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How to make
Curved Window Trim!
6/09

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This was an interesting project, and I thought it would be easy! actually it's pretty straight forward, and with a little planning I had the big arch cut and assembled in an hour and a half!

So we started out with a cardboard template. We did our best to trace the inside radius of the window, but the flimsy card board was not completely cooperative! So I got an outside diameter and a height and went home to ponder this thing.

Since this project is getting a natural finish, i wanted the grain to look as natural as possible. I think the best way to do that is to have many pieces winding their way around the window. But that means many joints. So if I can make one joint look good, why not make a bunch of them, after all they're all the same angle.
This pic shows one of the segments. The finished size of the trim is 2.5" in width, so I'm using 1x5, which is 4.5" wide. By drawing out the whole piece full size on the pattern, makes the whole process very easy to picture in my lil brain.
So i planed on 9 segments to take me around the 180 degrees. That's 9 pieces with an angle on each end, that's 18 angles so 10 degrees for the angles.
I cut 9 pieces of 1x5 pine to 13 inches, being careful not to flip the pieces, I want the grain to match as closely as possible as it goes around the window.
You can use your chop saw to cut the angles of each segment, but I prefer to use my table saw sled. this one is made by In-Line Industries
Just to be sure, I cut an angle on one side of the first three segment, then brought these back to the pattern to see how well I was doing. Satisfied, I went back and cut the other end of these pieces......
......Then started placing the pieces around the pattern. For the most part the length stayed the same, I did need to adjust the length a couple of times.
Here you can see (by the steel rule) where the 2-1/2" finished piece is going to land. Yup lots of extra meat on both sides to absorb the curve. The black marks seem like a good place to put the pocket screws that will hold this mess together.

Notice the marks are kept low, so when i go to cut the pocket holes, i put them on the right side!! Now i will transfer those marks to the bottom of the piece.

On to my Kreg Jig to cut the pocket holes. This is an older model, but it serves me well. the newer model has built in chip collection!
Now you can see how helpful those marks are. I can position the piece to locate the hole in the best location, so when I cut the radius, I don't cut into the screws!
Now its a simple matter of drilling out the holes. I'm using the two outer most holes in the jig for this job.

To learn more about pocket holes, click here!

Kreg Jig® K3 Master System
Kreg Jig® K3 Master System


Kreg Large Face Clamp, with Soft Grip Handles
Kreg Large Face Clamp, with Soft Grip Handles


Kreg™ 675-Pc. Self-Tapping Pocket Hole Screw Kit
Kreg™ 675-Pc. Self-Tapping Pocket Hole Screw Kit


Kreg DVD: The Pocket Hole Solution to Trim Carpentry
Kreg DVD: The Pocket Hole Solution to Trim Carpentry


Kreg DVD: The Pocket Hole Solution to Tables
Kreg DVD: The Pocket Hole Solution to Tables


Now some glue, and a couple of clamps to hold the pieces tight and flush and screw it together. The screws act as clamps, so the other clamps can come off to use on the next joint.
Now doesn't that look nice?!? Made it all the way around, and stayed on the pattern. Of course if you were to start wandering off your pattern, you could adjust your angle a bit to get back on course.
to transport this thing to my daughters house, I decided to make the trim in three pieces. I did drill out for the pocket screws, I'll assemble it at her house, where i need to mount it temporally, and trace the inside radius.
Woodcraft.com - Helping You Make Wood Work
Ah, here's the challenge, make my creation fit this window. The side trim is loosely mounted, it will also have to be shortened a bit. The first step is to align the trim over the window, tack it with a couple of finish nails, and run a pencil around the inside of the window, on the back side of the trim. This will give me an exact size of the trim. 

But remember, there is a 3/16" reveal of the window casing behind the trim. So when I take this thing home, I need to cut 3/16" inside of my tracing line. 

I also need to be careful where I place the trim  blank. Remember there are screws in the back holding the segments together. i needed to measure how far the screws were from the edge of the trim blank. Then hold the trim in such a way that every joint was that far away. Then I checked to see that the top most segment was level, and then I tossed in a couple of finish nails
Now that the trim was secure, we chose a position for the joint between my trim and the side trim. The bottom of the level shows that  position, and we draw a line there so we can cut that in the shop.

Well boys and girls, that's enough for our field trip, now its back to the shop!

Delta Industrial Model SA350K Bench Oscillating Spindle Sander with a 1/4HP
Delta Industrial Model SA350K Bench Oscillating Spindle Sander with a 1/4HP


JET - JBOS-5, Benchtop Oscillating Spindle Sander, 1/2HP, 1Ph 115V
JET - JBOS-5, Benchtop Oscillating Spindle Sander, 1/2HP, 1Ph 115V


DeWalt DW735 13'' Thickness Planer
DeWalt DW735 13'' Thickness Planer


8'' Wing Compass
8'' Wing Compass


Ok the first order of business was to cut the inside down to that line I traced in the home. i cut 1/16" outside the line, then cleaned it up with the oscillating drum sander. This will be the point where I pull my 3/16" reveal from. 
I needed to mill the trim down to 5/8". but i couldn't do this earlier because I would of planed off my tracing!
I had to remove the screws from the trim, don't want to damage the planner knives. I also only removed one pass from the front of the trim, and the bulk from the back. I was worried about the points of the screws protruding through the front of the trim. 
After re-sizing the stock, and returning the screws, I had to get out my grinder and take a little bit of metal off the screw heads, because now part of them we proud of the back surface.
Ok, now we can take some dividers set to 3/16" and re-scribe the inside curve to allow for the reveal.
Then I cut the inside curve again, and return to the drum sander again. Yes I'm still working the trim in three section. Much easier to handle! later when I reassemble, I may have to touch up the inside and outside joints a little bit.
That is a piece of the existing window trim, what better tool to use to scribe the outside of the trim than that?!?! I tacked a piece of scrap to one end, and ran my pencil around to get this dimension.
And while the piece was in the vice, I decided to touch up the inside of the trim with a sanding block made from the inside waste. I know I already used the drum sander to shape the inside, but doing this let me fix the little divots left by the drum sander.
DELTA 28-206 14'' Band Saw with 1HP Motor & Enclosed Stand
DELTA 28-206 14'' Band Saw with 1HP Motor & Enclosed Stand


Urethane Band Saw Tires
Urethane Band Saw Tires


Delta 12'' Disc Sander with Integral Dust Collection
Delta 12'' Disc Sander with Integral Dust Collection


6'' Stainless Steel Rule, While Supplies Last!
6'' Stainless Steel Rule, While Supplies Last!


Ok, now we start cutting the outsides, no rocket science here.....
cleaning up to the line is a snap, making the curve constant with out any flat spots is the challenge.
But the real challenge is to finish the joints so they appear seamless when installed in the home. The lower piece is some scrap of the existing trim in the home. 
In this pic I'm starting to connect the "sub assemblies" together. this is a little tricky.
After I secure the first to sub assemblies, I clean up the inside and outside profiles, and sand the faces with a sanding block.
Now that doesn't look so bad! the ends are lining up perfectly and all the seams look good. The next step is to rout the 1/4" radius on the inside and outside!
When ever I find myself routing a very small profile, like the 1/4" radius in this trim, I reach for my smallest router. It's light and easy to support on this narrow workpiece. My larger router would not ride easily around this project.
Porter Cable Trim Router
Excellent for trimming laminate plus general edge and corner trimming. Model #7310. The compact and lightweight design makes for easy freehand use. 
The pic at far left shows the stepped drill bit in the drill guage, 
to adjust the stop collar to the proper depth.
The last little bit of woodworking to do, is to make the pocket holes to join my arch to the side trim below each end. Yeah this was a little tricky! I get a lot of use out of my lil Kreg Jig!
Since I'm drilling into 5/8" stock, I set the stepped edge of the bit half way between the 1/2" and 3/4" marks, then slide the stop collar up against the jig, as shown, and tighten the set screw.
A little over 5 feet wide, now let go back to the home and see if it fits!
The first step at the house, was to position the arch in the window, with the level underneath, and mark the ends of the arch with a pencil. Then measure up from the bottom trim to this mark. Cut your side pieces to this lenght.
And then using the kreg clamping tool, align the arch with the side trim pieces. This ensures a nice joint where the curve meets the straight. Yeah, i know, its a little extra work but well worth it!
Doesn't look so bad now does it?

 
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