The no-swear approach to cutting crown molding - Fine Homebuilding

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The no-swear approach to cutting crown molding

comments (17) May 21st, 2009 in Blogs
JFink Justin Fink, Senior Editor

I once had a “Do-It-Yourself” type of customer who was remodeling his kitchen and had refinished the floors, installed face-frame cabinets, and set a laminate countertop. But when it came time to fit the crown molding to the several obtuse angles created by the corner cabinets, the project stalled. He asked me to help out.

Now, being fairly new to the trade, I had never done a crown job with those sorts of complicated angles, and what simple crown jobs I had finished were partially saved by the amateur’s best friends - caulk, putty, and paint. But I chose to remember Theodore Roosevelt’s famous words “Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell 'em, 'Certainly I can!' Then get busy and find out how to do it.”

I didn’t want to shatter his confidence by spending the day walking back and forth from my miter saw to his kitchen cabinets; sneaking up on the right fit, and whittling down the pile of expensive crown molding. Instead I made a template of the cabinet angles and took it home to my basement so that I could swear at my miter saw in private.

I wish I had known back then that Bosch makes a Digital AngleFinder. Place this little whiz-kid of a tool on the inside or outside angle that has you scratching your head, and the digital readout tells you the exact miter-saw settings necessary to cut the joint for a flawless fit.

Sure, $170 seems like a steep price for a tool that you may use for only a few projects. But let me remind you of the grossly over-inflated pricing on prefinished crown molding for kitchen cabinets, or the alarming feeling that settles into the pit of your stomach when you realize that you can’t buy caulk to cover sloppy joints in the cherry or maple molding in your dining room. So, next time you’re paying $80 for an 8’ stick of crown molding, and mentally crossing your fingers as you ever-so-gently nudge the miter and bevel settings on your saw to sneak up on that perfect fit, give that AngleFinder a second thought.
Besides, if you’ve ever tackled crown molding before, you can probably buy the tool with the money that’s accumulated in your swear jar.

By the way, for those of you that already have the old version of this Bosch tool, you'll be happy to know that the newest version does not require you to re-enter the spring angle of the crown each time you take a measurement.For more on crown molding installation, check out Tucker Windover's new video workshop.

posted in: Blogs, finish carpentry, kitchen, bathroom, measuring and marking tools, cabinets, living room, nailers, miter saws, dining room, levels

Comments (17)

Helicon1 Helicon1 writes: $22.50,43513
Posted: 10:20 am on October 22nd

AdamElm AdamElm writes: The Boschs, Feins, Festol other unconscionable priced chachkies may inflate one's ego, but I'm reminded "it's not the violin, but the talent that makes for a sweet sound -or- even a simple old violin in the hands of a master makes for sweet music." As for miters, etc, surf over to
Info is high grade. Prices, dirt cheap. And in a craftsman's hands the results are remarkable. No, I'm not a shill for Quint, just a very satisfied user.
Posted: 11:11 am on November 5th

TDR123 TDR123 writes: just released a shorter 10" version of the Miter Master Plus.

Posted: 11:57 am on January 28th

TDR123 TDR123 writes: just released a shorter 10" version of the Miter Master Plus.

Posted: 11:33 am on January 28th

jarmil2003 jarmil2003 writes: I have not use this tool but I did use something similar to measure the angle cuts for the crown molding
and it was working great. That tool and a book because each crown molding has a different spring angle.
Posted: 11:26 pm on January 27th

TDR123 TDR123 writes: I purchased the Bosch protractor when it fist came out. Over time the calibration got off for what ever reason. I sent it back to Bosch for repair, it never has been accurate since I got it back.
Since then I ran up on a new protractor that has no batterys,buttons to push or ever needs to be calibrated.
Heck I can buy 5 of them for what the price of the Bosch.
Check out Miter Master Plus on The tool really takes the brain work out of cutting crown molding.It will find the correct angle for 52/38 or 45/45 deg crown molding without any conversion charts for compound settings if you want to cut crown laying flat on the saw table.
MMP is designed for the pro and diyer. I have 2 of them, I cut the legs down on one for tight areas.
The tool really takes the frustration out of odd angles. Just read the deg settings and make the cut.
Posted: 6:21 am on November 16th

spzwd spzwd writes: I think these tools are great, if a bit pricey, especially for large crown you can only cut on the flat. One thing they won't help you with though is when your ceiling has a slope in it. This adds another dimension that these devices don't take into account. It rare that I install crown on cabinets and don't find at least once place where the ceiling isn't level.
Posted: 9:16 am on June 1st

LadiesMan LadiesMan writes: I could write a book about this tool, but that book would be summarized by saying that, when properly used in combination with some production methods, this tool will help you install crown faster and tighter than any other method, and with any crown, on any angled wall to boot.
Posted: 1:42 am on May 31st

JFink JFink writes: yeah...Bosch doesn't actually have any photos of the angle finder being used to calculate crown molding (not sure why) - but the tool can be used for other trim tasks as well, hence the baseboard molding photo. Sorry for the confusion.
Posted: 8:57 am on May 29th

blueheeler blueheeler writes: I'm a tad confused. The photo shows the device measuring at floor level. I thought crown moulding was at the top.
Posted: 4:09 am on May 29th

LocalHero LocalHero writes: I used to have the Bosch but found it too cumbersome to carry around. I like the starrett angle finder better and I just keep a chart by the mitersaw that tells me what to set the saw at for various angles. You can find these charts online and I think it's easier to have the sheet right by the saw than reading it from the bosch.
And $170? Too much....
Posted: 11:07 pm on May 26th

JFink JFink writes: I couldn't agree more about having to enter the spring angle every time you turn the tool on, Ray. That's a serious pain, especially on a tool that is accurate to a tenth of a degree. For what it's worth, the new model has a memory function that eliminates that annoyance.
Posted: 8:37 am on May 26th

RayDrake RayDrake writes: I bought one of the older models several years ago and still carry it in my tool box. But not for the reason you might think. I refuse to throw it away because it cost so darn much money.
Not only is having to enter the crown molding angle for each cut is a pain trying, but how accurately can you set a 37.8 degree miter and 56.3 degree bevel ?

If you don't cut your crown 'on the flat', a simple angle divisor works much faster and almost fool proof. And you'll never need batteries.
Posted: 10:10 pm on May 25th

Gadjet Gadjet writes: I picked a smaller version at Lee Valley tools, "cheaper" but very good. It also works very well for setting precise angles on the saw blade (table and mitre), it comes in very handy for all sorts of things. It's one of those kinds of tools that your not sure you'll ever need, then wonder why you didn't buy one sooner!
Posted: 9:57 pm on May 25th

MechanicalMusicMan MechanicalMusicMan writes: Hi,
You can also get a nifty little angle gauge from Wixey Products for around $50. It comes in two lengths. Great for table saw setup too.
Posted: 4:10 pm on May 25th

Vladimir17 Vladimir17 writes: ohjames, you can get a similar tool called digital protractor for CA$60 at busybee tools (I'm in GTA - they have 2 stores here).
Posted: 11:41 pm on May 21st

ohjames ohjames writes: this is a cool tool it sure will cut down the swearing,the price is kind of steep but it will last for a long time ,is this price in American money ,i am in Canada bc.
Posted: 7:58 pm on May 21st

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