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Old 08-10-2009, 04:59 PM   #1
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"Cheating" on crown molding?


My wife and I are finishing a remodel of our family room & kitchen. We have 3-piece crown molding to install (all purchased, sitting in the garage). I have been studying all the "how-to" descriptions and videos regarding the mitering and coping. I only have 2 outside edges to miter. Everything else is an inside corner, including the odd angles inside the breakfast nook/dinette area.

My question is this - rather than meticulously coping each interior joint, could I get away with simply mitering the joint, and then applying caulk/spackle to the joint and painting over it? All of the crown/base will be painted semi-gloss white. I understand that I don't want to have huge gaps here, as it would be difficult to fill, but would this method work out alright?

I'm a few days away from starting the install. I'm going to pre-paint the trim in the garage starting tonight, so that the only painting I'll have to do on the wall will be joints and cut areas that may have chipped. It seems like a better idea than taping off the wall to accurately paint the trim.

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Old 08-10-2009, 05:23 PM   #2
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"Cheating" on crown molding?


You can caulk the joint but it will almost inevitably open up over time. The same is true for a properly coped joint, but sometimes it won't look as bad. With paint grade stuff a good argument can be made either way. Personally, I always cope inside corners anymore...I've regretted every mitered inside corner I ever did on painted trim in my home.

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Old 08-10-2009, 07:08 PM   #3
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"Cheating" on crown molding?


Bear in mind that it's not a simple miter, but a compound miter you're looking at. If your corners aren't truly square, you're looking at a real pain to get the joint tight enough to caulk properly and not look like @#$^ (and as thekctermite pointed out, will require more caulk and tend to "open up" more over time).
Coping, though a bit more of a learning curve, is much more forgiving. Buy a couple of extra feet and practice before you begin cutting especially on the breakfast "nook". I'm assuming that's a bay window of some sort which is probably a 22.5 degree angle. Even harder to cut on a compound miter, which I'm assuming your saw is capable of or it's a moot point.....
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Old 08-10-2009, 08:34 PM   #4
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"Cheating" on crown molding?


If your corners are square there is a method I have seen that has good success. It involves cutting the crown molding upside down (but still similar to how it would rest on wall and ceiling) in a chop saw set at 45 degrees.

If your walls are off this will look horrible.
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Old 08-10-2009, 10:27 PM   #5
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"Cheating" on crown molding?


As the material shrinks longitudinally, inside miters show a lot more gap due to the surface area of the angle cut. As KC said, a coped joint doesn't show as much - less surface area to see when it shrinks. Check out the helper stick used here: http://www.taunton.com/finehomebuild...echniques.aspx

A good book: http://books.google.com/books?id=2_7...age&q=&f=false

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Old 08-10-2009, 11:44 PM   #6
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"Cheating" on crown molding?


I find that any gap up to 1/8" can be filled with a paintable caulk and still look good. Most people will never notice the fill. You on the other hand will notice the cover up, but that is one of the draw backs to DIY, you always see the imperfections.
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Old 08-11-2009, 08:03 AM   #7
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"Cheating" on crown molding?


Thanks for all the replies. I do have some extra, so I think I'm going to cut a few small pieces and practice in the corners of my garage - both mitered and coping, and decide from there. Looks like coping is going to be the way to go though.

I now have it all painted, so I'm going to bring it in and let it acclimate to the temperature/humidity of the room. I'll probably start practicing cuts tonight/tomorrow and start the actual hanging on Wednesday/Thursday.
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Old 08-11-2009, 10:54 AM   #8
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"Cheating" on crown molding?


double-post, sorry if it doesn't automerge.

I have a question about which pieces to cope, and which to run flush, mainly in the nook area. Here is a 360* of the room:





From what I've read, I should start with the longest run, and run it flush to the walls in the corners. That would be the green wall on the right side of picture 1 / the left side of picture 4. The piece that intersects it in the corner, will obviously need coping. But, do I want to cope it at one end (right side) and flush on the other corner (left side), or do I want to cope both sides of one board and insert it after doing the opposing corner. That sounds confusing... let me restate: on the brown wall, do I want to run it flush by the door, or do I want to run the piece above the door flush to the brown wall; then cope both sides of the piece on the brown wall?

Then, when I get into the nook, I'm not sure which pieces to cope. I could figure it out by guess or trial-and-error, but am going with the "it never hurts to ask" method first.


Thanks!

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Old 08-11-2009, 11:30 AM   #9
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"Cheating" on crown molding?


There's no right or wrong method. Do what's most comfortable for you. That said, personally, I normally have the square cut on the right of the piece and the cope cut on the left. (I just seem to get better copes on the left.) On crown, I like to end the last piece on an outside corner (if possible). I can cut the piece a bit long and "shave" it on the outside miter to get the best fit. It's just easier for me than doing a cope on both ends on the final piece.....
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Old 08-11-2009, 04:23 PM   #10
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"Cheating" on crown molding?


Here's a suggested product from me, and please understand that I don't have any affiliation with the company...I saw their product and bought it a couple years ago and it has really made cutting crown an easy task for me and has resulted in much less wasted material.


They're about $40 for a block like this, and there are three blocks depending on the spring angle of the crown you're using. They sell kits with all three too, but all you need is the right block and an angle guage to get the exact degree measurement for each corner, which is critical to any good crown installation. I used to use crown stops for the "upside down and backwards" method and this beats the heck out of it and is soooo much easier. You set your miter saw at a simple 45 degrees left (for 90 degree inside and outside corners as well as mitering for material removal on coped cuts) and the block and crown are oriented depending on the piece you need...Inside right, outside left, etc. There's a cheater guide on each block that makes it easy. It'll give you PERFECT outside corners and perfect mitered inside corners if you opt for miters. I'm a good trim carpenter and this thing has made life a lot easier on dozens of projects with crown.
www.cutncrown.com

For odd angles on miters and coped pieces, you set your saw at 1/2 of the actual degree measurement. 45 degree corners would be 22-1/2 degree cuts, 91 degree corners would be 45-1/2 degree cuts.

If you miter, use wood glue.
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Old 08-11-2009, 04:47 PM   #11
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"Cheating" on crown molding?


One point that has not been covered here is a couple of the actual "whys" of coping. I'm sure you know that you could eventually hit upon the right combination of angles and bevels to get most any joint to mate perfectly. But coping "cheats" around that hassle in a couple of ways.

One... as has been mentioned, an imperfect joint matters a whole lot less when coping.

And two... the chances of the joint opening over time can be somewhat reduced.

The whole point to the COPE is to get a long, sharp back-bevel cut into the end of the piece. And here is a trick: Cut your piece about a "light" quarter of an inch long (for longer runs....... maybe closer to an eighth for short runs). Nail in the end farthest away from the joint well, with the "too-long" board bending out into the room.

Now, "spring" (or "bend") the center of the board out toward the center of the room while simultaneously bringing in the coped end to the joint location. (Like stringing an archery bow) What this does is introduce a lengthwise pressure that forces the coped end into the previously installed piece of molding. Two things happen when you do this.

One... the coped point "crushes" itself into the mating piece for a near-perfect fit.

Two... you permanently install a compressive force to the joint. This defeats much of future tendencies for the joint to open up.
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Old 08-11-2009, 05:02 PM   #12
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"Cheating" on crown molding?


Well stated Willie. And KC, I might just look into your product too. I don't do a lot of crown so it's often a "re-learning" curve of a few "practice" cuts to get on track. It's not like I can tape and mud the joints unfortunately....
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Old 08-11-2009, 07:19 PM   #13
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"Cheating" on crown molding?


I vote for the helper stick GBAR mentioned. In the link it's on page two. KC, Thanks for the tip to "cut-n-crown". I am also one of those who pick up crown jobs occasionally and love to do them, especially when the customer comments well on the job when finished. Thanks, David
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Old 10-06-2009, 10:03 AM   #14
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"Cheating" on crown molding?


I realized I never came back and posted results.

I ended up using mitered inside corners. No matter how many times I tried to get a coped cut right, it just didn't turn out. I built a little jig that attached to the miter saw table, and that helped keep the cuts on a good line. The most difficult part I encountered were areas of unlevel/warped ceiling. In a few spots I had to cut down the long length of crown into a shorter piece, so that I could keep it tight with the ceiling, otherwise I was opening up +1" gaps with the ceiling.

Overall, I'm happy with the results. We'll see what kind of movement I see in the joints, but with the number of nails I shot through the molding, I don't know how much it's possible for them to move.







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Old 10-06-2009, 10:25 AM   #15
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"Cheating" on crown molding?


That looks good
Want to do my house ?
The wife wants crown molding in at least 1 room

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