Step 15: Cut a Scarf Joint

applying glue to a scarf joint to attach to three-piece crown molding
Photo: Wendell T. Webber
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On long runs that require two lengths of molding, an angled scarf joint minimizes the seam between the pieces. For a tight fit, adjust your layout so that the joint will land just past a stud or joist, or on a backing block. Cut the ends of the molding at parallel 30-degree angles. The first piece to be installed should have an open miter with a longer back side and a shorter face, as shown. Position the piece with the open miter on the wall and nail it in place to the framing, but don’t add nails within a few inches of the scarf cut for now. Apply glue to the cut end.
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    Tools List

    • studfinder
      stud finder
    • chalk line
      chalk line
    • miter saw
      miter saw
    • coping saw
      coping saw
    • drill
      drill/driver
    • 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
      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