Whether it is store-bought or shop – made, molding fulfills a key role for the cabinetmaker. On a frame-and – panel cabinet, its principal function is to hide the joint between the top and the rails, creating the illusion of a seamless connection. But molding also gives a piece of furniture a decorative and distinctive look.
By shaping the edges of a piece of hardwood with a router or—as shown below and on the following pages—with a table saw, you can transform some of the same stock used for the cabinet into attractive moldings. Crown, cove, bead
and ogee curve are just a few of the common profiles used in cabinetmaking.
When cutting the moldings, make the final pass a very shallow one at half the speed of previous passes. Such a finishing touch should produce a smooth finish that will require only minimal sanding.
Select a board long enough to yield moldings for two sides and the front of the cabinet. After fitting out a molding head with the appropriate cutters, screw an auxiliary fence to the metal rip fence. With the metal fence clear of the molding head, position the auxiliary fence over the table opening and turn on the saw. Crank up the head to cut a notch in the wood. To secure the workpiece, clamp featherboards to the fence above the molding head and to the saw table bearing against
the edge of the stock. Then, raise the cutters Vs inch above the table and feed the workpiece into the molding head. Finish the pass with a push stick. For a deeper cut, make additional passes, raising the cutters Vs inch at a time. Repeat the procedure to shape the opposite edge of the workpiece (above). Install a combination blade on the saw, then rip the molding from the edges of the stock. Cut the molding to length for one side of the cabinet, making a 45° miter at one end of the piece.
3 Tightening the clamps
Protecting the opposite side of the cabinet with wood pads, install two clamps across the top of the case. To hold the molding firmly, place the clamping block between the molding and the wood pads. Tighten each clamp a little at time (right) until a thin bead of glue squeezes out of the joint. Remove any excess adhesive.
Installing the molding on one side
Cut four wood pads and two short pieces of molding to serve as special clamping blocks. Turned upside down, the blocks will mesh with the molding being glued in place. Apply an even layer of adhesive to the back of the molding, being careful not to slop any glue on the top edge. The decorative trim should bond to the rails, not to the top of the cabinet. Position the molding on the side rail (left), making sure that it butts against the cabinet top and that its mitered end is flush with the front stile.
4 Installing molding on the cabinet front
With the piece of side molding still clamped to the cabinet, measure the width of the front of the case. Cut a piece of molding slightly longer than this width, making a 45° miter cut at the end that will butt against the molding already in place. Hold the new piece in place and use a pencil to mark a cutting line on the unmitered end (above), angling out from the corner. Cut the piece of molding to length, making a 45° miter in line with your cutting mark. Once the glue for the side piece has dried, remove the clamps and install the piece of front molding (page 70). Repeat the process to cut and install the remaining piece of molding.