If you are going to be doing your own crown molding cutting, it is important that you plan ahead. In particular, your choice of what tool to use to cut your crown molding may mean the difference between success and failure. While there are many different tools you can use to make cuts, some of them simply do not measure up to the others. What follows should give you a good understanding of the differences between the various tools you might select.
Unfortunately, cutting crown molding with a hand saw is more or less impossible. Hand saws simply do not have the accuracy to cut the precise angles needed for crown molding cutting. This is particularly true when you consider that whatever you choose to cut your molding must be able to produce the exact same angle many times. If you need to cut molding, but only have access to a hand saw, you will simply need to borrow, rent or purchase a more appropriate tool.
The average table saw contains everything required to cut crown molding. It can make even, reliable cuts with a minimum of trouble. Many table saws even contain mechanisms that allow them to cut at a 45 degree angle, and can be adjusted if a different angle is necessary. They can even stay at that adjusted level, allowing the same cut to be made many times in a row. Some table saws are simpler, however, and do not have these mechanisms. In these cases, it is still possible to make a jig out of scrap wood that will allow 45 degree angle cuts. Doing this will leave you unable to make small adjustments easily, however, so it is not an ideal solution.
In fact, the table saw itself is less than ideal for crown molding cutting. While it can do the job acceptably, it is not specifically designed to cut the miter joints that molding requires. If you only have access to a table saw, you can use one to cut your crown molding. However, if you have access to a miter saw, you are better off choosing it as your tool. In fact, if you can borrow or even rent a miter saw, you will not regret it.
There are many different types of miter saws, each with a different specialized purpose. However, the absolute rock-bottom standard model miter saw has everything you need to achieve professional quality cuts in your crown molding. Miter saws are specifically designed—as you might guess from their name—to cut the miter joints that crown molding must be cut into before installation.
Compound Miter Saw
A compound miter saw gives you all of the features of a miter saw, but allows you to change the height of the blade to make bevel cuts. Compound miter saws are ideal for cutting crown molding. While purchasing one specifically for cutting your crown molding might be going a little bit overboard, compound miter saws are definitely the tool of choice for this job if you can get a hold of one.