Have you ever had that project at work where everything seems to go against you? The plan isn’t helping, your brain is playing tricks on you, it’s taking more time than it should, and basically, the odds aren’t in your favor. I had one of those projects and I wanted to break it in half. I was tasked by the High Overlord of the Shop to put crown molding on the Portico wall for the opera An American Tragedy, one of this year’s shows (Portico is Italian for “a porch leading to a building with a roof structure supported by columns,” i.e. the Pantheon).

If you’ve ever done crown molding, you know what nightmare I’m about to describe. If you haven’t, run away if anyone asks you to do it. It’s like being selected as a tribute for the Hunger Games. Tension grips your throat as the assignment is given, followed by a shocked acceptance and then weary resignation as you prepare, knowing that only one of you will make it out alive. Or something along those lines. I had never done crown molding before, but now, the process is so ingrained through my many failures that I will never forget. Seriously.

For those of you who don’t know what crown molding is, just look at the top of a wall or cabinet in the room you are in. If you see a decorative triangle-esque shape jutting out from the top of the wall or cabinet, that is crown molding. Now you are caught up. For those of you who already knew that, congrats on being smarter than me—we’ll be giving out a prize at the end of the season to the smartest reader.

Now back to the good part. There were three parts to this crown molding project: a straight horizontal piece, two diagonal pieces that met at the tip of the wall, and two column toppers that had to be custom fabricated (most crown molding is premade into its various shapes, but there is a rare occasion where some custom work needs to be done to meet the design).

To attach crown molding, several steps are needed. The molding sits on the face of the wall with the help of a small foot, while the majority of the piece sticks out from the wall at a 45-degree angle, meaning small triangles have to be cut out of pieces of 2-by-4 (lumber that is 2 inches tall by 4 inches wide) so that the molding has good support.

This molding also needs to wrap around the side of the wall, so an angle had to be cut into the ends of the molding to make the corner look like a continuous extension of the face. This was done by using a miter saw and changing the angle to 45 degrees and cutting the molding upside down while angled away from the saw. Believe me, it is a hard concept to grasp, since cutting the molding this way does two jobs in one. This not only gets the angle, but it puts a bevel (an edge not perpendicular to the face) into the edge of the molding, which is necessary. Boy, did I screw that up at first.

Due to strict regulations, I will have to explain the rest next time. I hope I have sufficiently whetted your appetites. Savor the coming meal folks and find yourself satisfied upon our next encounter.

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