Self-Made, Low-Cost Crown Molding Clamps


In my cabinetmaking business, I am faced with a fair number of crown-molding installations.

While searching for ways to ease the job of pulling tight the moldings on outside corners, I considered buying some Self Made Crown Molding Clampsspring miter clamps - the kind that use a C-shaped spring with pointed ends to draw parts together - but blanched at the price.

Instead, I looked at the tools I already had and wondered how they might solve this problem. The accompanying drawing illustrates my solution.

  • I took a 12-inch Quick-Grip mini bar clamp and removed the rubber clamp-pad guards, exposing the black-plastic material of the clamp jaw.
  • Then I drilled a 7/64-inch hole 1/4 inch down from the top edge of each of the clamp jaws. I angled the drill bit up about 5 degrees to allow the screws a better bite into the molding. Then I drove a 1-1/4-inch coarse-thread drywall screw into each jaw.

Using the clamps is easy.

  • Attach the first piece of molding. Then spread a bit of glue on the face of the next piece and nail the joint together near its bottom.
  • Now position the clamp so that the screw points touch the molding near the upper part of the joint in an inconspicuous part of the molding.
  • Gently squeeze the clamp handle until the joint closes tight. Allow the glue to set up, remove the clamp and touch up the two dents with a color-matched fill stick or with some colored putty.

I’ve modified a dozen such clamps so that I can finish an entire job without needing to recycle clamps before the glue sets up.

If you don’t have enough clamps to do the job, use a pin nailer to secure a clamped joint while the glue dries.

Incidentally, these clamps are equally useful for picture frames.

- Mike Hathaway, Huntington Beach, Calif.

Tips & Techniques provided by Fine Homebuilding.
©2005 The Taunton Press

To request a reprint of this feature, e-mail Mary Lou von der Lancken at Fine Homebuilding.


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