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A lot of guys get into trouble installing crown without carefully inspecting the job before hand. Then as they are installing the molding discover how bad the walls and ceilings are and panic cause it is not looking too good. I never scribed the crown to the ceiling or walls. If the ceiling is really bad I do not hesitate to point out to the customer that installing crown will look terrible and will not meet their expectations, and the only remedy is to fix the ceiling. Sounds drastic because it is. If the ceilings and walls are not too bad you can float mud to the gaps after the molding is installed, but I find it much easier to use a long aluminum straight edge along the wall and ceiling, marking all the dips and bumps. (before molding installation) Then floating mud and feathering it all out until everything is relatively flat. Checking it with the straight edge between coats. It entails a bit of work, but the prep of the walls will pay off after you see how good the crown looks.
Jay, if you don't have the opption of floating the ceiling like most of us then try this. I use a power plane or a belt sander, I like the power plane better. I clamp the crown to my bench and plane to the scribe line, then I finish it up with a block plane.
I agree that molding should never be scribed to irregular walls. The only things that should be scribed to walls and ceilings are cabinets; those scribe strips just reek of amateurs. If the customer doesn't want to float out the ceilings, have the painter caulk the gaps between the crown and the ceiling. At least that way it leaves the option open to float the ceilings at a later date without making the top of the crown profile too narrow.
I agree that todays houses are sometimes put up in such a fast manner, that it is wise to bring a straight edge along to show why it costs to do a certian job. why sacrifice how your work looks because somebody else through up some mud on the wall or slammed the framing together.
Never do anything that will make your work look bad because that is what everybody will see forever, Your good work will get you jobs not poor work. The most you can do is let the customer know why you have to do it right. Swan
You bring up an old dispute. I don't necessarily buy the argument that cabinets should always be set level for two reasons: 1) the eye tends to follow parallel lines, and if the building is out of level, and the cabinets are level, everything *looks* out of whack, and 2) What if the house is ever jacked up to level what happens? There are arguments for each way. Maybe we are building boats (sometimes?).
I push very hard to address the isues before the instalation but I still will not do something wrong to make outhers work look good. If house is jacked up its still not that much of a job to reset cabs. I will not cut a door out of square to match bad floor. If customer fixes floor later your work looks bad. Thanks for your ideas. Swan
Jay, after reading all the posts I have another tried and true suggestion. Do not scribe the crown, instead install a 1x2 with a routed profile on the ceiling. Scribe the 1x2, fasten to ceiling and wall if it needs it. Then the crown is installed. Blocking is eliminated, no caulking and the extra piece looks good. I generally rout a small cove on the edge and leave a 1/2" reveal from the crown to the coved 1x2.