Crown Coping Tips

Some advice on dealing with large, hard-to-cope crown moulding. January 26, 2008

Another crown question for you crown gurus. I'm tooling up to install 6" cherry crown. For stain grade, is it still better to cope inside corners? Also, I have bullnose drywall corner bead. Do you recommend 22 1/2 degree corners or 45, and fill the hole between the crown and drywall with wood or caulk and stain to match crown, or paint to match wall? Which looks better?

Forum Responses
(Cabinet and Millwork Installation Forum)
From contributor S:
1st question: Always cope inside corners unless the molding profile cannot be coped.

2nd question: I would cut 22.5's. Filling that kind of gap, I think, looks bad.

From contributor J:
My answers are the same as contributor S's. But, what is the radius of the corner bead?

From contributor C:
I am doing a job right now that is un-copable (a great big cove in the middle of the crown that goes slightly beyond horizontal). Only the second or so time in my life that I have had to deal with this. I thought about trying to roll the crown just a fuzz, but no go. Try inside mitering all of your cuts and having to go around some 2" deep pilaster/columns every 10' and you will learn to love the little bit of fudge factor that a cope can give you.

I am pre-nailing the column wrap together and nailing it to the end of the long stick to the left before I put it up, but that inside miter on the right is giving me fits! (Good thing it is very dark finish.)

As for #2, first it depends on the plans and what is called out or what shows in the elevations. Second, if there is room to decide yourself, how big is the radius of the corner bead? Personally, I don't like the look of the 22.5 corners. I know that they take time and skill, but they just always remind me of someone that 45s the end of a stick of flat stock instead of turning it back or something. Or the look is too soft or something, I just don't like it. I feel like there is a design issue when a radius and straight line are used like this, but hey, me stupid, me just install.

To fill the little radius void, I have hole sawed flat stock and then quartered the piece with the hole and stuck it in place to fill in the corner. I don't know why I don't like the 22.5s. Maybe it doesn't show off the profile of the crown as well as a 90 degree corner.

From contributor V:
For all you copers: keep in mind that even with mouldings that have coves that go beyond horizontal, the other section of the moulding can be coped and the difficult section can be left with just a miter. I did this with some 7" pre-finished standard profile crown. After mitering the end, I coped the top section but left the cove on the bottom mitered. This hybrid coping worked very well.

From contributor C:
I think the crown is something like CB 618? I would have to check the plans for the specs. At any rate I thought about trying some kind of modified cope like not back cutting as much angle as I go around the inside cove, but I didn't really tinker around too much and went straight to the inside miters. After it is all said and done, there is only one inside corner that I am not happy about and I think that it is from me using a stick that had too much stock removed at the end. It didn't look like there were any chatter marks but I think that the back of the piece might have been light and it bedded slightly different in the miter saw as I cut it. The profiles just don't line up quite right. Eh - one bad cut out of about 60 cuts that are in the lap - fire me. Now I am installing good old 8" speed base. Can you say cupped? Err! I would rather run a mile of crown than a foot of base!

From contributor L:
Hybrid-coping, I have to try that. I've done radius corners both ways and I like the look of the 45 better than the 22.5 - that's just me. We always used the plastic transition piece at the bottom of the wall and top in the houses we have built with radius corners.

From contributor J:
I've run into this with a wide crown that had a big cove element in the middle that rolled all the way over at top to a bead that was lower than the top of the cove. Same as contributor D, I left the miter at this point, coped the rest of it, and hand chiseled the mating miter on the piece to be butted. It works fine, and is very much better than watching an inside miter pop open as it's nailed up. We should hunt down the clown that designs those profiles and force him/her at nailer point to cope one.

From contributor T:
To respond to question #2, on radius corners, we will use a cove router bit of the same size as the radius corner bead and rout some cove moulding and cut a bunch of pieces and finish the ends of them to square off the corners and fill in the hole left by the 45 degree cuts rather than the 22 1/2 cuts. Works great for base also.