How to: Coped Joints on Mouldings

Coped joints are a good approach to creating tight, trim work corners. This method, which might seem confusing in the beginning, is straightforward and logical once understood. Basically, the technique is to saw the contour of the molding on one side of the joint so that the coped piece of molding fits into the uncoped piece of molding. The uncoped piece of molding is cut to a 90-degree angle so it fits flush into the corner of the wall.

Things You'll Need

  • Coping saw
  • Fresh blades
  • Pencil
  • Right angle
  • Tape measure


    • 1
      Moulding must be measured and cut carefully.
      Moulding must be measured and cut carefully.

      Measure the molding. Mark the molding at a measurement that is the full length of the wall from corner to corner. When measuring and marking for the cuts do so on the backside of the molding.

    • 2

      Cut both pieces of molding at a 90-degree angle at the full length of the wall.

    • 3

      Mark the coped side. Use a cutoff piece of the same molding that is being used, and cross cut the scrap at a 90-degree angle. Use this piece as a template to mark the contour of the molding profile on the backside of the piece that will be coped. Line up the cutoff template just where the finished joint will be but on the flat backside of the molding. Use a right angle to continue that line on the top and bottom of the coped corner, this will help to guide a proper cut.

    • 4

      Cut the coped side. Using a coping saw (sometimes called a jewelers saw) cut along the line marked on the back of the coped piece of molding. Make sure to cut perpendicular to the back as you scroll the blade following the curves of the molding profile. Use a fresh blade, make sure that blade is held taut in the saw. Go easy, let the tool do the work. Float the saw easily and cut methodically. As you make the cut, keep the blade quite perpendicular to the flat backside of the molding.

Tips & Warnings

  • You might want to practice making the cut on a scrap piece of molding to make sure that you understand the method and to bring your coping saw skills up to speed. Then you can see how the two pieces fit together. This practice "run" will allow you to adjust your markings and method accordingly for the real cut, keeping the waste to a minimum and ensuring a successful job.
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  • Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images Andy Sotiriou/Photodisc/Getty Images

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