Fabricating Window and Door Casings on Site(page 1 of 2)

Fall back on this easy, versatile molding trick when all else fails.

If you're a remodeler, you've probably noticed that the universe conspires against you every couple of days, if not hours. It happened to me on a basement build-out where the customer specified stain-grade, knotty pine trim. The base was 1-by with inside/outside corner blocks, which were no fuss, no muss. But the customer wasn't happy with the door, window and other casing details. The curlicue profile of standard casing didn't match the beefier square stock at the base, and budget and ceiling-space restrictions didn't allow for a beefier casing (which wouldn't have matched anyway).

When I used butt-jointed 1x4 stock around the doors and windows, the mock-up was too plain for the space, even with chamfers and a cantilevered head jamb. But then I came up with a molding trick that I've been pulling out of my sleeve ever since. I've used the technique in basements and bathroom remodels where new window jambs meet lumpy old plaster and there's little likelihood that a wimpy little miter joint will stay closed over time. I've made it from solid sawn stock and MDF sheet stock for paint-grade packages. I've even modified it. Once, instead of making it of 1-by on the flat, I made it out of 2-by on edge to add molding and nailing (in a single piece) for an exterior door installation in a brick opening. It even works as a chair rail. Here's how to fashion this profile:


Making the jamb legs.

  • Set up your router with a chamfer bit. I like to remove 1/4 inch of stock. Routers work fine for this, but it's an ideal application for a trim router, a nimble tool that's easy to maneuver on site.
  • Before cutting the jamb legs to length, rout the sides and the top, leaving the bottom square, as shown at right.

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