How to Cope Quarter Round Moulding

If you have ever tried to fix up an old house, you might have noticed that most existing, molding joints are not made with a 45-degree miter cut, but instead the joint is something that we call “coped.” These joints are most common on the inside corners of interior walls and they derive their name from the coping saw, which is used to cut the wood. In a coped joint, one piece of moulding is square cut at a 90-degree angle and butted directly against the wall. The second piece is then cut in such a way that it curves around and fits directly into the contour of the first piece. This technique sounds and appears more difficult than it really is, but still it is better to learn coping with something like quarter round, which has a shape that is easy to work with.

Things You'll Need

  • Coping saw
  • Tape measure
  • Quarter round molding
  • Utility knife
  • Finish nails
  • Hammer and nail set

Instructions

    • 1

      Cut a piece of quarter round molding that completely runs the length of one wall. In a four-cornered room, the best spot to place this piece of molding is on one of the two walls that is adjacent to the wall that contains the doorway. Install the quarter round at the base of the baseboard.

    • 2

      Cut another piece of molding to fit between the door opening and the piece of quarter round that you have just installed. Cut this piece about a foot longer than it needs to be. You will cut one end of this with a coping saw to fit around the piece of molding that you just placed on the adjacent wall. The extra foot is to allow for any mistakes that you might make on your first attempt.

    • 3

      Mark the shape of the quarter round on the backside of the molding with a pencil. You can even scribe this curved line if you wish. Make sure the curve is running in the right direction, for it is easy to trace the mirror image of the curve.

    • 4

      Cut the curve with a coping is saw. A cut that is perpendicular to the length of the quarter round might work, but it is better to angle the cut a little bit, so that it approaches something that resembles a 60-degree angle. By doing this your chances are greatly increased that the second piece will fit tightly around the piece that has already been installed. If your first attempt doesn’t fit, then try again.

    • 5

      Cut the other end at a forty-five degree angle with a miter box saw and install the molding. The 45-degree cut should fit neatly against the edge of the door trim, and the end that you carved with the coping saw should wrap around the quarter round.

    • 6

      Repeat step 1 for the other wall that runs adjacent to the wall with the doorway.

    • 7

      Repeat steps 2,3,4 and 5 for the section of molding that will be placed on the other side of the doorway.

    • 8

      Span the last remaining wall with quarter round molding that is coped at both ends to fit precisely in between the molding that is already installed. You can do this with one long piece of quarter round molding (difficult ) or two pieces of molding that have one end that is coped to fit in the corner and another end that is cut at a 45-degree angle in a miter box and spliced together (This is the easier method).

Tips & Warnings

  • After cutting the end with a coping saw, you can then use a utility knife to trim any excess wood off the molding.
  • Place the molding on a workbench or saw horses when you make the cut.
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