How To Cut Chair Rail With Ease: 3 Detailed DIY Steps

Cutting chair rails requires skill and knowledge to do correctly in three steps, but what do you need to know on how to cut chair rail? If you’ve ever found yourself installing chair rails but don’t know how to deal with it when the length is not right, here we’ll discuss a few steps that you could follow to learn techniques and tips on cutting them like a pro.

Chair rails are profiled molding used to protect walls from damage due to objects such as scrapping. It’s also used to join upper and wall textures as well as an aesthetic addition to your household.

how to cut chair rail


DIY Steps For Cutting A Chair Rail

Since you’ve already started working with the chair rails, you may have noticed that there are parts of lengths that pose challenges. Here’s how you do it.


Step #1. Planning and preparation

First and foremost is to prepare all your needed materials for the job. To achieve the best result, you must have the right tools for the job.

Prepare your safety equipment, such as gloves, for you will be working using sensitive equipment during the whole procedure. Ready your cutting devices; either a miter box and a hand saw or a power miter saw, whichever is available to you. A miter box is a tool that would help you make your angled cuts because the processes involving chair rail cutting utilizes a lot of angled cuts.

An angle gauge and a coping saw are also necessary if you want straight and perfect cuts and fitting during your installation process. It would help you determine the correct angle to make your cuts while the coping saw is utilized when using the coping technique when making your corner cuts.


Step #2. Measuring

Before cutting, you must first determine the length of the materials you will use for your chair rail installation. Try to measure appropriately and exactly as much as possible to avoid unnecessary gaps and overlaps in your structure.

Avoid bending your measuring device on corners; this will create errors in your measurement. Try to measure from corner to corner to have the exact and correct length for your pieces. Mark your points accordingly for your cuts later on


Step #3. Cutting

Now that you have your measurement, it’s time to proceed to the next and trickiest step: cutting the pieces together. In cutting the molding, try to cut the smaller pieces first. This would allow an easier fitting later on.

When cutting your chair rail, whether using a miter box and hand saw or an automated power miter saw, always do a vertical position on your miter box. The back of the chair rail profile must be touching the wall of the miter box. The walls of the miter box represent the area in which you will be installing the chair rail later on.

Cut the chair rail appropriately following the markings you previously made. Now your pieces are ready, get your hammer and nails with a bit of wood glue and install those chair rails like a pro.


How to cut chair rail for angled corners

In cutting angled corners, precision is the most crucial aspect. There are two main types of corner cuts for chair rail installation — the inside corner cut and the outside corner cut.

In doing an inside corner cut, you could do a traditional 45 degree angled inside cut on both the adjoining side of the chair rail pieces. The problem with these is because in some cases, the corner of the walls is not precisely equal to a 90 degree, sometimes it’s a little bit wider or a little bit acute, creating gaps in the adjoining part. This is where coping techniques come in handy.

The coping technique is a process veteran and experts in carpentry use in joining corner pieces. Coping utilizes a coping saw that would enable you to cut the chair rails profile really well due to its ability to cut in angles.

In coping, cut the other corner piece straight. No angle cut is required for this piece.

Next is to cut the other component in a 45-degree traditional cut using a miter saw or a hand saw with a miter box. This is done so that the outline of the chair rail’s profile would show clearly.

Using a coping saw, cut along the chair rail’s profile line precisely with a 45 degree inside angle cut. The coped piece would now fit appropriately in the other piece that you have. This is a precise cut that would fit perfectly whether the angle is exactly 90 degrees or not.

For the outside corner cut, a traditional 45 degree cut from the back to the profile is the best way to cut the pieces. Remember to check and see if the corner pieces fit accordingly before nailing.

One significant cut to remember as well is to make end caps for the chair rail. To do this first is to create a 45-degree outside angle cut on the piece.

Next is to make another 45 degrees inside angle cut and then cut along the bottom edge of the smaller amount. Glue together before nailing to the wall.


Is chair rail molding still in style?

Yes, aside from its architectural purpose, chair railing is still incorporated in homes to create a traditional and classic look suitable for any occasion.



Chair rail installation will be much easier when you know how to cut chair rail. With a little bit of practice and information, even a complete novice can be a master of the crafts.

Leave a Comment