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When shaped moldings meet at an inside corner, the best way to join them is with a coped joint, which is created by cutting a profile on the end of one piece of molding so it fits over the contours of the face of the second piece of molding.
Measure and mark for the length of the molding that will be coped (Images 1 and 2).
Set your miter saw to 45 degrees. Place the molding on the miter saw with the ceiling edge flat on the bottom. Cut the end of the molding (Image 3).
Scribe the profile of the trim to bring out the line (Image 1).
Using a coping saw, cut along the profile of the end, removing material behind the end at about an angle of 45 degrees (Image 2).
Coping is not as hard as it may look. And the benefits over mitered joints are worth the extra few steps. Wood tends to contract, and a mitered end will pull away from what seemed like a perfect joint. A coped joint will not open up as much. Use a coping saw to remove the material behind the end of a piece so that it fits snugly with another piece.
A coping saw has a c-shaped frame, a handle and a thin flexible blade (Image 1). The blade can be installed to cut on the push or pull stroke.
Smooth the end of the coped joint for a clean finish (Image 2). Test the fit of the coped piece by holding it in place against a scrap piece of molding.
Fit a coped end to the piece of crown (Image 1). Cut more material or sand to adjust the fit.
Nail the molding in place. Fill any gaps with caulk. Fill nail holes with caulk and wipe the excess with a damp cloth or sponge (Image 2).
Use a wood block to gently tap crown molding pieces in place or to adjust a fit (Image 3).
Fence accessories help support tall pieces of molding in the saw (Image 4).
Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement
© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009
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