Crown molding is one of the easiest ways to add a beautiful touch to a room. Learning how to cut crown molding is one of the most important aspects of finish carpentry, and it’s easy to become overwhelmed if you’re tackling the job yourself.
Today, we’ll cover what you need to know about how to cut crown molding with nice, tight joints, just like a professional. When you’re finished with this guide, you should feel comfortable confronting crown.
What You’ll Need
For this project, you’ll need just a few basic woodworking tools. Here’s what you’ll need to have on hand:
- Miter saw
- Tape Measure
- Painter’s Tape
- Carpenter’s pencil
- Work gloves
- Safety goggles
Step I: Measuring the Project
First, you’ll want to measure the length that the crown needs to run. Assuming you’ll be painting the wall before you install the crown, you can just record your measurement for each wall on the wall itself, so it’s easy to reference.
It can also be helpful to run a stud finder along each wall and mark where each stud is so that you’ll know exactly where to nail when you’re installing the molding.
Step II: Understanding the Cuts
Today, we’re going to cover cutting crown with a regular miter saw. You can also cut crown using a compound miter saw, but most people don’t have access to a compound saw. If you do, Dewalt has some great info on how you can use a compound miter saw to cut crown.
The most important thing to remember when cutting crown molding with a regular miter saw is that everything you’re doing on the saw is going to be upside down from how you’ll be cutting it.
When using a regular miter saw to cut crown, the fence of the saw represents the wall, and the table below represents the ceiling. So, the bottom of the crown will be the part of the molding that’s facing upwards as you make your cut.
With that in mind, we can move on to cutting the miters for our crown installation.
Step III: Cutting for Outside Corners
First, we’ll cover how to cut crown for the outside corners of the room.
Before I make my first cut, I make myself a guide, which helps to ensure that all the cuts are perfectly squared up. Take a few pieces of painter’s tape and place them about where the crown will sit against the saw table when you make your cuts.
Then, grab a piece of crown and hold it so that it’s flush against the table and fence of the saw, with the bottom edge of the molding against the fence and the top edge against the table. Take your carpenter’s pencil and make a line on your painter’s tape where the molding is resting.
That line is exactly where the top of your molding should stop for every cut you make. You’ll want to do the same thing on the other side of the saw’s table.
When cutting for an outside corner, start by taking the piece of molding that will be on the right side of the miter joint and place it on the left side of your saw (remember, everything we’re doing is upside down.) Position the molding against the guide you’ve just made, and set the saw 45 degrees to the right. Turn the saw on and make your cut.
Then, take the piece of molding that will be on the left side of the miter joint and place it on the right side of your saw. Position the molding against the guide and set the saw 45 degrees to the left. Make your cut.
Now, you have both pieces of crown for an outside corner, ready to be installed.
Step IV: Cutting Inside Corners
The process for cutting inside corners is identical to cutting outside corners, except you’ll angle the cut in the opposite direction as the angle you cut for the outside corner.
Take the piece of molding for the right side of the miter joint and place it against the table and fence on the left-hand side of the saw. Set the saw 45 degrees to the left and make your cut.
To complete the miter joint, take the piece of molding for the left side of the joint and place it against the table and fence to the right of the saw. Set the saw 45 degrees to the right and cut.
Learning how to cut crown molding is one of the more intimidating finish carpentry tasks there is to know. Once you get the hang of it, it becomes like second nature, and you’ll be able to cut crown with ease. Follow the tips in this guide, and you should be confident in your ability to cut your crown for your own project.
Always remember, when you’re cutting crown, the bottom of the molding will be the side that’s on top, resting against the fence of the saw, while the top of the molding will be resting against the saw table. As long as you don’t forget that, you’ll be in good shape!
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