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Raking Cornice: Part 3

Developing and Producing Rake Crown with a Shaper and Band Saw 

The most important part of carpentry is design. If the design isn’t right, if the drawings are mediocre or worse, no amount of joinery skills will save a project from failure. Unfortunately, executing proper drawings prior to cutting wood and creating sawdust isn’t a common component on jobsites today.


(Note: Click any image to enlarge)

I say ENOUGH. Take responsibility for your work.
Take pride in your work and people will respect you more for it.
Challenge yourself and your work will improve.
Don’t accept less when all that is required from you is more effort.

The subject of this article is a perfect example.

A Note from the Publisher:

NOTE: This is the final article of a three-part series on drawing and making rake, horizontal, and plumb-cut crown molding for pediments. Click the following link to read the first article on Drawing and Developing Three-piece Crown, by Todd Murdock, and this link for the second article on Three-piece Pediment Crown, by Keith Mathewson.


Too many times I have seen carpenters install crown on interior vaulted ceiling, and though their skills may be up to the task, their understanding of classical forms is not.

My friend Gary Katz may be adept at cutting transition corners and forcing crown molding up a cathedral ceiling, but those transitions are appropriate for only Gothic-style homes—and, sadly, there aren’t a great number of those built today.


I’ve read one entire book devoted to cheating crown molding so that it could be mitered up a vaulted ceiling, but crown molding must be installed at the spring angle for which it was designed—otherwise the fillets and lands will not be plumb and level, which confuses the eye.

Crown molding, like stair railing, cannot change three planes in one corner. Stair railing cannot do it without an easing; crown molding requires profiles made custom for the occasion.

1002.Jeds Pediments-1

And there are more ways than one to accomplish that task. The method used in this article may not be for everyone—in fact, I warn all readers: if you’re not comfortable using a bandsaw in the manner I’ve demonstrated in this video, don’t do it. If you are comfortable, don’t be. Be on your guard.


6 Responses to “Raking Cornice: Part 3”

  1. Sim Ayers

    Excellent Jed. Developing the negative crown moulding profile and using it to scribe the miter line of the rake miter is interesting. Something I need to study, to see if it can be used for other compound miter cuts. Did you develop this technique, negative profile, or is it from centuries past.


  2. Sean G

    I’ve been flowing these three articles closely. It’s a topic I’ve been aware of but haven’t been able to find good explanation of. I can’t thank the authors enough. I’m a young carpenter just trying to be the best carpenter I can be. With the generous help of those willing to teach for free, I’m learning things I just can’t from other sources. Invaluable!

  3. Don Jackson

    Ditto to what Craig says above. And in addition to the fine joinery Jed demonstrates, there’s some mighty fine tunery at the end by Carl Hagstrom. I remember when I first moved to New England 30 years ago, I was fascinated by the crates full of old molding planes that you could find at flea markets. People would mostly buy them to display on their mantels. But I remember one guy had a nice set, a pair of large planes. He explained how one was the eaves molding for a classical cornice and the other was the same profile stretched out for the matching rake molding for the specific pitch, probably 9 or 10/12. I didn’t get it at the time but when I looked at cornice repairs on the old houses in the villages around Vermont, it made sense. The carpenters doing the repairs would fudge the corners the best they could using whatever two sizes of crown were available at the lumberyard. I could understand why, given the budgets some of the homeowners had for keeping up a 150-year old house. But no amount of chisel work and caulk can hide the discrepancy. Thank you for these articles. This site rocks.

  4. Oscar

    What is the teeth count on the blade are you using on the band saw???

  5. Larry Hein

    Jed you took all of the mystery out of doing this complex joint for me. Good job.


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