Crowning Achievement

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Project by Bob A in NJ posted 07-28-2010 02:47 PM 2842 views 26 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch


I’m in progress of doing a crown molding project for an entire house. Cutting miters is one thing, cutting “upside down and backwards” on a miter box can get confusing. The “sample board” above helps to “see” the cut before you make it.

1) The top row is how the wood looks on the wall and ceiling.

2) The bottom row is what it looks like on the miter box.

For those of us who find this intimidating or confusing, here are some tips to remember.

There are only 4 types of cuts.

Outside -Left
Outside Right

The sample board helps you remember how to orient the crown on the saw and which side of the board you SAVE. For example, with a Outside Left cut, save or keep the piece to the RIGHT of the cut.

This is 3” crown. I like to add a 3/4” x 1 1/2” clear pine nailer to the crown molding. This is glued and stapled together with 23 gauge 3/4” nails, then clamped. The wood nailer makes the crown molding wider and more attractive as well as gives much more nailing space. I paint all crown prior to nailing it to the wall.

Use a 18 gauge nail gun with 2 1/2” nails vs. “hammer and nails” to attach to the wall. (This is tricky enough without messing with a hammer).

There is another tip I just learned. Use a 1/2” x 1 1/2” x 30” plywood nailer board behind the crown. Staple it to the corner of the wall & ceiling and then place the crown molding up against it. This creates plenty of nailing space, especially on the scarf joints where you place pieces end to end.

I’m not doing any coping on this project. Just measuring the joints, bisecting them with a “True Angle” gauge and it’s working fine.

The web is filled with videos on how to do crown molding and there seems to be a huge debate about using miters or coping method. What is your opinion?

Bob 7/28/2010

-- Bob A in NJ

12 comments so far

View brunob's profile


2277 posts in 4312 days

#1 posted 07-28-2010 03:25 PM

Some really great tips here. I’ve struggled with crown moldings. Thanks for posting.

-- Bruce from Central New, if you'll pardon me, I have some sawdust to make.

View CaptainSkully's profile


1601 posts in 3701 days

#2 posted 07-28-2010 03:28 PM

Very smart Bob! I just did my first crown in over a decade last year and it was confusing at first. I like your “cheat sheet”. As for your question, the good news is that coping is only an issue on inside corners. I only cope when the trim will be visible wood, so the joint sucks up nice and tight. For painted trim, it’s much faster and easier to just miter the cuts and use paintable caulk. I usually buy pre-primed trim and paint it on sawhorses, then install it. That way you only have to touch up dings, joints and nail holes. I set my nail gun pressure to drive the finish nails just under the surface. I also caulk where the trim meets the wall and repaint the wall as needed (I paint the walls first just short of the ceiling and floor). This gives a professional look for a DIYer. I’m actually writing this while sitting in my mother-in-law’s kitchen that I just trimmed out.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3258 days

#3 posted 07-28-2010 03:36 PM

thank´s for the tip Bob


View Bradford's profile


1434 posts in 3965 days

#4 posted 07-28-2010 04:07 PM

This is a very helpful project dealing with crown. I just finished my last job and post in early July. I wish I had seen this first. We had a hard time dealing with out of square walls. None of us had ever done it before. Thanks for the post. I’ll be bookmarking this page. Thanks.

-- so much wood, so little time. Bradford. Wood-a-holics unanimous president

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6864 posts in 4122 days

#5 posted 07-28-2010 04:19 PM

Hi Bob,

Hi Bob;

Nice sample board.

We always use coped inside corners for two reasons.

First, quite often, drywall isn’t always nailed on well. When you nail the crown on, it can pull the drywall tighter to the studs, making your joint open. The second reason is due to the humidity changes of the seasons. Coped joints seem to stay tighter.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Woodwrecker's profile


4191 posts in 3718 days

#6 posted 07-28-2010 06:01 PM

Thanks Bob.
This really helps make sense out of it.

View Bob A in NJ's profile

Bob A in NJ

1232 posts in 4141 days

#7 posted 07-28-2010 11:47 PM


Thanks for the perspective. This is a new reason to cope, loose drywall. I agree with the humidty point also, even with painters caulk, I have noticed the crown in my house shows some signs of gaps.


-- Bob A in NJ

View Karson's profile


35134 posts in 4543 days

#8 posted 07-29-2010 06:05 AM

Bob: Thanks for the info. Nice job on the design phase. Good luck on the finals.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18373 posts in 3818 days

#9 posted 07-29-2010 07:29 AM

Nice sample board; aka, cheat sheet ;-)) I need to do some crown too. After 40 years of bending conduit on the floor to go overhead, I wonder if crown will be confusing ;-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View GlenGuarino's profile


166 posts in 3157 days

#10 posted 08-04-2010 11:04 PM

Nice tips Bob. I finished the crown molding in the living room. We had our hardwood floors worked on, now I’m working on the baseboard.


View scrapwood's profile


65 posts in 2992 days

#11 posted 08-11-2010 12:31 AM

great tips Bob going to have to save this and make one when we do the crown.

View classacthollow's profile


10 posts in 2908 days

#12 posted 12-04-2010 06:27 PM

very helpful. i’ll try this also. thanks for the tip

-- Bruce, Imboden, Arkansas

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