In Part 1 of this article, we reviewed the details of casing joinery and how to measure for new casing around a door frame. We also reviewed the necessary cut list, so that you can cut your casing right the first time. In Part 2, we moved on to the details of baseboard. Now, we’ll explore the best methods for installing casing, and the use of hand-driven nails—the preferred technique for working with soft wood.
Chapter 2: Part 3
A serial publication of excerpts from Trim Made Simple by Gary Katz
Training techniques for apprentice carpenters and serious DIYers
Installing Mitered Casing
New adhesives, fasteners, and clamps have changed the way carpenters install casing. I frequently pre-assemble large casings so that I can reinforce the miters and improve the joinery strength. But the old method of installing casing—starting with the head piece and then following up with the two legs, is still sometimes best, especially for smaller moldings. I’ll demonstrate both techniques here, so that you’ll be able to work with either type of molding. No matter which technique you use, always prepare the jamb first.
|1. Mark reveals with a Trim Gauge. Before installing any casing, draw reveal lines on the jamb 1/4 in. back from the inside edge. A pair of scribes will do the job, but a marking gauge speeds up the task. The adjustable Trim Gauge can also be used for a variety of reveal or back-set layouts.|
|2. Align the miters with the reveal marks. Tack the head casing to the jamb. If you’re using a nail gun, shoot one 23 ga. or 18 ga. brad near the center of the head casing.|
|3. Apply glue to the miters. Spread a thin layer of glue on both miters before assembling the casing.|
|4. Tack the leg casing to the jamb. Position the miter so the molding profiles align. Place the first nail about 4 in. below the miter. Drive a second nail about 8 in. below the first nail.|
|5. Spring Clamps are a must. A glue joint will not be strong unless it dries under pressure. Before driving more fasteners, install spring clamps on both miters. Adjust the clamps and the miters so that the profiles are aligned and flush.|
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Please don’t try anything you see in THISisCarpentry, or anywhere else for that matter, unless you’re completely certain that you can do it safely.
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If you’re installing molding on only one or two doors, don’t rush out and buy a nail gun. Driving nails by hand isn’t that difficult. To protect soft wood (and thumbs and fingers) from your hammer, use these techniques.
|2. Protect your fingers. Cut a narrow strip of cardboard. Poke your finish nail through the cardboard. While hammering, hold the cardboard and not the nail.|
|3. Plastic “Nail Grippers” are also available. They do an even better job of holding a nail firmly so it’s easier to position, start, and drive the nail. Plus, a Nail Gripper protects the casing from a missed hammer blow, or from driving the nail too far and striking the casing. (www.mcFeelys.com: $3.50)|
|4. For small pins and brads, use a Thumb Saver. (www.torcarr.com: $12.50/pair) This long-handled tool, with a strong magnet, secures any size nail and makes it easy to place hard-to-reach fasteners. It’s very handy for assembling picture frames, too.|
Click the following link for the final part of “Casing Doors,” which will cover pre-assembly: casing and jigs!