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Most timber mouldings are produced using a machine called a spindle moulder. Fast-spinning cutters give the moulding its characteristic profile as the square or rectangular planed stock is fed into the machine.
Large mouldings such as skirtings are usually machined from softwood or MDF. The latter material has the advantage of being dimensionally stable and free from knots, splits, shakes and warping. MDF mouldings are available pre-primed.
Mouldings with a smaller cross-section are usually machined from inexpensive hardwoods such as ramin, which holds edge details better than softwood on a small scale. They are displayed in store in a fulllength pigeon hole dispenser.
Skirting boards and architraves have a practical as well as a decoratiive purpose. Skirting boards prevent damage to the lowest part of the wall plaster, while architraves conceal the join between the wall and the door frame.
Wickes stocks softwood and MDF skirting boards in the traditional torus pattern, with a choice of two heights, and in a plain chamfered pattern 70mm high. Also available are hardwood torus skirting 170mm high, and a dual-purpose softwood skirting 95mm high which reveals a different profile according to which way round it is fixed.
Architrave mouldings come in torus, ogee and chamfered profiles in softwood, in torus and chamfered profile in pre-primed MDF, and in ogee only in hardwood. Picture and dado rails are also available in all three materials.
Softwood cladding for walls and ceilings comes in four profiles; traditional TGV (tongued, grooved and V-jointed) cladding, plain constructional cladding, Heritage cladding with its moulded profile, and shiplap cladding for exterior use. The boards are sold in packs of four or five for ease of handling.
Staircase mouldings are speciality mouldings used to assemble replacement balustrades. They include vertical newel posts, handrail mouldings, baluster spindles, bottom rails and special fittings to turn a balustrade through a quarter turn. These matched components make replacing a balustrade a simple and straightforward job.
As their name implies, these mouldings are used for a range of edge-trimming and joint concealing jobs. The range includes plain rounded, rebated and decorative moulded edge cover strips, angle and hockey-stick mouldings and quadrant and scotia mouldings. Most are ramin, and generally come in 2.4m lengths.
These mouldings are also used in a variety of ways, for example to give a plain door a panelled finish or to create panelled effects on wall and ceiling surfaces. Some have machined profiles, others have a decorative pattern embossed into their surface. Many of the cover mouldings stocked can also be used in this way, and Wickes stocks roundel corner blocks as an alternative to using mitred corner joints.
Finally, a range of picture frame mouldings enable you to make up matching picture frames to any size you require.
There are several mouldings which have a purely functional use, rather than any decorative purpose. These include dowel, available in a range of sizes for jobs ranging from making dowel joints to creating hanging pegs and clothes rails, and glass bead for use as a neater alternative to putty in glazed doors and windows.
There is also plain ramin stripwood in both square and rectangular cross-sections for use in all sorts of small-scale woodworking projects.
One of the most popular jobs involving mouldings is adding a picture or dado rail to a room so that each area of the wall surface can be given a different decorative finish. The secret of success with this job is to draw a truly horizontal pencil guide line round the room. It is then a simple matter to work round the room, measuring, cutting and fitting each length of rail in turn. For a quick result you can use Forget Nails adhesive instead of screws and wallplugs or masonry nails.
1. Start fixing the rail on the room's longest wall. Use a 45° angled joint, not a butt joint, between lengths.
2. At internal corners, scribe the end of the first length on the next wall and cut it with a coping saw.
3. At external corners, mitre the joint. Use filler to neaten the joint if your mitre cuts aren't perfect.