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How to Cut Beautiful Outside Corner Molding?

Have you ever wished that you could have beautifully installed corner molding in your home without having to pay for hiring a professional? Of course, the best solution would be to do it yourself. Crown molding can be intimidating, since walls are often  not flat and nailing is not easy. By using the correct tools and methods, however, you can save a lot of money by installing your own crown molding in your spare time. Here we'll show you how to easily install a beautiful molding into the outside corners of your walls.

Part 1: Preparation

There are indispensable tools for this project:

Part 2: Method

Step 1: Measure the Outside Corner

The protractor should be used in this step. An adjustable protractor would help to measure the actual angle of the outside corner properly.

  • Place the right side of the protractor against one wall forming the corning. Open up the left side of the protractor, extending it all the way open until it is perfectly flat against the wall on the other side of the corner.
  • Note that the protractor should be parallel to the ceiling and floor at this point.
  • Most corners will be roughly 90 degrees or only an angle or so off that mark, but for the sake of accuracy, it is important that you find out the precise measurement before proceeding.

Step 2: Cut the Molding:

After you have the figure, now cut the molding according to what you have just measured. Be careful that outside wall corners are seldom perfectly square, so simply cutting both crown pieces to 45 degrees usually won't cause them to meet tightly at the corner. To create perfect-looking corner molding:

  • Hold two overlapping 20-inch-long 1 x 4s against the ceiling at the corner and trace both edges of the bottom board onto the top board.
  • Draw a diagonal line to connect the two marks.
  • Stack the 1 x 4s on the miter-saw table, adjust the saw blade angle to match the diagonal line and cut the 1 x 4s
  • Test-fit the 1 x 4s by holding them against the outside corner and checking the seam. If their edges don't make tight, even contact, adjust the saw for a second cut.
  • When the 1 x 4s fit on the wall, lock the saw-blade angle and make a cut into one of the lengths of crown.
  • Adjust the saw to make an opposing miter cut at the same angle into the end of the mating piece of crown.

Step 3: Apply Masking Tape to the Wall

Masking tape helps you to have a more exact connection of the two sides of the molding into the wall. Run masking tape around the walls and ceiling so that about 1/2 inch of the tape will be covered by the rail trim.

Here’s an easier method:

  • Stick bands of 2-in.-wide masking tape to the walls and ceiling. Masking tape can pull off paint, so use an easy-release tape. If you plan to paint the walls or ceiling, wait a couple of weeks before you apply the tape. (If your walls or ceiling is heavily textured, this method won't work because the tape won't stick well.)
  • Snap chalk lines and mark framing locations on the tape.
  • Install the trim over the tape and leave the tape in place to protect the walls and ceiling when you paint or finish the trim.
  • When the finishing is done, cut and remove the exposed tape, leaving the covered tape in place permanently.
  • Use a sharp knife blade and apply just enough pressure to slice through the tape.

Step 4: Test-fit the Coped Angle

Position a piece of crown molding with a flat edge flush against one side of the corner. Glide your cut piece of molding over this unaltered piece, lining them up as evenly as possible.

If you're lucky, the two pieces will fit together perfectly on your first try. Usually, though, you will need to make a few more adjustments before you get a perfect fit without any gaps.

When you cope a joint, you scribe the end of one molding to the face of the other. Darken the front edge with a pencil and then use the coping saw to cut as close to the line as you can. You need to hold your thumb against the side of the blade to guide the start of your cut. Start slowly, so you don’t splinter the delicate edge. Cut at a slight angle. You want to cut off more from the edge of the molding and you don’t need to cut it all at one time. Cut out small pieces to make creating this coped joint easier.

Step 5: Address Trouble Spots.

Mark any trouble spots of excess material lightly with a pencil. Use a rat-tail wood file or 100-grit sandpaper to shave off this extra wood. If the joint is close to fitting and the gaps are very small, the sandpaper should be enough.

Step 6: Fit the Two Pieces Together before Attaching them into the Wall.

Put the two pieces of molding together into the corner. Nail in the first, then the second, make  sure that they fit together evenly before doing so.

Once the fit is right, take the molding to the wall. For a long piece, you’ll need some help holding it. Push the end into the corner, making the fit as tight as possible; attach it to the wall. Use the caulk gun to cover up any gaps in the joint (make sure you’re using paintable caulk). You may need another small piece of molding to finish out the wall.

Part 3: Notice

There are some important things to keep in mind when cutting crown molding:

  • The bottom of the crown molding will always be more detailed than the top. Any time you make a cut, always make sure the top is down and the bottom is up. Always.
  • The fence (vertical) of the miter saw should be thought of as the wall of your room, and the table of the miter saw is considered the ceiling of your room.
  • Every time you cut a miter, you will set the crown upside down against the saw's fence. It is easy to get confused and cut the angle backward. To avoid mishaps, hold the molding up to the corner and draw a slash showing the direction of the cut.

P. S.: For best results, remember that you must cut the corners upside down!

We hope that the above instructions help you in cutting appealing and attractive outside corners, be it bed or crown molding. If you follow the instructions, the entire job shall be a piece of cake for you.

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