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How to Cut An End Cap for Molding, like Chair Rail: Easy Steps & Video

Easy Steps to Cut An End Cap for Molding, like Chair Rail or Crown Molding. Use a pretty end when trim meets doors, windows or on open walls.

How to Cut An End Cap

Hello again! Today, I’ve got the quick and easy DIY steps for how to cut an end cap for molding.

Follow this DIY to end chair rail molding, or any type of molding. This pretty end is also called dead end trim, trim end cap, return end or trim return.

I know, so many names, but it’s pretty much all the same thing.

Image of Chair Rail Molding End Cap or Pretty End cuts - wrong way and right way.
Look at how much better this chair rail end cap looks when it’s cut correctly.

This can be done to end cap molding, like the chair rail in my example, quarter round, baseboards, picture rail, crown molding, and more.

Use these steps anywhere that molding meets a window frame or a door frame that isn’t as thick as the molding you’re cutting. Or, anywhere that you need molding to end partway along a wall.

Image shows chair rail dead end or pretty end for a post about how to end molding on a wall, by a door, or window. Text says How to cut a trim end cap.
Don’t forget to Save or Share how To End Cap Molding.

Instead of babbling on, let’s get to How to Cut An End Cap for Molding. 🙂

What you Need to End Cap Moulding

You can cut molding with a Miter Box, if you really, really hate power saws or don’t want to buy one (cause they ain’t cheap).

But, guys, that saw that comes with a Miter Box can be hard to use and get a great result. So, I saw buy or borrow a Miter Saw.

How to Cut An End Cap for Molding, like Chair Rail. This easy DIY puts a pretty end where molding meets doors or windows or ends on a wall. DIY End Cap for Chair Rail, Picture Rail, Baseboards, Quarter Round and other molding.
You can see in this picture how having that chair rail end cap on the molding looks so much better than that straight cut at the window frame. Let’s just ignore the bad caulk job the builder left here. I’ll fix it one day. 🙂

How to End Cap Molding

Step One

The first step for how to cut an end cap for molding is to measure how long you want the piece to be.

I think it’s easiest to make the piece too long, cut and make the end cap end, then cut whatever is extra off the other end, when you’re done. So, add 2 inches to your measurement.

Step Two

Cut a 45 degree angle on the end of the molding that needs the dead end or end cap. The back side of the molding should be shorter than the front.

Cutting an end cap for crown molding is more complicated. These steps are for molding that sits flat against a wall, like chair rail, picture, rail, shoe or quarter round, and baseboards.

First step for how to cut an end cap for molding, cut a 45-degree angle to get your pretty profile.

Step Three

Now, you need to cut a piece to fill the 45 angle you just cut. Switch the 45 angle on your Miter Saw to the opposite 45 of what you just cut. Then use another piece of molding to cut your filler piece. 

Follow all safety rules that go along with using a Miter Saw. Use a long piece of molding to make your filler so you can keep your fingers far away from the blade.

Step Four

Once the second 45 is cut for the filler, hold it up to the first piece to make sure it is correct. It’s easy to accidentally cut the wrong angle. 😉

Then, set your Miter Saw to the 0-degree or straight cut setting to trim off the filler piece. You want to trim the filler for the end cap on molding along the corner or back edge of the 45. 

Here’s a look at that end cap molding with the filler piece slipped into place.

Step Five

The last step for how to cut an end cap for molding is to attach the filler to the original piece of chair rail, or whatever type of molding you are using. 

To be fast, you can use something like DAP Rapid Fuse. It’s like a super glue for woodworking project. It will set that piece in place and let you attach it to the wall fastest.

BUT, you can always use wood glue and painter’s tape to hold the filler piece in place until the wood glue dries.

Once the filler is set in place and the adhesive is dry, measure your molding from the widest edge of your end cap, or dead end, to the other end to mark and cut your molding to size.

How To End Chair Rail – Video

If any of the steps for how to cut a chair rail end cap are confusing, I highly recommend watching this short video. Hopefully seeing it done can help clear up any confusion.

How to Cut End Cap for Chair Rail Molding (Dead End Crown Molding, Baseboard, any trim molding)

When to Use a Dead End or Moulding End Caps

You want to put an end cap on molding whenever trim ends on an open wall or wherever the molding you are using is thicker than other molding it will touch, like on a window frame or door frame.

That’s it for how to cut an end cap for molding, guys. Looking for more of my Home Remodeling Videos? Check out this DIY Home Improvement playlist on YouTube.

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Here's a quick guide and video for where to use Caulk or Wood Filler on any wood trim, baseboards, crown moulding, and wainscoting in your home. Includes answers to these questions: How do you fill gaps in wood trim? What is the best product to fill nail holes in trim? Is it better to use wood filler or caulk?

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Feeling inspired? Now that you’ve read these tips for How to Cut An End Cap Molding, you can do it too. Let me know if you have questions.

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