It isn't difficult to cut and install your own baseboard trim with a moderate DIY skill level and a small selection of tools. To cut wood baseboard molding, you'll need a power miter saw and a coping saw in addition to some other common household tools. None of the tools involved are particularly specialized and serve a variety of other important carpentry applications.
A power miter saw is a powerful and versatile tool used for making crosscuts, miter cuts and compound angle cuts in wood. Miter saws are known for making very precise angled cuts. Although there are some limitations to what a miter saw can do, they are extremely versatile and offer more stability and safety than many other power cutters. Various types of miter saws are available. The basic miter saw is limited only to crosscuts and miter cuts. A compound miter saw adds bevel cuts to the available repertoire. More expensive saws add additional adjustments, allowing for more complicated cuts as well as making some basic cuts easier. For cutting baseboard, only a basic miter saw is required to make simple angled crosscuts and miter cuts.
The coping saw is an extremely flexible and precise cutting tool used for making awkward, complex or curved cuts by hand. Unlike a miter saw, a coping saw is a very simple device, described by This Old House as "a narrow blade held taut in a C-shaped frame with a simple handle." The coping saw takes its name from the "cope," a type of finishing cut used in carpentry, although the saw itself is used to make a variety of different cuts. The Family Handyman describes cutting a coped joint as "cutting the profile on the end of one molding and fitting it against another like pieces of a puzzle." When cutting baseboard molding, the coping saw is used to fit the two pieces together snugly. The outline of the molding is traced onto the side of another so the pieces can join at a 90-degree angle without any gaps.
Additional Tools and Materials
While the miter saw and coping saw are the only cutting tools required for installing baseboard molding, there are a number of additional tools you will want to keep on hand in addition to the materials required to complete the project. The DIY Network lists the required tools as a tape measure, pencil, safety glasses, utility knife, hammer, nail set, caulking gun, tri-square and 180-grit sandpaper. Home Addition Plus has a slightly more modest list of suggested tools, including only a hammer, shims, tape measure, square and carpenter's pencil.
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