The first time I tried to install crown moldings I gave up! Cutting the corners drove me crazy for a full day. Working with a miter box and a regular saw was not easy. A good reminder of that lost battle are the corners I had to install in the small powder room.
Before trying one more time I bought a miter saw, a cheap $99 miter saw I could afford, hoping that all the troubles I had before will disappear with this baby.
Making straight cuts was a breeze, outside corners were OK, inside corners were a nightmare! One of the hardest parts was trying to hold the long pieces of molding in place when I didn't have help.
The perfect solution was to build a jig or cradle to hold the molding in place. Three pieces of wood were put together, the vertical surface represents the wall, the horizontal surface represents the ceiling, and one extra movable (you can change its position depending on the material you're using) stopper.
This cradle is attached to the saw's fence and it will aloud you to cut moldings upside down.
Two extra supports to each side of the cradle are necessary to keep it in place.
A set of outside and inside marked corner samples its good to have as a quick reference.
For outside corners marking the long point will give you the most accurate measurement. You trace the top edge of a scrap of crown onto the ceiling on both sides of the corner, the intersection of the two lines is your measuring point.
Cutting an Outside Right Corner
Cutting an Outside Left Corner
You'll end up with this:
For inside corners I prefer to cope crown molding. You can do miter cuts but they usually open after some time.
Cutting an Inside Left Corner to be coped.
Coping Inside Corners
You coped a molding or shaped it to match the profile of the one next to it. In my case the piece of molding in the inside right corner is cut square and butts tight to the wall. The inside left cut (above) is going to leave you with this:
That piece needs to be coped. Begin by marking the edge of the cut with a pencil, which defines the profile.
Use a coping saw to cut along the profile line, back-cutting past 90 degrees, making sure the pieces of molding intersect along the profile line only.
Cutting in different directions its easier. Using a rasp you can fine tune the cope at the end.
As I told you before, the right side of the inside corner is left square or butt. The left side of the inside corner is coped to fit snugly alongside.
Cutting crown moldings is not that big deal anymore. I already installed it on my daughter's bedroom, the kitchen cabinets, and up the fireplace, but there are still lots of rooms in my house that would benefit of this great way to give architectural interest to any space.
I hope the pictures can help you on your next crown project.
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