Wooden mouldings.

Jul 29, 2018
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Huddersfield. UK.
United Kingdom

A couple of years ago Bron suggested we buy a new carpet for our front room; the carpet at over 25 years old was starting to show patches of wear. However me being me I said why just buy a new carpet; why not give the front room a comprehensive makeover including ripping out the old fireplace which too was looking rather dated?

So we cleared the front room but covered the sofa with dust sheets and out came the tools. whomever installed the random stone fireplace did a superb job it proving difficult to break up; the hearth was Welsh slate and this was hard work to remove; in the end I resorted to attacking the lot with my big SDS drill in chisel mode; as work commenced I was filling rubble sacks with debris; 18 full heavy bags of rubble later the old fireplace was finally out; the stones I retained for future use the rubble was run to our local tip taking two loads.

Next job was to make good the wall plaster taking a few days because of the thickness of the plaster in places having to dry out. Plastering is a messy job so I was thankful to have this out of the way.

Now we needed a new fire so we visited "Flames of Wakefield" located in Horbury Bridge not far from where we live; I had spent hours browsing the web looking at hundreds of fires until we decided on the style we liked and Flames sold the fire being agents. Flames were absolutely brilliant; yes they could supply and install the fire but firstly an inspector would have to visit us to check the chimney which he did; Bron chose the colour of the tile inserts and the marble hearth; the gas fire was an high efficiency model giving I think 84% efficiency. We paid a large deposit and returned home to await the fire installers to arrive in a few days time.

Two young guys arrived and spent most of the day with us doing a perfect job of the installation; it just couldn't have been better; I was to make the new wooden mantle which I could now do having the new fireplace installed allowing accurate measurements to be taken; I designed; made and installed the new mantle and now I could move onto the new wall framing panels and dado rail.

With the new fireplace completed and mantle installed this allowed accurate measurements to be taken to determine the length of wooden framing moulding needed which proved to be 300' in total. Once again browsing the web I spent hours trying to locate a local wooden moulding supplier; we visited two of these being very disappointed indeed; then I noticed a website with a supplier in Dewsbury which looked just the job; upon arriving at this supplier it was a lot worse than the previous suppliers we had visited; just a few odds and ends of wooden moulding in 8' lengths in racks in the corner of the building; their website obviously didn't show this?

Back home feeling fed up of spending so much time browsing the web and wasting time and fuel running around in the car I decided I'm sick of all this so I'll make our own moulding to suit us and in full lengths which won't need joining? I visited a local timber yard and bought the required softwood in very long lengths having this delivered. At the time I had two Screwfix 3hp routers;


The frames were to be 2" x 1" and the dado rail 3" x 1" so I gave it a lot of thought as to the easiest way to run all this moulding which was to be 600' because both edges were to be moulded. The longest length required was about 12' so I rigged up a moulding jig; using a board as a base I arranged the router overhead securing it tightly; using short lengths of planed timber a "tunnel" was arranged as a guide to run the new timber through; a Roman Ogee router cutter was selected this being heavy duty 1/2" and by trial and error everything was set up. The new router jig was clamped to the bed of my combination woodworking machine ensuring the routed timber didn't come into contact with the workshop wall meaning the workshop doors would need to be open to give over 24' working length.

These Screwfix (Erbauer) big routers are excellent value but are let down by a very short plunge stroke often making it difficult to use standard length cutters; I've since bought an expensive Makita 3hp router plus I have two small power routers.

Wearing my dust mask and ear defenders I was highly delighted by how the new router setup worked; I had tied string around the router's on/off switch making it full time on and switching was then done at the supply socket; long lengths of moulding could now be produced at speed; one edge was routed then the length had to be taken outside in order to turn it around before routing the second edge; dust and shavings went everywhere but it didn't take long to run all the moulding. This profile moulding is not available unless machined to order which would prove highly expensive; 300' of moulding if available in 8' lengths wouldn't be cheap either. So now I had the softwood moulding at last.

Most of the debris was cleaned away but I now needed to use the router again in order to cut the many joints. I designed and made a double routing jig on the same base board; one to give mitre cuts the other straight cuts; mitred half lap joints were chosen for appearance and strength; after a few trials the joints were very accurately cut; these joints would be on full view so needed to be perfect and I don't like using filler to cover poor workmanship.

All this work involved many calculations not only to determine materials needed but to gain a nice frame size to suit the room; this was especially true of the new wooden mantle it being being the showpiece.

Lots of new 13A sockets were installed and the new frames were glued and clamped in the workshop ensuring each was perfectly at right angles as checked by a square; it seemed to take forever glueing and having to wait for the glue to set; the walls were marked for frame location and each frame was secured to the wall with lost head nails; the frames were pre drilled for the nails to prevent splitting.

Nail holes were filled using Toupret filler which is wonderful filler being so easy to apply and sand flush; to prevent bleed through from knots a heavy coat of Zinsser cover stain primer was brush applied. I didn't fancy having to brush paint the new moulding and the wall panels etc; my roller at 4" long couldn't be used so a lot more web browsing and I found just what I needed; 60mm long rollers;


These short rollers being so difficult to track down I bought 60 of each so I have plenty in stock; the roller handle is needed too but a standard 4" tray can be used. These rollers were marvellous rapidly applying the bulk of the paint with a brush handy just for touching in.

The ceiling was stripped of old paper and repapered using heavy gauge lining paper then painted an arm aching job. The walls above dado were also papered with heavy lining paper but the lining paper applied vertically and painted. The wooden window frames were painted and after tidying up we could at last think about the new carpet.

We visited "The Carpet Barn" and Bron chose the new carpet which had to be ordered; once the carpet arrived their fitters installed it doing a lovely job.

The new fire; tiled surround and hearth including fitting and VAT was £1,600 the new carpet at £800. I've forgotten the cost of the timber for the framing and other sundries but what a truly delightful front room we now have to enjoy for many years yet to come. I'm no one special having not received lots of training; over the years I've improved my skill level by tackling projects each project being more difficult than the previous project; these projects in turn afforded me confidence and experience; I'm a mechanical engineer by trade so already had many skills but I find I can transfer many of these skills to other projects.

So in the end after Bron saying we could benefit from a new carpet we got a brand new room from carpet to ceiling; I don't recommend a total novice to jump in and follow my lead but with practice it can be done; 300' of wooden moulding for the price of planed softwood I reckon to be a good bargain.

I've rambled on because it's another cold morning outside but I'll wander down to the workshop later today.

If you've got this far many thanks for your patience.

Kind regards, Colin.


Routing in anger under way; the lengths of MDF on the bench were the next routing job.


Wearing dust protection is a must and this only part way through routing.


The string is depressing the on/off switch making the router on now being controlled by the 13A socket switch.


A picture of the "tunnel" guide.


Double routing jig on same board for accurately routing joints at speed..


Roman Ogee profile moulding.


Joint routing jig again showing toggle clamp to secure frame length to be routed.


Mitred half lap joints cut at speed using the router and jig.
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Jul 29, 2018
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Huddersfield. UK.
United Kingdom

Many thanks Doug for your kind words. :)

These days younger generations don't seem interested in practical things preferring to push buttons or play with their mobile phones. There's something very satisfying in being able to make things from scratch. It's a poor day here today with high wind and low temperature so like the younger generations I too am pressing buttons for a change rather than enjoying workshop time.

It interrupts my thought pattern but I always try to keep digital images of projects I take for future reference and the images are also useful for posting onto forums. I use my cheap (£60) camera for general use because it is exposed to dust in the workshop.

There's so much spare money around these days its encouraging people to be lazy and get someone in to do the simplest of jobs; Bron and I have saved a fortune in labour charges over the last 42 years doing the work ourselves.

Below are a few more images.

Kind regards, Colin.


The original random stone fireplace at 10' long.


Mid summer in August in the UK at midday being the usual black hole;

Front room_001.JPG

The new mantle being tried for fit before taking it to the workshop and spray painting it. The mantle is mostly constructed of 18mm thick MDF left over from another project; some of the original fire surround in mahogany is included. This mantle is only secured to the wall by three wood screws; the top shelf lifts off not being secured; the top section lifts clear once the screws are removed and the two pillars also lift away not secured. The dentil moulding looks very effective but is nothing more than small squares of mahogany each being glued in position; an 1/8" spacer was used to ensure all gaps were equal; these small extra touches make a lot of difference.

Front room_002.JPG

Close up of the dentil moulding; the blocks are glued to the recycled mahogany; the lower horizontal is also recycled mahogany both moulded with the router to give a pleasing profile; the blocks were spun on the woodturning lathe the detail rings added with a gouge spacing of the rings judged by eye but I've had practice at woodturning. Making a fire surround looks daunting but I found it quite easy once I started and enjoyed making it.

Front room_003.JPG

One of the pillar backs; the main top section laid on the old carpet and the top shelf propped against the wall. The coffee table and hardwood doors are also made by me. Please note the new frame tops and dado shown above the chesterfield sofa.
Front room_004.JPG

One of the pillars showing the simple construction; the cove moulding was added with the router; getting the cove spacing and depth were the hardest part.

Front room_005.JPG

The new mantle spray painted and installed. New frames and dado installed; the skirting still to sort out.

Front room_006.JPG

Nearing completion ready for new carpet and pictures hanging which was over to Bron.

Front room_001_01.JPG

First the destruction; it looked grim at this point but no going back from here.
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