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In our previous kitchen the crown molding was installed on top of the cabinets. It was secure with screws in the back. Removeable, great finishing and no damage to the cabinet front. Something like this:

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I remodeled our kitchen and the plan was to install crown molding in the same fashion however, I'm now facing two issues:

  1. Due to poor quality control the the cabinet tops are uneven in some joints by a small amount like 1/16".
  2. The fridge panel is higher than the cabinets by about 1/4" (see pics).

I see two options:

  1. Level the top - I have no idea how (open to suggestions).
  2. Overlay the crown molding.

What I want to avoid is to nail it to the front of the face frame because if something goes wrong... then the front will be damaged with nail holes. Also because the crown molding is already finished it doesn't seem like a good idea anyway.

I though that maybe I could overlay it about 1/4" with the face frame to hide the top issues.

enter image description here

Hence the questions: is this a valid approach? Do you see any problems I might face for doing it this way? How something like this is usually resolved out there?

enter image description here

enter image description here

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    -1 for the casual racism. You bought cheap, you got cheap. Don't blame an entire race for your mistakes. – Tetsujin Mar 4 at 19:02
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    The technique shown in the first diagram is rare anyway. Flush joints like that don't tend to look professional--they're difficult to get perfect and make the seam more conspicuous. Custom cabinet makers always install to the face. – isherwood Mar 4 at 19:51
  • @Tetsujin As for the harsh words: "You bought cheap, you got cheap", I asked for solid wood, high quality cabinets and paid premium price for it. What was delivered to me matches the technical specification of what I order so... there is nothing I can do about it. And no, in the show room they didn't advertise it was made overseas neither they advertised it was overpriced. Anyway... as for my reference to where it came from, I meant as a joke. There is great stuff coming from all over the world as there are a lot of cheap stuff made in America. But I apologize to whoever felt offended by it. – Ebrito Mar 4 at 20:40
  • @Ebrito truth is a good defense, it was both cheaply made and of Chinese origin; those are facts, not prejudice or slurs... – dandavis Mar 5 at 17:36
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I think you have it right.

A mounting block installed at the top of the cabinet face is the way to go. In your previous kitchen the crown molding was top mount. I've often seen that installed with a mounting block or nailer fastened to the back of the cabinet face and the molding nailed or glued to the front of the nailer.

With the issues you described the surface mount crown molding the way you drew it up is the best solution. For extra stability on the nailer you might want to consider building a simple L (actually, an upside down L) mount. Depending on the depth of the offset at the top of the cabinet behind the cabinet face you could fasten a 1x2 so it extends up vertically over the top of the cabinet and then add your nailer so it butts up to it.

Small differences in the height of the cabinets won't matter much and will be covered by the molding. However, you can always use a sander to quickly remove any major differences in height.

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  • Basically what I did in my kitchen. One note - I attached my mounting blocks to the cabinets before I hung them on the wall, since with a 8' ceiling and 40" (or 42") cabinets, there would not have been enough room to fasten the blocks from the top once the cabinets were in place. – SteveSh Mar 5 at 12:35

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