Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Crowning Achievement

Putting up crown in a house where nothing is straight just proves my friends' hypothesis right:  I love to do things the hard way.

I won't lie: its hard. Here are the challenges associated with it:

  1. Very out of square walls means custom cuts at every corner. Out of plumb walls and not-level ceilings just compound this issue.
  2. When all wall and ceilings are not plumb, not square, and not level.. its tough to rely on anything as a point of reference.  I try to go go with the ceiling, but when that drops a few inches in a few feet... I don't know.
  3. The issues listed above yield major gaps everywhere.  Like 3/4"+
  4. God only knows where the framing is in some of these walls (if any at all).  And every room has at least one solid brick wall.  Those are always a gamble.  Who knows if the nails will bite.

Remember this?  My attempt forcing a bend to follow the ceiling.  Yup, that didn't work.

Let's set up the workstation out back.  For any job in this house, the productivity ratio is about 85% set up time, 15% actually doing some carpentry.  If you have ever completely overhauled a row home while living in it... you know what I mean.

Yeah that's my Ryobi, whats up?  I actually found this chop saw in a park at the end of Elfrith's Alley in 2005.  Some people call it the oldest residential street in America, I call it a place where chop saws grow in the bushes.  

Sure, the Ryobi is a piece of junk. It's not even a slider.  But, I'll tell you what.. the price was right and this thing maneuvers really well in tight spaces.  To that end, you don't really need good tools to do a good job.  I got an eagle eye for this type of joinery. Case in point: I use a hand saw to finish my cuts.

I don't know when I became such a sucker for crown molding.  I think its just because it the only woodwork that remains completely unobstructed from view in a room.  To me, it just looks fabulous.  It lifts your eyes upwards and brings harmony and class to any space.... even this one.

My helpers getting into position.

Ryobi. Water tight joints.  Deal with it.

My helper is a door with a 2x4 clamped to it, leaned up against the wall.  He's not the most talkative fellow, but he takes instruction well and keeps to himself.  Here he is, mid task while I run around like a maniac with the nail gun (hoping the piece doesn't drop on my head)

View in different light, helper on "union break".  Notice the gaps between crown and ceiling in upper right. Look like I'm breaking out the USG buckets again (did you get that stock yet or what!?)

Fear not, loyal reader: A sliver of wallpaper has been preserved in the closed.  It also just bout the only thing that will fit in this closet as well.

Inner corner

Outer corner.
The ceiling markings are my attempt at establishing some sort of reference for the cuts.   For those of you that don't know, I'm real mathematical about this kind of stuff.  I'd rather bisect an angle than do the old school builder tricks.. although I do a combination of both.

All in all, the weekend was success.  With the old lady out of town, I could hammer away into the night.  It probably took me until 3pm Saturday to get all set up (run to lumber yard, break out the right tools, get the room ready, etc).  The crown itself was done by mid-afternoon Sunday.

I was trying to quantify the hours. It was probably 8 hours.  And I bought 4 pieces of crown (could have been done in 3, but you have to be selective about where you make your cuts).  16' pieces of crown are $16 each at my local yard.  Not a bad room transformation for 8 hours + $64.  Obviously, I'll sink more time and money into this before this renovation is over, but its mostly just paint prep at this point.

This was a good idea.

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