Crown moldings are best made with a compound miter saw.
The difference between a miter saw and a compound one is that the former pivots on only one axis which is a left to right horizontal pivot to cut angles on a single plane.
On the other hand, the latter has another pivot axis that enables the head of the saw to tilt vertically from left to right for compound angle cuts.
These two angles are called the miter angle and the bevel angle.
It gives you a helpful advantage that it’s very accurate and flexible.
Cutting Crown Molding
The joints found on a crown molding are labeled “compound” because the cuts on every side have two angles: the miter angle and the bevel angle. To make it crystal clear, the miter angle is the green 32 degrees and the bevel angle is the blue 34 degrees.
This is where the compound miter saw becomes beneficial as it enables you to cut the bevel with the tilting of the saw and enables you to cut the miter with the rotation to the left or to the right.
This means you can make both angles with a single cut.
In addition, it also enables you to lay the molding flat on the saw table which is especially helpful with wide molding.
How to Cut Crown Molding Step-by Step
Prepare all the tools you’ll need for cutting a crown molding.
These tools should include the miter saw, the molding, a dust mask, and a pair of safety glasses.
And Most importantly, you have to pick the right miter saw blade for crown molding.
After wearing the safety glasses and dust make, check the present angle on the saw and make sure it’s a 90-degree one.
Typically, you’ll find preset angles for crown moldings.
However, if your saw is a manual one or if there’s no present angle, you can adjust the rotation of the miter saw on the left side or anti-clockwise and set the angle at 31.6 degrees.
Then, rotate the saw again and adjust the bevel angle at 33.9 degrees.
Place your molding on a saw table so that it’s secured in place.
If you don’t have a saw table, a flat surface would do.
Make sure that the side of the molding that you’ve finished is facing up.
Then, slide the molding to the right side of the blade to cut a piece at right hand for an outside corner of the crown.
You can hold the molding using clamps or simply with your hands and then start cutting.
Slide the molding to the left side and repeat the same process for cutting a left handpiece for an inside corner.
To cut the left and right inside corners, adjust the molding upright and rotate the saw so that the miter angle is set at 31.6 degrees and the bevel angle is set at 33.9 degrees.
After that, make your cut in the same manner you did before.
This short video will let you know how to cut inside and outside corner cuts easily to so you know how to do it perfectly.
Extra Tips and Safety Measures
- It’s worth mentioning to keep in mind that the compound miter saw tilts to the left and cannot be tilted to the right. This means that if you have to cut at a right angle, you’ll have to put the molding in the reverse direction to make any cuts on that side, or you can just buy a double bevel miter saw.
- Don’t forget that different kinds of crown molding require different angles of a miter saw, so make sure that the miter and bevel angles are always set according to the requirements before you start using it.
- Thoroughly read the instructions manual before you operate any compound miter saw –or any saw for the matter-. Understand how the jaws function as it’s very important when it comes to avoiding injuries and mishaps.
- Practice on scrap pieces of molding a few times before you get to the actual cutting so that you learn how to do it precisely and at accurate angles.
- When you’re cutting from an inside to an outside corner, start with the inside one first as it’s easier to attach a tape measure to the end of the cut to mark where your next should be.
- When you’re measuring between two short points (like from an outside corner to another) you can use one of two tricks:
1. Burn an inch and subtract from the measurement
2. Clamp a speed square to the crown molding that’s aligned with the short point and attach a speed square with your tape
- Never work without having your safety glasses and dust mask on. Injuries caused by miter saws can be very dangerous and life-threatening.
- Using ear plugs is a good idea as well because it keeps your ear safe from the high noise produced by the saw.