What Kind of Saw to Cut Crown Molding? [Advanced DIY Methods]

Woodworking is both a passion and a good way of getting more experience in different areas. Woodworking projects for beginners are gaining much popularity throughout the world. DIY projects can also turn one’s apartment or house into a home with some small, yet very efficient structures. Crown molding and the wood pieces that transition from wall to the ceiling can be difficult to cut without the proper tools. When thinking about what kind of saw to cut crown molding, there is only one answer: a compound miter saw.

What Kind of Saw to Cut Crown Molding: Some Helpful Tips

A compound miter saw gives the user the versatility, angles, finesse, and power required to make the precise type of cuts. With a stable board, an ample wood surface and some other accessories, anyone can give their rooms a nice homey touch. Let us continue by talking about what kind of saw to cut crown molding, what accessories are required to get a successful result, and other cutting tricks for the newbie DIY woodworker.


  • Take Precise Measurementswhat kind of saw to cut crown molding

Before talking about what kind of saw to cut crown molding, some basic steps need to be covered. The first step to every successful woodworking project is measurements. Firstly, you need to decide where the crown molding will be installed; then, measure every corner. Start by measuring the distance between each corner, regardless if it is an outside or inside angle.


  • Use a Square and a Protractor

A square is a tool that ensures if a wall is set at a perfect 90-degree angle. The square should fit the corner perpendicularly with ease while ensuring the walls meet at a perfect right angle. If the corner is slightly offset, then a protractor is required to come up with the exact measurements of the angle.

Make sure to get a protractor that is specifically designed to measure walls, not the kind used in math. Basically, after the exact angle has been measured, each cut should be made at half that value. For a 90-degree corner, the piece of crown molding should be cut at a 45-degree angle. If it is a 92-degree angle, then the cut should be made at a 46-degree angle. Pretty easy, right?

  • Pick Your Crown Molding

When it comes to picking the molding, there are more or less expensive choices. The crown jewel of molding is made of hardwood. As some of you might know, hardwood is more expensive since the wood it is not that available, but it holds paint beautifully and will add warmth and elegance to the room. While it is not in everyone’s budget, it is definitely the way to go. Oak and mahogany come to mind when thinking of top hardwood choices.

For more budget-oriented projects, softwood is a middle ground. Both aesthetically pleasant and easy to work with, softwood is more accessible due to the high stock of trees in this department. Likewise, pinewood is more comfortable to cut and sand, so the project will go even smoother than with hardwood.

inside corner details of crown molding

In addition to this, softwood allows more room for mistakes, which is a good thing to keep in mind if the worker is new to the trade and wants to have a little room for trial and error. They also stain well and still bring a lot of sturdiness to the table.

Last off, there is MDF, which stands for medium density fiberboard. This is basically recycled sawdust, and fine wood (both hard and soft) mixed in and kept together with resin and wax. A cheaper alternative to hard and softwood, this material is sturdy and maintains its shape when cut. However, this requires more experience when painting since a smooth surface won’t stain as well as other types of wood.

  • Other Accessories

Other accessories are required to install crown molding, so be smart and shop ahead. In addition to a corner and a protractor, some carpenter’s glue and a brad nailer will be the top two things required to install these cuts. A nailer is a great tool for different types of projects, so investing in one will open new dimensions towards other projects.

How to Cut Crown Molding with a Compound Miter Saw: The Basics

Crown molding has joints that are called compound because both sides have two angles namely: miter angle and bevel angle. With that said, a compound miter saw will be a perfect choice since you can use one single cut to create the two angles. Likewise, you can also cut wide moldings since you can lay them on a table and still use the saw without hassles. However, you must remember that the compound miter saw can only be tilted to the left side. Hence, for right angles, the molding should be placed in a reverse position.

Now that you have those in mind, here are the basic steps for cutting a crown molding:

  1. Make sure that you have you wear your safety goggles or glasses and face mask before starting.
  2. For compound miter saws that have preset angles for crown moldings, just set it as is to make cuts that have a 90-degree angle. If your saw does not have one, set the angle to 31.6 degrees by rotating the miter saw counter-clockwise or on the left side. After which, rotate the saw again to achieve a 33.9-degree bevel angle.
  3. Once done, position the molding flat on the saw table while making sure that its finished side is facing up. On the other hand, ensure that the edge of the molding that will be in contact with your ceiling once you install it is positioned against the saw’s fence.
  4. After which, you can now slide the molding to the blade’s right side. This is to achieve a right-hand piece cut that will be used for an outside corner. For a left-hand piece that will be used for an inside corner, just slide the crown molding to the blade’s left side.
  5. Hold the crown molding using your free hand and start cutting.

Final Thoughts

As with most things, practice is always important for you to achieve the perfect cut. You must also pick the right tools for the job and have plenty of patience. Additionally, make sure to use a finer blade, and not that all-purpose stuff because it will make sure that your pieces will fit perfectly together; provided that the angles were measured correctly.

Measurements are really the most important part of the job. So, be precise, make perfect markings, and use a perfectly-tuned saw. A light guide will definitely improve results, so make sure to invest in anything that will make accomplishing the project easier and faster. That being said, pick up some extra cheap wood to practice cuts and reach those perfect angles.

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