Tips for Cutting Crown Molding

Tips for Cutting Crown Molding

When it comes to sprucing up a home, many DIYers look to simple tasks: cleaning up the yard with a lightweight wheelbarrow, refinishing cabinets, etc. One thing that many may not consider is installing their own crown molding.

Installing crown molding can add a nice touch to any room, and it is a home DIY project that you can complete without having to invest a lot of money. Most DIYers are hesitant to install their own crown molding due to a lack of confidence in making corners and joints.

But, with just a little preparation, the right tools, and practice, practically anyone can install crown molding in their home, In this post, we are going to look at some tips that can help with measuring and making accurate cuts for crown molding.

Outside Corners

Your outside corners can be made by making two opposite miter cuts of 45 degrees on different pieces of crown molding. However, you need to make sure the corner is perfectly square. If not, you will need to remeasure the angle and adjust the cut to match.

An easy way to make this measurement is to take two pieces of scrap wood that are the same size and hold one on each of the walls that make the corner, with the two slightly overlapping each other. You can then mark lines on the piece that is held against the ceiling following the edges of the overlapping piece. After that, draw a diagonal line that connects the opposite corners of each mark.

Once you have your measurements, you can then take the pieces of scrap wood to the miter saw and stack them with the marked piece on top. Place one edge of the boards against the saw fence and move the blade to match the diagonal line. Cut through both pieces at the same time, which should make a perfect match for the angle of the outside corner.

Before making these cuts with your crown molding, double check that the scrap pieces fit properly in the corner.

If the cuts are a good fit, you can then place a piece of molding in the saw. You’ll want to mount the molding upside down to make sure the angle properly matches when it is hung. If you have the blade turned to the left, it means you are cutting off the piece for the left side of the corner. If you have the blade turned to the right, you are making the cut for the right side piece of the corner.

Once your first cut has been made, turn the blade to the opposite side and adjust the angle using the scrap pieces as a guide. Consider using an oscillating multi-tool to make these cuts, as it will provide the most accuracy and precision while being portable and compact.

Inside Corners

An inside corner is made by hanging a square-cut piece that butts up against the corner and then hanging another piece that is cut on an angle to fit in with the first piece. Once you have your first piece hung, you are going to want to use your miter saw to make a 45 degree cut on the opposite piece.

Just like with the cuts for your outside corners, you are going to want to place the molding upside down on the saw. If the angled piece is coming in from the left side, you are going to want to turn the blade to the right to make the cut. If it is coming from the right, you are going to want to angle it to the left for your 45-degree cut.

With your angled cut made, you are going to need to cope the edge to match the face of the piece that is already hanging. Mark the profile of the molding on the edge of the angled piece. Using your saw table to brace the workpiece as you cut, use a coping saw to gradually cut away at the line to match the profile.

Scarf Joints

If you have long walls, you might need to join two pieces of molding to complete the length of the wall. For walls that are longer than your pieces of crown molding, you can make some simple scarf joints to fit the pieces together.

If you are working clockwise, you need to make a 45-degree miter cut to the right. If you are working counterclockwise, you are going to want to turn the blade to the left. Place the crown molding on the saw between the vertical saw fence and the guide fence, and keep the piece you are hanging on the same side to which the blade is angled.

After you make the first cut, you can then leave the blade in the same position. When you make your cut for the second piece, just keep the side that is to be used on the opposite side of the blade.

Hang the first side of the scarf joint and apply a thin layer of glue to the part that is to be joined. Shift the second piece into place and match it to the first piece to create a tight joint. Nail the second piece up and wipe away the excess glue from the joint. Once the glue has dried, you can sand it smooth.


Rae is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing, of course. She is the editor at Worx

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