How To Cut Crown Molding Using A Miter Saw

Last Updated on August 28, 2022 by James Thomas

You’ve purchased a miter saw, and are now looking for fulfilling projects to undertake with your new addition to the family.

Or perhaps you’ve had your miter saw sitting away for some time, and it’s ready to dust off for those home renovations you’ve been putting off for a while.

Crown molding are the boards that run between both the wall and the ceiling, giving the ceiling an elegant look, a finished touch to a newly constructed room.

If time isn’t on your side, feel free to read our quick overview of the main points covered in the list below.

  • Recognizing your cuts are important, become familiar with how to make miter and bevel cuts
  • Practice on scrap pieces before attempting cutting crown molding to prevent yourself from making mistakes
  • Inside and outside corner cuts, plus square cuts are the most common cuts made to create crown molding

Whichever reason you’ve bought a miter saw for, there’s one project that is incredibly popular to carry out with a miter saw, and that’s the cutting/trimming of crown molding. So, what exactly is crown molding?

How to cut a crown with a miter saw

Crown Molding & The Cuts You Need To Know

When it comes to cutting crown molding, there are many cuts you need to be aware of – otherwise you won’t have the quality finish you’re looking for. It can be quite a daunting task as you look to learn how to cut crown molding effectively, however this is what this guide is for.

We’ll be looking into the standard cuts you’ll need to be aware of (and hopefully have a good understanding of if you’re quite experienced), as well as the important cuts for crown molding itself.

Let’s get into it, shall we?

Cuts Needed For Cutting Crown Molding

When you first purchased your miter saw, you would’ve become quite familiar with the cuts needed in order to finalize different projects, pending on the job at hand.

Crown molding is no different, and it’s best to head back to basics in order to have a complete understanding of what you’re doing – and it’s never too bad to refresh your memory.

We’ll start with the cuts you’ll need to understand before attempting any cuts for your crown molding. I would definitely recommend practising on some spare wood pieces you may have lying around, before starting on your actual stock.

Miter Cut

This is the cut the miter saw excels at – who would’ve guessed? A miter cut is simple enough, and is an angled cut across the face of the wood. Think of a miter cut as a cut that isn’t cut along the width at 90°.

Miter cuts are incredibly important for making corners, which are known as miter joints. This sees two pieces of wood cut at 45°, and together make a smooth corner, a vital aspect with crown molding.

Bevel Cut

A bevel cut is cut at any angle but 90°, and is cut through the thickness of the wood. The blade of your miter saw needs to be adjusted to the appropriate angle for these cuts, as they’re cut to the edge of the wood.

For these type of cuts, it’s best to cut through the vertical plane of the wood, as this changes the angle of the board edge when the cut is made.

Cutting Crown Molding: How To Do It

Now we’re into the part you’re waiting for – how exactly to cut crown molding, and a guide on how to do so.

As you’ll be working with crown molding made for differently sized rooms and angles, we’ve covered the best methods for cutting crown molding using a miter saw – so all your bases are covered when doing so.

We’re going to skip the measurements of your walls, as everyones’ rooms are different – and you’d have already done this prior to cutting. Remember to wear the necessary equipment and be aware of the normal safety precautions when using your miter saw.

We recommend cutting any crown molding upside down when you’re using your miter saw. This is due to the nature of the molding, as these have flat edges when they’re attached to the wall and/or ceiling. So it’s important they’re flat for a smooth fit.

Inside Corner

Whether you’re cutting from the left or right side for this piece of crown molding, the angle must at 45°. If you’re working on the left side of the wall, you’ll need to turn the miter saw blade to this 45° angle to the right, as this will save the right end of the cut.

What if you’re working for the right side of a wall? It’s the same concept, however you’ll be pivoting the blade to the left, saving the left end of the cut.

I recommend following the below method when cutting crown molding for an inside corner, which comprises of both a miter and bevel cut.

  • 1) For the bevel cut, a recommended angle is 33.85°, with a tilt to the left. With your miter cut, this is best set to the right at 31.62°. 
  • 2) Next, it’s as simple as making your cut, saving the left side, as this is what you’ll use for the left side.
  • 3) Your next step is to flip the crown molding, so the bottom is now facing the top, however it’s still flat upon your table.
  • 4) You can keep the angles on the same degrees, however now you’ll be making a cut on the opposite side. It’s relatively simple, you’ll be following the steps 1 and 2, in the opposite direction.

When making the cut, this’ll still be made to cut when saving the left – as this piece will be used on the right side of the inside corner.

Outside Corner

This method on cutting crown molding is primarily for a room that has more than just four corners, so an outside cut needs to be made. As we did with the inside corner, we’ll go through step by step on how to make outside corner crown molding cuts.

  • Step 1) The bottom of the crown molding must be placed away from you, as you make the cut. This is similar to inside corner cuts, with the bevel cut to be set to 33.85°, and the miter cut to the left, at 31.62°.
  • Step 2) You can now make the cut, saving the right end of the cut that you’ll be using on the outside corner to the left.
  • Step 3) Next, you’ll need to flip the crown molding, so that the top of the molding is away from you. Follow the same degrees adjustments, with your miter cut to the right instead of the left.
  • Step 4) Follow step 2 and make the cut as per normal, saving the right end of the cut. This is because you’ll be using this piece for on the right of the outside corner.

Square Cut

The square cut is the most simple of cuts, and this cut is made to fit that crown molding against the wall in a corner, so it sits true.

Set your miter saw to 0° – while this may seem obvious, it’s important to set to 0°, especially if you’ve been adjusting angles previously with alternative cuts.

As you can see, it’s a relatively simple cut to make, and is especially important when crown molding corner blocks. Crown molding corner blocks are often used as a replacement to making miter cuts – which can prove difficult and tricky for some workers.

This is why it’s important to use scrap pieces of wood when you’re trialling out these cuts, so you’re not wasting precious boards.

Practice makes perfect, doesn’t it?

The Final Say

It can be confronting when you’re first learning how to cut crown molding, however it’s as simple as knowing your angles and cuts made, as well as perfect measurements of the room and ceiling of the room you’re working in.

These are just three of the most common cuts you’ll make, as well as the methods on how to do so, and there are plenty of alternative ways in which you can cut crown molding.

If you’re a beginner, these are the best to follow. However, if you’ve cut your fair share of crown molding, I’d love for you to share some tips with our fellow readers in the comment section below.

Happy cutting!

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to cut crown molding? 

This depends on the size of the project and rooms you’re working within, as well as your experience. In saying this, cutting crown molding is something woodworkers of all experience levels can attempt and do successfully.

Typically, you can spend anywhere between 2 to 4 hours with the project as a whole, yet it’s best to work at the pace suited for you, and to use scrap pieces as a practice session – especially if you haven’t attempted this before.

The best advice is to remain patient when cutting.

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James Thomas

Hi, I’m James. I created The Tool Square to help as many understand and know how to use Table Saws, and many other tool-related products.

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