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crown molding miter saw coping saw

How To Cut Crown Molding

Cutting Crown Molding

Using a miter saw to cut crown molding is one of the nicest ways to finish a room. There’s just something almost regal about the way it extends the ceiling height and gives the entire room a more finished appearance. Most people think of mansions or castles when they think about crown molding, but many homeowners are considering it as an option in their own homes. This means that you need to know how to cut crown molding if you are in the business of building, remodeling, or if you are a skilled do-it-yourself handyman.

Cutting crown molding can be a challenging job for anyone, even a skilled carpenter. First, you want to avoid the impression that this is anything like cutting door casing or baseboards. This is a completely different creature altogether. Since doors, windows, and baseboards are flat, cutting their trim is a much easier job. Crown molding on the other hand has a slight difference in the design. It has two angled edges, one that rests against the wall and one that rests against the ceiling. You will have to think about the outside and inside corners during cutting and installation as well as those angles. Here are the some steps to consider and follow when installing crown molding.

Cutting the Crown Molding

The two basic tools you need for cutting crown molding are a miter saw and a coping saw. The miter saw is used for cutting scarf joints. This is a joint that connects two lengths where one length of crown molding is not long enough to cover the entire area you are working on. For example: your wall is 12 feet long and your crown molding is only 8 feet long. You will also use the miter saw to make the cuts for the outside corner. For the inside corners you will need to make a cope cut, which is where the coping saw comes into play.

The miter saw makes your cutting job very easy because you can set it to the specific angle you need. When you are cutting a piece of crown molding with the miter saw, you will position it upside down, or opposite to the way you will install it for a proper cut. Please make note of that before you begin cutting or you will end up back at the hardware store to buy more crown molding.

Brace the length of molding tightly against the fence of the saw to make a good clean cut. If you need to create a scarf joint, you will make a sister cut to the one you made previously. You will hold the second piece in the same inverted position, and the two pieces should join seamlessly. It may take some time for you to perfect this particular type of joint, but once you’ve got it, you’ll love the results.

A scarf joint is easier to make than the cuts for the outside corner. Proper orientation of the molding essential for getting the right cut. Set the saw to 45 degrees to make the first cut, then turn it 45 degrees in the other direction to cut the second piece. Brace the pieces properly against the fence, and set the angles correctly, and there is no reason why you shouldn’t have a perfect, tight corner.

The inside corner is a little trickier, but you can do this with some practice. You will need two different cuts, a butt cut and an inside miter. This requires a cope cut on the leading edge of the molding. The coping saw makes it easy to cut on an angle to make the corners meet. After the cutting, you will need to smooth the edge with sandpaper.

It is wise to do a few test cuts on scrap pieces of molding before making your final cuts on the crown molding that will be installed in your home. Making templates for your crown molding miter cuts is also helpful.  If your plan is to paint the molding after installation, look for gaps and seal them with caulk before painting.

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