Crown molding corners present one of carpentrys more trying aspects. We all want them to fit perfectly in order to show off to their very best the interesting curves and planes for which you bought them. As we all know, the trick lies in making those aggravating, time consuming angled cuts that can be the bane of an otherwise adequate weekend carpentry warrior.
The Problem With Pre-Cuts
You can buy pre-cut crown molding corners from a number of online sources as well as at many home improvement stores and lumberyards. The problem with pre-cut corners, however, is that they are all created based on the 90-degree angles (45-degrees on one side and another 45-degrees on the other) that, by all practical logic, walls should be built to conform.
But because all homebuilders are human, not all walls meet at exact, 90-degree angles. Sometimes, well, actually, many times, the angles in the corners of walls will be varying degrees. One side may be 43 degrees and the other side 47 degrees. This means that each and every corner of a room needs to have its own molding specially measured and cut to fit.
Handsaw and Miter Box vs. Power Miter Saw
Some carpenters swear by the use of a simple handsaw and a miter box to make crown molding corners. But some pros counter that the slots in miter boxes allow for too much play in them, the handsaw you use may not be as sharp as needed to make good, clean cuts, and your arm may not possess the strength and stability to make even a good handsaw work properly. This is where many professional carpenters strongly advise the use of a power miter saw. Although expensive, power miter saws are the only way to overcome the above-mentioned obstacles in making tightly fitting corners for molding.
The Coping Saw Method
Still other experts in the carpentry field say that even power miter saws do not do a good enough job to make the best-fitting crown molding corners. These pros insist that the only way to get exactly what you need, especially for inside corners, is to use a coping saw to cut out the pieces of molding to fit just right.
Although tedious and time consuming, with a coping saw, you can cut out the exact fit by first marking with a pencil on the trim backside a template of the molding profile using a scrap piece. Then by cutting around your marks, you have an exact replica of the molding profile that you can then angle-cut to fit.
Whichever method you use, if you have not cut crown molding corners before, you are sure to make a few mistakes. Make sure you have purchased a few extra lengths of the molding just for this eventuality. Keep in mind, though, that no one ever learned anything without making mistakes, so if you are determined to figure out how to cut molding corners, your best bet is to simply keep on trying until you get it right. And if all else fails you can always hire a carpenter!