I have some decorative wood pieces on the front of my house that are old and falling apart. I took them down to recreate them anew. Someone suggested I could trace them and cut out new ones in the same style. This seemed like a straightforward suggestion until I started trying to trace them and realized their edges are ragged from age and peeling paint and so forth. How should I go about recreating them? I bought wood already and am ready to go once I determine a good method.

Should I trace onto paper and clean up before transferring to the new wood? Should I use a French curve to make sure the arcs are steady? Etc. Any experience you can offer will be helpful. Thanks!

ETA picture of house. Here I've overexposed it so you can see the wood trim I have been talking about. Does anybody know what the architectural term for this trim is?

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  • I traced them onto paper. Then I noticed that the existing pieces are not symmetrical left-right. It became clear that they were hand drawn and cut. Oddly enough, discovering that gave me free rein. I traced them onto the new wood, then I re-drew them to be symmetrical and to have the curves distributed evenly. Cut out with jigsaw (first time using one!), filed and sanded. Will paint after installing on the house. Thanks all for suggestions.
    – barclay
    Aug 31, 2013 at 19:56

3 Answers 3


Tracing is the first thing I would try.

If the trim detail is not super fine, sand lightly to remove burrs and bumps, and then tape (painter's tape probably, or whatever you have on hand that is close) along the the path the pencil will take to bridge valleys and pits.


Your trim doesn't have to be the same. It just has to look good and fit and match with each other. If your trim is that far gone I would look into buying boards with premade patterns and installing them where old trim was.

Here is a link to exterior molding. It looks like they have several things that could work for you. Unless you have the right tools, a ton of time, and really good carpentry skills it will be very very hard to do this yourself and get quality results. This is on the front of your house and very noticeable.


Unless the trim is rotten you can try stripping the paint to expose the original profile

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