How to Cut Crown Molding With a Dewalt Miter Saw

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Cutting the proper angles before installing crown molding can be one of the most frustrating, yet rewarding tasks in carpentry. Properly installed crown molding provides character and elegance to a room, but improperly installed molding can look cheap and unimpressive. The trick to proper installation is to accurately cut the angles at the proper length. It helps to cut crown molding with a DeWalt (or other brand) miter saw, because the angles can be set accurately and cut evenly.

Things You'll Need

  • Crown molding
  • Adjustable protractor
  • DeWalt miter saw
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Pneumatic finish nailer
  • Measure the length of one wall to receive the crown molding with a tape measure. Write down this measurement on some paper or a scrap piece of wood.

  • Measure the angle on each end of this wall with an adjustable protractor. Write down the number of degrees for each angle, and whether the angle is an inside angle (less than 180 degrees) or an outside angle (greater than 180 degrees).

  • Place a piece of crown molding on the miter saw table. Tilt the crown molding so that what will be the top of the molding (when installed) is resting on the table, and the bottom of the molding is resting on the fence. The angle at which you tilt the molding should be equal to the angle at which the molding will be installed. To verify this angle, the angled "top" of the molding should rest flat on the table, and the angled "bottom" of the molding should rest flat against the fence.

  • Set the saw's miter angle to a setting of exactly 1/2 of one of the two angles. If the first angle to be cut is an inside angle, then rotate the saw to the proper angle to the left of center. If the angle to be cut is an outside angle, then rotate the saw to the right of center. For example, if your angle measurement is a 90-degree outside angle, set the saw to 45-degrees right of center. If the angle measurement is a 60-degree inside angle, set the saw to 30-degrees to the left of center.

  • Cut the end off of the crown molding, in just far enough from the end that the entire cut can be completed without the blade engaging the end of the board. This will ensure a straight, even angle.

  • Measure the length to be cut. If the first cut is for an inside corner, the bottom of the molding (against the fence) will be longer than the top and should be measured from that point. If the first cut was for an outside corner, then the top of the molding (against the saw's table) will be the point from which to measure. Mark the length of the wall on the crown molding with a pencil.

  • Set up the saw to make the second cut, using half of the angle you measured for this corner in step 2. Remember that for an outside corner, the miter angle will be to the right of center, and for an inside angle, to the left. Check the tilt of the board on the saw, and cut the second angle.

  • Tack the crown molding in place against the wall and ceiling using a pneumatic finish nailer. Notice that the bottom point of the molding on each end should line up exactly with the middle of the corner on the wall.

  • Repeat the steps with each subsequent wall section, working your way around the room until you complete the installation.

Tips & Warnings

  • Using a compound miter saw, with the crown molding set flat on the table and the saw set to both a bevel angle and a miter angle, is certainly a viable option, but a far more complicated one. It is very easy to make mistakes when working with a pair of angle measurements for each cut.
  • When working with power tools, always wear appropriate safety equipment, including safety glasses.

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