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Cutting a return on molding trim

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  • Cutting a return on molding trim

    I'm ready to install a 6" molded profile trim over two 76" wide windows in my house. The fancy headers cost $75.00 per length, and I don't want to shag it up. Like most people on this forum, I'm pretty good with tools, but I want to make sure I do this right, because mistakes will be expensive. I'd appreciate a short list of steps, just to make sure I'm making the right cuts in the right order.

    The headers are 6" high, 1" thick at the bottom, and 2.5 inches thick at the top of the profile.

    To add to the tricky part, the 10 foot lengths should leave enough for me to install the leftover parts over a single entry door, so there's not much room for wastage.


    PS. I have a 10" Delta CMS sunk into a long bench in my shop, so I can cut comfortably on either end of the header.

  • #2

    Re: Cutting a return on molding trim

    Not quite sure what you are asking, sorry. Are you casing the window? Inside or outside? What do you mean when you say returns - are you talking jamb extensions?

    Measure twice or three times, cut once.
    Don't forget to leave a reveal on the edge of the jamb. If you are casing the window, measure your inside dimension, and then add 1/2" (which equals 1/4" reveal on either side). Carefully mark and cut your board with these inside measurements. Then simply 'chase' the rest of the trim around the window, fitting each mitre to the last as you go along.

    Not sure what else to tell you!


    • #3

      Re: Cutting a return on molding trim


      I think I know what you mean. A return is just a 45* miter but because the molding is so wide you wont be able to cut it at the installed angle (spring angle???). You will have to make compound miter/bevel cut so you will need to refer to charts or calculate the proper settings. I think Dewalt and/or Delta have charts on their websites and I've also seen spreadsheets set up to calculate the settings.

      I would mill some 2x8 stock to the same width and thickness to practice on first.

      Not exactly the step by step instructions you wanted but I hope this helps.

      “Small minds discuss people, average minds discuss events, great minds discuss ideas.”
      Admiral Hyman Rickover


      • #4

        Re: Cutting a return on molding trim

        I think (correct me if I'm wrong) but Bill wants to trim the window with a "header" then the remainder of the trim has mitres in the bottom right and left corners (not sure how to explain, but the two horizontal pieces are at 90* to the header, and 45* to the bottom trim)'s the colonial look I believe.
        The "return" is the little piece of trim that is attached at a 45* angle to the header, so that if you stand flush with the wall and look at the edge, you see the profile of the trim heading back towards the wall.

        Anyhow Bill, I did the same for my front door. I measured 3 times, screwed it up (thankfully it was too long!), and then trimmed it down.

        I am not sure how to explain...this would be a case of "a picture is worth a thousand words"

        Maybe you can clear up what exactly you want... how to cut the little return pieces? How to make sure you piece is long enough...
        Jason in Sudbury