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Quicker Coffered Ceilings, continued


22. I use a RotoZip (877/768-6047, for all cutouts in 1/4-inch sheet goods. The circle-cutting attachment is easy to use and eliminates the need for a compass and jigsaw. There's a little light in the tool that's especially nice.


23. We stained and finished the 1/4-inch oak panels before installing them, simplifying the finisher's job considerably. Because the crown molding goes in next, the panels don't have to be cut tight. Just be sure all the grain runs in the same direction. Before sticking the panels in, we use a magnet or a nail to find the ceiling joists and mark their locations on the frieze boards.


24. Liquid nails and a few brads are all that's needed to secure the panels against the ceiling.



25. Cut and preassemble all the crown molding, just like the frieze boards. Again, measure the pieces tight, then subtract 1/16 inch so they'll slide into place. Glue the miters, squeeze them together with spring clamps, then lock the miters together with 1-inch 18-gauge brads in both directions.


26. The top of the crown will go in easily, but the bottom snugs up tight. If it's a little too tight, plane off one edge just slightly.


27. If the ceiling has a deep belly or bow in it, sometimes the crown won't sit flat against the paneling. That's no problem on a paint-grade job — you can just caulk it. But with stain-grade paneling, a bad ceiling can be a nightmare on joinery, especially if you're trying to assemble each piece of crown one piece at a time. Preassembling the crown offers another alternative — attaching the paneling directly to the crown.


28. Use a brad nailer to pin the crown to the panel, then flip the panel and bend the brads over. Or you can cut the panel to fit flush on the bottom of the crown, then glue and staple it to the crown from behind.


29. Apply another liberal amount of panel adhesive (yes, we buy this stuff by the case), this time in small balls, so the adhesive will act as a shim, filling any void in the ceiling and forcing the paneling against the crown.


30. The crown and panel lift into place as a unit.


31. Remember to nail off the crown to every joist you can, using 2 1/2-inch 15-gauge nails. Once the crown is nailed to the ceiling and to the fascia, and the fascia is nailed to the soffit, it would take a crowbar to remove this coffered ceiling — and most of the drywall would come with it.


Section Through Box Beam



32. Install the bed molding last. You can cope this molding if that's your style, but we miter the corners. The bed molding shown here, also from WindsorOne's Classical Colonial line, is 1 5/8 inches thick and has a complicated beaded profile, so it's a tough profile to cope.


33. Read the corner with a protractor to figure the right miter. If the miter opens a little, it's usually because there's a belly in the wall. Place a shim between the molding and the wall, then caulk behind the trim.


Gary Katzis a finish carpenter in Reseda, Calif., a frequent contributor to The Journal of Light Construction, and author of Finish Carpentry: Efficient Techniques for Custom Interiors. Gary also moderates the Finish Carpentry forum at