Many jobs tackled by the DIY man need lipping or moulding to finish off joints and edges and it is important to choose the right type and to apply it correctly. Lipping is used to protect edges of man-made boards and softwood, while moulding covers joints and gaps and gives a decorative finish. Moulding comes in a wide variety of shapes, so you need to decide carefully which one to use for a particular job.

Lipping is a strip of wood applied to the edges of man-made boards and softwood to protect them from wear and tear and to give a neat finish. Hardwood or softwood can be used, but hardwood provides greater resistance to wear. You can buy lipping in various widths and thicknesses or you can make it yourself from offcuts of seasoned hardwood: unwanted furniture can often provide suitable hardwood for lipping and many timber suppliers sell offcuts and odd lengths at reasonable prices. Most lipping is square or rectangular in section, although it is also available shaped or flanged for decoration as well as protection.

Lipping is essential for edging a ply or hard-board flush-faced door, whether it is to be left in the natural finish or painted. Blockboard doors should also be lipped to seal exposed sawn edges. A lipped finish to a tiled sill allows square-edged field tiles to be taken flush to the top edge of the lipping, giving a neat finish to the sill and eliminating the possibility of damage to overhanging tiles.

Hardwood lipping gives better protection to a laminate surface than a strip of laminate. If the laminate edging is slightly damaged, it has to be removed and replaced; damaged hardwood lipping, on the other hand, can be planed or scraped back using a cabinet scraper to a give a new surface. Shaped lipping can provide a door pull for a cupboard or a finger grip for a drawer.

Applying lipping

Lipping is usually glued, or glued and pinned; it can also be glued and screwed, but this is advisable only if the screws are decorative. Gluing is preferable if appearance is important, since pins may be difficult to disguise completely. If you are gluing only, you will need to apply pressure while the adhesive is drying.

PREPARING THE SURFACES The edge of the board to be lipped must be square-cut, straight and smoothly finished. Check the squareness of the edge with a try square; for straightness, hold the edge against a level surface such as a flush door or table top, or sight along the length at eye level.

Follow the same procedure to check the back edge of the lipping material is true and try the edge against the board. The back edge of the lipping should close tight and square when brought up to the board edge. Any signs of daylight indicate high spots along one or both of the butting edges; remove these with a sharp, finely set block plane or a medium-cut file. It is worth spending a little time to get the surfaces right at this stage.

Choose a lipping which is slightly wider than the thickness of the boards. The outer faces of the lipping can be trimmed when the adhesive, is dry, so keep the top and bottom edges of the lipping just proud of the board surfaces when fixing.

DEALING WITH CORNERS IF you use mitre-cut corners on external edges, form them before fixing the lipping and work to exact dimensions to ensure a perfect fit. You will, however, find it easier to butt the corners. Fix the short sides in place first and trim them flush with the front edges of the board. Then fix the long sides, butting them against the ends of the short sides and trim back the ends of the long sides flush with the side lipping. It is important to file or plane away from the corner, since the grain will break away unless the front edge of the lipping is clamped against a supporting timber or shooting board.

Choosing adhesive Impact adhesive provides the quickest method of fixing, but PVA adhesive gives a stronger bond on wood and the excess is more easily removed. If using impact adhesive, first prime the edge of the board with adhesive and let it dry; this is particularly important in the case of chipboard. which is very porous. If the surface being lipped is likely to get wet in use. glue it with water-resistant adhesive.

GLUING AND PINNING Apply the adhesive and fit the lipping in place. Using veneer or panel pins, punch the pins below the surface of the lipping and fill with matching filler. Wipe away excess adhesive.

APPLYING PRESSURE If you are not using pins, you will need to apply pressure to keep the lipping in place while the adhesive is drying. If possible, use a sash cramp or edging clamp; if not, tie round string or rope to hold the lipping in place. Place a wad of paper between the string or rope and the lipping, where the pressure is, to avoid marking the wood. Wipe away excess adhesive.

TRIMMING When the adhesive has dried, trim the outer edges of the lipping with a finely set, razor sharp block plane. When trimming back to A laminated surface, take care not to scuff it with the plane: use your fingers to sense how close the trimming is to the decorative surface and finish with a fine file until both surfaces are flush. A cabinet scraper can be used when a perfect flush finish is required between two wood surfaces.

Used to cover joints, gaps and edges, moulding is usually decorative as well as functional; some mouldings are used for decoration only. There are various shapes for different purposes and each comes in a range of sizes. The most commonly used shapes are described below; there are also specialist mouldings used in cabinet making, picture frames, trays, toys and handles, and even Sash mouldings for windows.

HALF-ROUND For hiding joints of butted panels. ‘There is also a flat-topped or ‘D’ shape half-round. ASTRAGAL Used as for half-round, an astragal has a ‘shoulder’ each side of the round part; a double astragal has two ‘shoulders’ each side. QUADRANT Probably the most widely used moulding; typical applications include covering an internal joint and hiding a gap between the skirting and floorboards.

TRIANGLE Used for covering internal corners.

CORNER For covering external corners and as an alternative to mitring where this would be difficult on thin panels; it is also used just for decoration.

REEDED This covers joints or can be used just for decoration.

SCOTIA For decorative use and for covering the joint between the skirting and floorboards.

CHANNEL Used for glass or timber sliding doors. A deeper grooved moulding is positioned at the top of the door opening to enable the doors to be lifted into the channels when fitting. Single and double tracks are available.

REBATED These are popular as a cover strip for standard panel edges.

DRAWER SLIP Useful for securing a drawer bottom to sides which are too thin to be rebated. The base slides into the groove.

GLASS BEADING For fixing glass into a frame. If the frame does not have a rebate, the moulding can be used inside with putty outside. If the frame has a rebate, the glass can be bedded on putty in the rebate and covered outside with moulding. This moulding is also used inside for dry-glazing cabinet doors.

EDGE NOSING For covering edges of standard hard-board and plywood.

CABLE For covering exposed wires and cables.

BASE AND ARCHITRAVE Used to cover joints between walls and window frames, door frames and fitted cupboards.

HOCKEY STICK For lipping or edging panels and doors. It is sometimes fitted with the curve facing outwards to act as a closing seal for double doors.

WEATHERBOARD Fixed to the bottom of an exterior door to deflect rainwater and prevent it seeping into the gap below the DOOR.

DOOR STOP Fitted to the door frame to stop the door in the closed position.

CORNICE Used at the join of the ceiling and wall.

DADO RAIL Fitted to the wall 1070mm from the floor.

SKIRTING Covers the join between the wall and the floor.


The procedure for applying moulding is basically the same as for lipping. If the moulding is to be painted or applied where the use of pins will be unnoticeable, you can glue and pin it. If, however, it is a decorative moulding, glue it without pinning. Where access is difficult, making it impossible to cramp the moulding while the adhesive dries, use impact adhesive.

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