A Remodeler’s Approach to Replicating Plaster Moldings
Foam backer and a few jigs are the keys to reproducing this traditional cornice detail.
Synopsis: In this article, remodeler Joseph James walks through the process of replicating plaster moldings, a typical detail in older homes. He begins by making two knives out of metal flashing, cutting the profiles of the existing molding into the blades. He uses a jig to create the new moldings, adding plaster before running the knives over the table jig. He then shows the installation of a replicated cornice.
In the time leading up to the mid-1900s, plaster was a much more common building material than it is today. Walls and ceilings were often finished with plaster; many homes had plaster moldings. Cornices, at the junction of walls and ceilings, were typically plaster.
For over a year now, I’ve been involved in the restoration of a historic building in Yankton, S.D., that will soon become the Mead Cultural Education Center. Inside the building, there are miles of plaster cornice…