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How To Cut And Install Crown Molding And Trim

Construction How-To, Finish Carpentry, Molding, Trim Carpentry April 18, 2006 Sonia

In this example (Fig. 22), you can see that to align the blade parallel to the bevel cut on the template, the miter should be moved clockwise, the blade should be tilted to the left, the crown molding should be on the left side of the saw blade with the bottom of the crown molding template next to the fence.

Once you have determined the correct placement and direction of you miter and blade tilt, set you saw using the miter and blade tilt setting obtained from Table 2 for the spring angle crown you have and the corner angle you want to cut. Remove your template and place your crown in the same position and make the perfect cut.For the mating cut, use the template labeled the same (Horiz. Turn, Inside Corner) except it will be the RH side. You will use the other templates in the same manner for all of your remaining cuts.

Crown Molding on Cathedral Ceilings using a Compound Miter Saw

We have previously covered most of the details on installing crown on a sloped ceiling in the section for sloped ceilings using a miter saw (no blade tilt). The only difference here is that you will be cutting your crown molding laying flat on your compound miter saw and using Table 2 to get your saw settings. The best/easiest way to cut your crown is to lay it flat and face up, especially when cutting the small pieces that are often needed. To avoid confusion on how to set up for the type of cut you want to make, use your crown molding templates as a guide.


We will now address how to cut and install trim which is placed flat on the wall using either a miter saw (no blade tilt) or a compound miter saw. This type of trim includes baseboards, chair rails, quarter and half-round trim, cove molding, corner molding, fireplace trim, and door and window casings. You will use Table 1 to obtain your saw settings and your 360-degree adjustable protractor to measure the corner angle (Fig. 23).

To make a horizontal turn with trim using a miter saw (no blade tilt), you will stand the trim up with the back of the trim against the fence (Fig 24) and adjust the miter to the setting from Table 1.

With the miter rotated clockwise (CW) and the trim to the left of the blade, you get a horizontal turn, inside corner, LH cut. With the same saw setting with the trim to the right of the blade, you get a horizontal turn, outside corner, RH cut. Now move the miter counterclockwise (CCW) to the opposite side of your saw.

The trim to the left of the blade will be a horizontal turn, outside corner, LH cut and the trim to the right of the blade will be a horizontal, inside corner, RH cut.

If you have any trouble visualizing the proper cut, then you should make a set of trim templates for horizontal turns and vertical turns (inside and outside corners) and label them as shown in Fig 25 & 26. To make your trim templates, use a miter setting of 45 degrees.

To make a set of vertical turn trim templates, you will lay the trim flat on the saw table with the top of the trim next to the fence. Adjust the miter CW and CCW, cut and label the vertical turn trim templates as shown in Fig 26.

You can use your trim templates for either a miter saw or a compound miter saw to determine the setup and trim placement. Measure your corner angle and obtain your saw setting from Table 1.

Occasionally, you may run into some conditions that are not covered in the article. For example, when dealing with an outside corner in a room with a sloped ceiling, a combination horizontal and vertical turn will not work. What you will have to do for these corners is turn the crown in the plane of the ceiling as shown in Fig 27.

*molding is also spelled moulding.


For more information, contact Wayne Drake, author of the book,Crown Molding & Trim: Install it Like a PRO!, or call 1-866-544-2016.

Check Out More EHT Crown Moulding Stories:

For a Look at How to Install Basic Crown Molding, click here.

For 13 Pro Tips for Crown Molding and Trim, click here.

For a Look at All Types of Molding, from Crown to Base and even Elaborate Built-up Profiles, click here.

For a step-by-step guide to installing PVC crown, click here.