Step 5: Cap the Base.

capping the base for a columned room divider
Photo: Ryan Benyi
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Run a bead of construction adhesive along the top of the base and cover it with a panel of MDF. Countersink pilot holes and drive MDF screws through the panel to secure it. Then, to account for the height of the 12 face-frame trim, add an MDF filler panel. Use scrap trim to inset it ¾ inch from the front and the end; inset it 1½ inches along the back edge to accommodate the back panel plus the trim. And to allow for out-of-plumb walls, leave a ¾-inch gap at the wall end; it will be covered by a face-frame stile in Step 8. Secure the filler panel with construction adhesive and countersunk MDF screws at each corner.
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    Tools List

    • 100-foot tape measure
      Tape measure
    • straightedge guide
      Straightedge
    • bar clamp
      Clamps
    • circular saw
      Circular saw
    • caulk gun
      Caulk gun
    • drill
      Drill/driver
    • Countersink bit
      Countersink bit
    • four-foot level
      4-foot level
    • pneumatic brad nailer
      Pneumatic brad nailer and air compressor
    • combination square
      Combination square
    • miter saw
      Miter saw

    Shopping List

    ¾-inch medium-density fiberboard (MDF)
    Get three 4-by-8-foot sheets for an 8½-foot ceiling.

    2x8 lumber to build the base

    Shims

    Solid crown molding to trim the capital and the cabinet top

    Baseboard molding

    ½-inch and ¾-inch quarter-round molding
    for the base cap and shoe molding

    1½-inch MDF screws to assemble the boxes

    2½-inch deck screws to install the base and the blocking

    1¼-inch brad nails

    Construction adhesive

    Wood filler and paintable caulk

    Primer and paint