How to Cut An End Cap for Molding, like Chair Rail

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How to Cut An End Cap for Molding, like Chair Rail, to put a pretty end at a door, window, or when molding ends part way down a wall.

Hello again! Today, I’ve got the quick and easy DIY steps for how to cut an end cap for molding. Follow this DIY for how to get a pretty end, or dead end, on molding. Also called an end cap or return end. I know, so many names, but it’s pretty much all the same thing.

This can be done on most molding, like the chair rail in my example, quarter round, baseboards, picture rail, crown molding, etc. anywhere that molding meets a window frame or 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.

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.
Don’t forget to Save this DIY on Pinterest.

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

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What you Need to Cut & Make a Dead End for Molding

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 end cap on the molding looks so much better than that straight cut at the window frame.

Steps for How to Cut An End Cap for 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.

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

When to Use a Dead End or End Cap on Molding

You want to put an end cap on molding whenever molding ends part way along a wall. And, you should use an end cap, or dead end cut on molding 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.

How to Cut An End Cap for Molding

How to Cut An End Cap for Molding, like Chair Rail, picture rail, baseboards, and quarter round. This easy DIY puts a pretty end where molding meets doors or windows or ends on a wall.

Tools

  • Miter Saw
  • Wood Glue or DAP Rapid Fuse

Instructions

Steps for How to Cut An End Cap for Molding

Step One

  1. 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Step Three

  1. 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. 
  2. 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

  1. 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. 😉
  2. 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. 
  3. Step Five
  4. 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. 
  5. 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.
  6. BUT, you can always use wood glue and painter's tape to hold the filler piece in place until the wood glue dries.
  7. 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.

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


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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. Don’t forget to sign up for the Abbotts At Home email newsletter to get DIY, Remodeling, and Crafty ideas in your inbox.

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