Sunday, August 24, 2014

Tips for Cutting Moulding for Trim Work

Hi Friends! Today is Sunday...and I'm playing hookey from church!  Well, not really, I'm not feeling very well today and I'm just hanging out in my bed.  What better thing to do than a blog post :)

Friday, I got started back with organizing a project to do list. Basically, making a step by step list of what I'm going to tackle and in what order.  First priority is to finish this fireplace that I've been working on (sloooooowly) for an entire year.  Well, I had several small pieces of trim that needed to be added and fixed.  I can't exactly give you a "big reveal" of my fireplace just yet, but I thought I'd share the little bits I'm working on until I have it completely finished...and then I'll go back and give a detailed explanation of how I did the entire thing.  

Here is the little area I needed to fix/finish the trim on:
I needed to take off the bit of baseboard that is already attached and re-position looks bad...and then I needed to finish the baseboard all the way around the book shelf and back down the wall.  I also needed to continue the trim around the tile and across the bottom shelf of the book shelf (right under where the dvds are).

The first thing I always do is measure the length of my piece of wood, by placing it where it will be going and marking the wood.  This is always better than measuring.  Sometimes you just have to measure, due to size of the wood or the location you are putting it, but always use this method if you have the option.  

For an outside corner, I usually mark where the wood will miter.  I mark both ends.  First where the wood touches the corner on the short end of the miter, and then I draw a diagonal line approximating where the cut will be....and then I usually mark another line indicating where the outside end or the long end of the miter will wind up.  Sometimes you can get a perfect measurement on this, and other times, it's an approximate measurement (I was able to get a perfect measurement this time, because there is a messed up piece that is too short, allowing me to lay my wood flush to get the measurement...more on that in a minute).  The measurement you really want to pay attention to is the one on the inside, the part of the wood that is going to be the same length as what you are attaching it to.  That is your precise measurement.  The other marks are more for orientation when you get your wood out to the saw.  It makes it a lot easier to know where you are going to cut the wood and how to hold your wood.  
You can see why I needed to remove that piece of baseboard from this angle.  Let me tell ya...I've gotten a lot better at this with practice.  Those jacked up cuts were made a long time ago.  Don't worry I'm going to show you how to do it the right way :)

Ok, so I've got my wood on my see that there is a slit opening for the saw to sink into when it's cutting....don't use this as a guide, your cut will be off.  I know that I want the blade to cut along my little slanted line, right?  My saw head only bends to 45 degrees on the left side (I didn't take any pictures of it to show you....but it's just your basic miter saw). I bent my blade to make a 45 degree cut at the saw....but did not move the base either direction (the base rotates left or right to a variety of angles).  The base was kept strait.  Usually, you'll use the head of the saw to miter if you have a piece that you want to miter into the skinny side of your mine below.  In other cases, you could use the base to rotate and keep the head strait if you have a piece that is thicker that will stand up on it's side and do the same thing, or if you have a piece that you want to miter into the long side (like as in a picture frame). A lot of the time you could probably do it either way....not this time though...(sorry it that didn't make any sense) 
 Based on my markings, the blade will enter the wood at the left marking and cut along the diagonal  mark (across the whole piece of wood) exit approximately where the second mark is.  

What you want to do is move the blade down (without turning it on) and see that the very outside skin of the blade touches your wood at the very outside edge of your mark...maybe even the teeniest bit over from your can always cut off more wood, but you can't make your piece longer if you've cut it too short.  You want to make sure that all of the extra wood that will be pulverized by the width of the saw isn't included in your finished, cut piece.  You want that to come out of the left over scrap.

  You can't see my marks on this piece below, because they are on the skinny side of the piece and I'm cutting this on the flat side.  I extended the one mark around the piece of wood, so that I could see where I needed to cut.    

Once you have everything perfectly lined up, then turn the machine on and cut.  Obviously, do all of the things your saw manufacturer says to do in regards to safety and what not....and please don't cut yourself! 

My garage is awful...don't look at the ugly-ness...but this is what I ended up with.  Sorry it's a really bad picture.

And here's how it fit. Perfect fit!  Now, if only I had followed my own advice months ago when I cut those other (already attached) pieces. 

I went ahead and made a repair to the too short piece that you see in the picture above.  Ideally, I would have just taken that piece off and cut a new one....but this was already grouted and caulked in there and you know, I just wasn't feeling it.  Besides, it's amazing what some caulk can do to make a horrible mess look presentable.  Here's what I did...I mitered the end of my wood first, then held it up to measure the gap directly onto my piece of wood, then I held it it place and cut off that small piece going in the same direction as my first miter (all with the same techniques I mentioned above).  Keep your eye out, because those little pieces can go flying!

It fits!  It doesn't look perfect, but it fills it in and will be completely concealed after I patch it up.  I wont' nail this piece in, I am going to glue it with some liquid nails.  If you try to nail it it, it won't be stable because you could really only get one nail in there....and most likely the nail will break the small piece of wood in half....How do I know that?  Yeah, I tried to nail that piece, because I'm lazy....and it happened to me....and I had to re-do it. Don't repeat my mistakes. 

I went ahead and made a few cuts of baseboard around my bookshelf.  here's where I cut another outside corner and it looks perfect.  This is what it's supposed to look like y'all. 

This is an inside corner (between the bookshelf and the wall).  This was done without coping (I know how, but don't have a coping saw...would love one of those).  Coping is a whole other technique to give you really perfect inside it.  I cut these in the same manner as before, but instead of having the long end pointing out, the long end is against the wood/wall.  Whatever is against your wood or wall or ...whatever you are adding trim to, will be your firm measurement.  It's basically the opposite of the outside corner.  The piece of wood pictured on the right side of this picture actually is the same piece in the left side of the picture one end was part of a outside corner and the other end was part of an inside mark your wood well! You don't want to get confused when you go to the saw.

It will look better after quarter round is added to cover the gap there...and caulk and paint is added to cover imperfections....the cut, however, is perfect!  yay! 

I use a nail gun with a compressor to attach the trim.  I got this one from Lowes as a combo for about 100 bucks.  It has been great for my purposes.  

Be careful!  Read the directions and send the kids out of the room while you do this! 

The nailing takes just a minute to finish...and it's really fun!  

This is the little area I finished today all complete!  
Not a huge difference, but this completed all of trim work that was left on my fireplace!   Can I get a whoooo! 

Hope that was helpful to some.  It really has taken me a lot of trial and error to get the hang of the little things you have to do to make a perfect cut.  Good luck!  
Next up is caulking the whole. dang. thing....and then I'll be puttying, sanding and painting.  In addition, I"ll be casing in the window right next to the fireplace and repairing the trim around my back door, to complete this wall.  Almost there guys!  


shared with:
three mango seeds


  1. You are so good! I always make my husband do it! I need to get my hands dirty and actually do it myself!

  2. Wow! I am very impress! That look great! Thank you for sharing it with us #pintorials

  3. You make it look easy! Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop!

    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick®

  4. Thanks so much for linking up to Motivational Monday! The trim looks AMAZING!

  5. Before I was a stay at home mother to my three awesome kids. I used to have a life. In that life I was a carpenter. I just want to say you did an awesome job!! I love the explanations of why and how you did each thing.

    I love seeing women doing things like this! We are just as capable as men!!!!!

  6. This looks great! fun home project!

  7. You make it look easy, thanks for the inspiration!

  8. Bookmarking for the future. Thank you for sharing this post at City of Creative Dream's City of Links last Friday! I appreciate you taking the time to party with me. Hope to see you again this week :)

  9. That's awesome! These sorts of projects always intimidate me but your instructions were great :)

  10. Great tips!! You make it look so easy and your cuts really did come out great. Thanks for liking over at Bewitchin' Projects Block Party, hope you will join us again this week.