...Installing Crown Molding and Chair Rail


Old 08-28-07, 06:01 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 50
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Question ...Installing Crown Molding and Chair Rail

Crown Molding-
I am attempting a project i have never done before. I am installing 5 1/4 inch crown molding and i have a 12in compound miter saw. the room is rectangular and i will be cutting 4 inside approx. 90 degree corners. How do i place the crown molding on the saw as i have heard it can be very tricky. Some people say put it upside down in the miter saw? I am not sure i understand the upside down method. Can someone please provide step by step instructions or provide a good website or instrucitonal video.

Chair Rail
Also, I think I understand how to install the chair rail but when i come to a window or door way that has no casing, how do I cut the end of the chair rail and how do I cut an end cap piece to make it look clean?

Thank you for any input you may have.
Sponsored Links
Old 08-28-07, 09:06 AM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 2,268
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
There are a number of ways to cut crown molding - but the basic method is flat side down (relatively flat). The angles are not difficult once you get the hang of it - but it takes a few efforts to get the hang of it. I would suggest that your saw instruction manual probably has step by step instructions for cutting crowns..... you can probably find it online if you've lost it since your purchase.... for that matter, any instruction manual for a compound miter saw will probably have the information you need.
Old 08-28-07, 10:24 AM
XSleeper's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 25,497
Received 582 Votes on 535 Posts
Crown moulding:

Upside down and backwards means the base of your saw is like the ceiling... and the fence of the saw is like the wall. So you flip the crown upside down (fat side will be down, facing you) and hold it "in position" at the correct angle (which varies depending on the spring angle of trim you are using). Crown stops are nice, they prevent the crown from slipping down toward you... so you might see if crown stops are an accessory that is available for your saw. If not, you can also draw a line on your table to represent where the front of the crown should be when you cut it. This is probably the most critical thing when cutting crown "in position", because if the crown slips up or down it screws your angles up. Consistancy is the key.

IMO, cutting "in position" is much simpler and easier to visualize, as long as you can remember "upside down and backwards", which sometimes means standing on your head, but you get the hang of it after a while.

For more on crown moulding, look for old posts in the Trim forum (this topic comes up quite often) or see this recent post:


Chair moulding:

Where the chair mould needs to stop, cut it at a 45, then make a little cap on the end by cutting another 45 degree piece. It's like turning an outside corner, but the return piece looks like a triangle from above, and it's only as long as your trim is thick. It's best to cut these small return pieces first using a long piece of trim so as to keep your fingers away from the blade.
Old 08-28-07, 11:56 AM
ofairlane's Avatar
New Member
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Thomaston, CT
Posts: 63
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Smile crown molding

I just did crown moling in my living room. I am handy with all tools and crafts, but this was my first time working with crown molding. Yes, upside down and backwards is the best way. I practiced a few times, made some sample boards, labeled them ( inside right, outside right, etc) I kept them with the saw and placed them next to the blade at each cut to make sure I was doing the right cut.
It seems confusing having the boards backwards and upside down but it works better than any other way, the fence is the wall and the saw base is the ceiling.
Try it a few times to get the hang of it and make sure you have extra wood.

Old 08-28-07, 02:27 PM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 39,967
Received 5 Votes on 5 Posts
If you have a 12" compound saw, the detents on the bevel and the angle are already there for you to use. Look on the angle and you will see one about 31 degrees with a positive stop. Set it there. On the bevel, release the nut on the back of the saw and there is a pin that is spring loaded that will stop the saw at the proper angle, somewhere around 36 degrees. Lay your stock flat on the saw bottom toward you and cut it.
As far as the chair rail, if it ends into colonial or thick window casing all is well, but if it ends on a narrower piece, bevel the end to the thickness of the abutting piece. Sometimes you are only taking off 1/8", but it looks so much better.
Old 08-29-07, 11:54 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 50
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Question Crown Molding - Backwards/upside down?

I understand what backwards/upside down means, but why does that have to be done. My crown molding appears that there is going to be the exact same amount of wood on the ceiling as is the wall. Can someone please explain in detail of why backwards/upside down!!!!!!!!!!!!

***Moderator's note: New thread created
w/this same post has been deleted***

Last edited by DIYaddict; 08-29-07 at 12:05 PM. Reason: See note in post
Old 08-29-07, 01:00 PM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Where the cows roam, CA
Posts: 2,204
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
B/C you will have more wood on the ceiling than on the wall for outside corners and vice versa for inside corners. It shouldn't be the same. It's installed at an angle, not flat against the wall or ceiling.

Once you do it, I'm sure you'll be saying, "oooooh..."
Old 08-29-07, 01:58 PM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 39,967
Received 5 Votes on 5 Posts
If you don't want to use the detents on your saw, you will have to use the upside down and backwards method. Installing crown is the opposite of installing base. Installing base, your saw is sitting in the same position with the floor under you. Installing crown, your saw is still sitting on the floor, but should be sitting on the ceiling to get your brain to reconcile the difference. Therefore, rather than bolting your saw to the ceiling, the crown is placed in the saw upside down and backwards to replicate its eventual positioning on the ceiling. Using the detents allows you to lay the crown flat on your saw bed, and forget the upside down and sideways stuff.
Old 09-05-07, 08:57 AM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 1
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
crown moulding (how i do it)

If you want to cut crown moulding 'flat' with a compound mitre saw:

First off i'd get yourself an angle measuring tool. I got mine at home depot or lowes... it's kind of a funny looking thing with a scissor-type action which allows you to measure inside or outside angles. I think it was $5 or $6.

I've found that the best results come from careful angle measuring and trial and error.

Go to Dewalt's website and to compound mitre saws... poke around there.. somewhere in there they have a guide (chart) for cutting crown moulding. Make sure to print it off to reference as you work.

You use the guide by measuring the angles your walls meet at and referencing that angle for the left hand and right hand cuts (when you're looking at the corner, the left piece of crown moulding and the right... obvious?) bevel and mitre setting.

The guide tells you when to put the moulding right side up or upside down on the saw (the detail is usually at the bottom).

I usually buy an extra 8' or so of moulding to do practice cuts on. you may need more or less depending on how many corners you have.

then, one corner at a time, I calculate the angles from the chart, set up the saw and cut the left & right hand sides from short pieces of my scrap/practice moulding. then I check the moulding's fit in the corner and make adjustments until i know i have it. . . then i make the actual cut on the piece of moulding i'm going to use.

Use extra care when your pieces are cut and you go to nail them up that you get the moulding seated correctly against the ceiling and wall. You'll know you have it when there's no shadow against the moulding and the ceiling and against the moulding and the wall (by shadow, i mean a slight gap which causes a shadow and indicates that the moulding isn't seated at the correct angle).

I usually have to use a few very small pieces of shim to work the corner seams until they're perfect. I usually do this after i nail up the pieces. Take your time and get the corners perfect. Then trim the shims with a util. knife and push them in under the moulding just slightly so you can caulk over them.

I'm usually not satisfied until the seam is almost invisible. giving in too early and thinking that caulk will fill the gap and still look nice usually ends in a poorly finished corner.

When you go to caulk, take your time and use some improvised tools to get nit-picky and clean up the caulk from moulding details (toothpicks, small scrapers, etc.) Unless you are a great caulker (i'm not) the extra time spent will really produce a clean finished joint that'll paint up nicely.

the guide from dewalt has really worked great for me. at times it nails the cuts on the first try and i'm able to knock out a room fairly quickly (and accurately!)

You can use the indents on the saw, but those are set for a perfect 90 degree corner and i think you'll probably find a variation in angle from just below 90 to just above depending on how old your house is or how well built. better to measure angles IMHO. hope that helps!
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Your question will be posted in: