kitchen

    made up of channel rustic siding (that's the local term - don't know if it's universal - the kind of siding Victorian houses have) with upside down picture molding on top. We ran the picture mold over the router table to establish a clean rabbet to fit on top of the siding, but that may have been unnecessary fussiness - you can't see the joint unless you're a small child, lying on your stomach.

  15. #15
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    Nov 2007
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    Little Rock, AR
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeff begin View Post
    Wow. Thanks for the abundance of replies.

    I figured it wasn't as simple as it first seemed. I'd need around 400-500 feet of it, which is why I was turned off by the retail cost. I was initially planning to paint it (hence poplar), but am also considering a stain. Doing a multipart piece would work with paint, I'm not so sure about how it would look with stain though. I'll have to some more thinking/deciding.
    the problem is there's no way to square a 16 foot board. there's also no way to safely/effectively hand feed it. for molding operations that cut with gang rip saws and power fed molders this isn't a problem, the pressure/feed rollers on the machine take care of twist and bow and ensure a consistent cut. feeding by hand just can't be done unless you have perfectly square 16 foot blanks (not gonna happen) or if you wanna make short lengths (lot of joints, won't look very good).

    plus, starting from rough lumber, molding is a high waste operation. by the time you square the edges on a twisted board, plane it to thickness, cut half of it away with the molding knives, and then run it through a mop sander after, you have a pile of sawdust as big as your pile of molding. that's why molding costs so much.

    not saying it can't be done, but it won't be done well with a router. a lot of folks around here seem to be using the shop fox W&H knockoff molder with good results. that would probably be the most cost effective means of doing it yourself (but you'd still have to pay your local mill to produce your blanks unless you wanted to use short lengths).
    Last edited by Neal Clayton; 11-23-2008 at 11:22 AM.

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