Mitering cornices can be a frustrating job if you are not sure of what you are doing. There are special tools available that will assist you with the job though.
One I have seen recently is called the Magic Mitre and it makes easy work out of mitering molding for corners. With this product, all you do is set the template by holding it against the corner and adjusting it to the corner. Then, you attach the template to the miter device and cut. If you have the luxury of such an innovative device, mitering cornices can be relatively easy. For those of you that do not have such a device, we will explain how it is done with a miter box and with a power miter saw.
Using a Power Miter Saw and a Coping Saw
Okay, for those of you with a power miter saw, here we will explain how to cut complicated corner moldings that fit perfect every time. Let’s say for our example, we have a molding piece that has a decorative design with ridges and valleys in the wood.
The ridges and valleys can be tricky to get to piece together smoothly. What you need to do first is cut the first piece off with a regular strait cut to the length it needs to be. Then, cut the second corner piece off at a 45 degree angle.
Next, take the piece that you just cut the 45 degree angle and cut off the angle with a coping saw. If you look closely where the 45 degree angle meets the face of the trim, you will see the exact pattern that needs to be cut with the coping saw. By first cutting the 45 degree angle, you will have a much easier angle to cut then if you had a normal 90 degree angle.
If you do not have a coping saw, you can pick one up at your local hardware store. A coping saw is a hand saw with a very thin blade, smaller than that of a hacksaw that is used to make fine cuts.
When you use the coping saw to cut away the 45 degree angle, you will notice that the edge acquires the exact shape of the ridges and valleys of the elaborate design. Once you cut entirely across with the coping saw, you can hold the corner pieces together and you will see that they will match perfectly with no gaps where the ridges and valleys of the trim meet.
Using an Old Fashioned Wooden Miter Box
If you do not make a living at remodeling houses, chances are you may be working with just a plain old fashioned wooden miter box. While having an electric miter saw will give you nicer and more exact cuts, you can still get the jpb done with your old fashioned miter box.
Most miter boxes have only a 45 degree angle and a 90 degree cut available, making corners that are not square a bit more tricky then if you were using a newer inovation like that which we described in the first paragraph(the Magic Mitre).
But, since you have to work with what you got, you can cut out those tricky moldings with the ridges and valleys the same way we described above with the electric miter saw. Just cut a 90 degree cut on your first board and put it aside. On your second board, cut it off at a 45 degree angle.
Now you will still need a coping saw to cut long the pattern created by the ridges in the molding. Once done, you will find that these two pieces will fit together no matter what the actual angle of the corner.
Photo by mrbill, Creative Commons Attribution License