Coping Crown Molding

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 50,675
    Professional home improvement contractor Mark Clement demonstrates coping crown molding.

    Mark Clement: Hi! I am Mark Clement, licensed contractor and tool expert, here today to show you how to cope various moldings using the Dremel tool. And now we are going to cope crown molding. Like all copes on all moldings, it starts with an inside right miter cut at 45, which we make on the miter saw. Here we have got a hand powered miter saw, of course you can use a power miter saw. The idea is that we are going to get our inside right cut at 45. However, crown molding has a few issues with it that are somewhat confusing. Crown molding is situated in the saw, such that it sits upside down, this is the bottom of the molding. And when you turn it upside down, that inverts left and right. So if you have ever read about crown molding installation, you have probably read the term upside down and backwards. That's what this is.

    Thirdly, the molding sits at the seam's spring angle, as it does on the ceiling, so you want to make sure the flat edges of the crown are flat against your fence and flat against the saw deck. Let's make our inside right miter cut. One of the keys to getting a safe and accurate cut is to make sure your miter saw, whether it's a hand tool like this or a power saw, is on a stable surface, molding is secure, and your fingers are well away from the blade. You will also notice that when I am sawing with my miter saw here, my index finger is sticking out parallel with the blade. It's an old timer's trick and it helps the saw run more smoothly through the work.

    Okay. I have removed that piece, I have got my inside right miter at 45. Now I am going to show you how to cope this using the Dremel tool. I have got my 801 Carbide Shaping Wheel Accessory, which is really the main cutting tool for the Dremel. And finally, don't overlook the importance of safety glasses. I want to differentiate between the two cuts that I am going to make. One is a cut off, and that happens right here, that little triangle right here is going to be the only white part or primed part of this material that I am actually going to take off. The rest of it is going to be the back behind this leading edge and I am going to remove that. Let me show you how I do it. I set the tool to maximum speed and I am going to start working my way abrading through the material. You will notice that I am working at a reverse angle from the miter, removing the material behind the front edge of my crown, so that I get a lot of space behind this leading edge. It enables me to work with auto square corners much, much better than if I left too much material in there. I am also only getting close to my line. I am not going right up to it with the tool going full bore. Time to slow down. You also notice that I have my thumb as guide on the tool and my fingers on the work. Sort of like, if you have ever played basketball, you shoot with one hand and you guide with the other, same thing. This technique helps me stabilize the tool for this finesse cuts. Now when you are coping this painted line or this prime line, is your no go zone. If you go past that, you are going to leave an opening in your cope. You go right up to it without going past, that's when you know you are going to have a nice tight corner. Now, I will just make sure I have removed enough of the stock from behind here and we will see how we did. Alright. Let's check out the fit. Oh, there it is. That is tight right there. And that is the take away for coping. You can get a nice totally tuned, very durable inside corner. But there's more take away than meets the eye. Yes, it might seem like it takes more time upfront, but once you figure this out and get the finesse for it, your total elapsed time is cut way, way down, believe me. Before I even install a single piece, I can test against the sample to see if my cope works. So I hope these coping tricks help you with your trim work. Good luck!