An Illustrated Guide to Crown Moldings
Combine classic profiles to match any period or style
Take a tour through crown-molding history to discover the aesthetic and practical virtues it offers. This visual glossary of elements and representative pieces will help you develop the vernacular and the know-how to identify and reproduce accurate crown moldings in your own workshop. The article also shows how to use 21st-century methods to build a swan-neck molding.
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Throughout the history of cabinetmaking, applied moldings have made substantial contributions to the aesthetic enhancement of case pieces. Combinations of cove, quarter-round, and ogee moldings reflect light and create shadows, adding a lot of visual interest to a piece. The crown, or cornice, also can have a practical function. For instance, I have seen them outfitted with secret drawers.
Without the horizontal finality of a crown molding or the lyrical interest that a broken pediment or a swan-neck pediment provides, the top of a case piece would stand…