cutting the crown molding for three-piece crown molding
Photo: Wendell T. Webber

Step 8: Cut the Crown Molding

Map the molding's installation, marking a miter, cope, or square cut at the end of each run. An inside corner is formed from a coped end abutting the face of a square-cut piece that dead-ends in the corner of the room. For a tight fit, avoid runs with two coped cuts. (An outside corner is formed from two mitered ends; you'll make those cuts in Step 14.) See this illustration for common crown molding cuts and joints. Learn how to cut molding for an inside corner. Then watch a video of Tom Silva using different kinds of saws to make miter cuts.
Before making cuts, hot-glue a horizontal fence to your saw deck to help the molding stay in place. (Learn how to make a guide fence.) To prepare the end of a molding for coping, you’ll give it an open-miter cut to expose the profile's face. When using a regular miter saw, always position the molding upside down on the saw so that the miter cuts will be backward.
When you're done cutting the upper molding, pull off the horizontal fence and secure a new one to the saw for the lower molding to account for its different profile.

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    Tools List

    • studfinder
      stud finder
    • chalk line
      chalk line
    • miter saw
      miter saw
    • coping saw
      coping saw
    • drill
    • brad nailer
      nail gun
    • hot glue gun
      hot-glue gun
    • hand clamps
      spring clamps
    • caulk gun
      caulk gun
    • sandpaper
      fine-grit sanding sponge
    • chisel-tip paintbrush

    Shopping List

    Primed crown molding. Select a larger profile for the upper run and a smaller one for the lower run. To calculate how much to buy, round the length of each wall to the nearest foot and add the lengths together. Get tips on sizing crown molding to suit your space

    Primed fascia board with a decorative profile on one edge.

    Primed 1x6 soffit board

    2x2 for cleats on the walls and ceiling, to which the half beams will be attached.1x1 for the nailing strip that will help you join the soffit and fascia boards.

    2x4 to rip at an angle for making backing blocks for the gable ends of the room.

    Painter's tape

    1¼-inch and 3-inch screws

    1¼-inch and 2-inch finishing nails

    Toggle anchors

    Paintable caulk

    Semigloss paint