Pulling Casing Tight to the Wall

Stiff hardwood casing is hard to get tight. Here are a handful of tips and tricks. November 11, 2005

I am installing some 3/4" x 3" hickory casing and I'm finding this to be beautiful stuff, but a pain to install. The board is not sucking up tightly to the wall, so I'm wondering if anyone has any suggestions on fasteners. Ideally there would be such a thing as a barbed finish brad or small screw to fasten these with. I am currently trying to use a 2" brad. Even if I hit a stud, it won't stay tight to the wall.

Forum Responses
(Cabinet and Millwork Installation Forum)
I would use a square drive self-drilling trim head screw. And putty the hole with matching putty.

What the contributor above said for the tough areas, but use 16 gauge finish nails and make them longer. At 2", you're only in the stud 3/4 of an inch.

Screws sound pretty extreme to me, too. First, does the casing have a hollowed back side to ensure that the two edges will hit the wall and jamb even if the wall is humped or offset from the jamb edge? (If not, machine one in.)

Second, most finish carpenters I know (including me) are not opposed to smashing the sheetrock with a hammer in problem areas to eliminate gaps in their trim work. (This smashing would of course be in areas that will be covered by the molding.)

If this is for door openings, you could glue and clamp to the jamb and shoot 2"-2.5" finish nails. I have worked with hickory before and it is very stiff. The trim head screw is not a bad idea. The head is just a little bigger than a finish nail and the screw would definitely hold it.

That is right about the drywall smashing. It usually has to be done on every job unless you have made the jambs yourself and they are the correct width. I have had a lot of success with caulking gun tubes of glue. A bead on the back of the moulding, some 2 1/2" 16 gauge finish nails, and you are good to go.

Thanks. The casing is hollowed out on the back side, and I do smash away excess plaster. I picked up some trim screws last night and I will try to clamp and glue on the door jambs. I'm sure a combination of the above will help me out.