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Old 02-23-2009, 06:50 AM   #1
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Baseboard mitres / MDF


I just read a post on casing mitres. I am fussy and don't want any gaps in my new MDF baseborads. While most of my inside corners are close to 90 degrees and my mitres look great I have several outside corners where steel corner beeds are causing a royal pain and the walls are not at 90 degrees to each other. Trial and error has left me with a growing pile of 6" scrap.
These walls are plaster board with a thin skim coat? over them and there is a visible flare at the corners of some. Several archways are slighlty off 90 degrees as well. I have actually sand the lower 4" with a block to true up the plaster and create a level surface and inside corner and this helped a lot but the outside corners aren't as easy to do unless I fill and paint and they still won't be 90 degrees.
I would rather have a clean square baseborad edge and carefully caulk and gaps than have an out of square basebord wrapping aound capping these outer corners.
Any pointers would be appreciated

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Old 02-23-2009, 07:26 AM   #2
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Baseboard mitres / MDF


Make up some sample blocks and mark them out carefully. Two for a 90 degree, two for a 91 degree, two for 89 degree. Put them on a key chain. You could even do a few more for out of bevel angles. Try them out as you go to determine what blocks are going to work and then cut them. Some may be 90 1/2 but you can determine that from using the blocks. Make sure to make them long enough so that you can account for a long baseboard as it sits on the wall...minimum of 12 inches.

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Old 02-23-2009, 08:17 AM   #3
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Baseboard mitres / MDF


Jarosbros' suggestion is a good one for sure. Sometimes it also helps to cope (or use a rasp) the back of the base out maybe 1/8" so the corner itself isn't keeping the joint from closing.

Inside corners can be mitered but they'll almost certainly open up. Inside corners should be coped instead of mitered.
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Old 02-23-2009, 09:44 AM   #4
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Baseboard mitres / MDF


At the start of any crown job (and this can be applied to your baseboard job) I sacrifice two 3' ( three foot) pieces of molding that will be repeatedly used for testing miter angle cuts on any corner that doesn't test out true with an angle gauge (a framing square will do to an extent)

I never worry about inside corners because I cope. they take care of themselves.

But the outside corners almost always get a "trial cut-and-fit" with my test pieces. Add or subtract to or from 45 degrees (standard corner) by 1/2 degree increments till the two pieces fit perfectly.

Then (and this is important) mark the test pieces with your cut angle.

Now cut your install pieces to that angle.

So why did you mark the angle on the test pieces? You will find that most individual drywall finishers tend to set their corner bead and finish it fairly consistently for all their corners. This means most of their corners will have identical characteristics or problems. Some other finisher may screw up in other ways.

Most of your corners will come out pretty close to the last one you did, as far as cut angle is concerned. BUT if it doesn't, having the previous cut setting marked on your test piece allows you to easily tell what you need to do to the saw setting to make a correct joint. (You or someone else might have changed the saw setting since the last cut.)

Crown is expensive (and baseboard ain't cheap either) so you don't want to waste it. You want to be able to use those two test pieces for the entire job. The less cuts you make on them... and the smaller the sliver of wood shaved off each time... the longer those two test pieces will last you. If you don't mark them each time, you may end up cutting them shorter and shorter at a much faster rate than necessary to find the right angle for each corner. It's also faster, and time really IS money.
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Last edited by Willie T; 02-23-2009 at 09:57 AM.
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Old 02-23-2009, 11:57 AM   #5
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Baseboard mitres / MDF


I heard of an easy way to do this some years back when I was workin on a movie set. Several of us were doing the "cut, fit, cut again.." and one of the older guys walked by, just shook his head. I bugged him for a few days - what???? finally he said to me "half the reciprocal"

firstly you have to have some sort of device to measure the angle of the corner, lots of those elecronic things out there now, or there are plastic ones available too.

I am going to talk about the outside corner as that's the one that's an issue, and coping takes care of the inside corners. (although this is the same for inside corners)

360 deg in a circle - your corner if its perfectly square is 270 degrees.

360 - 270 = 90 deg. 1/2 of 90? 45- which is where you set your saw at.

or if the corner is out by a couple of degrees, say its 274

so 360-274 = 86 deg. 1/2 of 86 deg? 43 - set your saw at 43 deg.

there is a short cut that I use though

I just assume that the corner is "about" 90 deg. so I measure it - I get a measurement of 88 deg. (depends upon the devise you use to measure, but its easy to do in your head)

so I need the reciprocal!!! long and short of it is- 92! I got that fast, I just think however far its off of 90 deg, then I add (or subtract) that same amount to 90 deg.

so in my above example my measurement is 88 deg. that's two deg short of 90, so I add two deg to 90, and I get 92 Deg. 1/2 of 92 deg? 46 deg, and this is where you set your saw.

this assumes that you are cutting the base board face out or face up, which I do to avoid break out by the saw blade.

good luck!


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Old 02-23-2009, 12:12 PM   #6
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Baseboard mitres / MDF


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Originally Posted by jaros bros. View Post
Make up some sample blocks and mark them out carefully. Two for a 90 degree, two for a 91 degree, two for 89 degree. Put them on a key chain. .
I Like that Idea Jaros. BOB
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Old 02-23-2009, 02:06 PM   #7
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Baseboard mitres / MDF


Using your 88 degree example.............

Wouldn't it be a heck of a lot simpler to say "OK, I need two more degrees to make 90."

"I cut with a 45 normally (in a perfect world) and I need two more degrees..... That's one degree added to each of the 45 pieces making the corner... or 46."

There's a reason people drive automatics. Effective is a lot better than impressive.

But, readers, I would STILL suggest that very inexpensive trial cut on the two 3' pieces. One wrong calculation can cost you $50 - $80 real quick. And after a while you run out of places to use up those mistakes.
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Old 02-23-2009, 03:18 PM   #8
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Using your 88 degree example.............

Wouldn't it be a heck of a lot simpler to say "OK, I need two more degrees to make 90."

"I cut with a 45 normally (in a perfect world) and I need two more degrees..... That's one degree added to each of the 45 pieces making the corner... or 46."

There's a reason people drive automatics. Effective is a lot better than impressive.

But, readers, I would STILL suggest that very inexpensive trial cut on the two 3' pieces. One wrong calculation can cost you $50 - $80 real quick. And after a while you run out of places to use up those mistakes.

Willie, you're right- my explanation is a bit "long hand" it all depends I guess on how you approach the work - doing this is so fast that I had to slow down to think, how'd that work?

my biggest problem with doing baseboards? my knees can't take it anymore! LOL


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Old 02-23-2009, 03:59 PM   #9
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Baseboard mitres / MDF


Well, I'm a very simple person... mostly simple minded... I don't even divide a long measurement in half to find the center if it's not real obvious.

I measure from both directions to the "eyeballed" center, then divide that much smaller distance (usually an inch or three) by quickly sliding the surface of the tape to equal references, left and right, then mark that center.
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Old 02-23-2009, 07:53 PM   #10
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how do you figure out the what the radius is of an outside corner?

PS, try using one of these two types of miter clamps.

I like to put the outside corners together first with brads and glue and with these clamps for a few minutes for the glue to set up then nail it off to the wall
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Old 02-23-2009, 08:03 PM   #11
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Baseboard mitres / MDF


Make your life real easy:

http://www.amazon.com/Starrett-505A-...5440910&sr=8-2

It will not only give you the angle it will tell you what to set your saw at for the two mitered pieces as well.

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Old 02-24-2009, 04:49 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by II Weeks View Post
how do you figure out the what the radius is of an outside corner?

PS, try using one of these two types of miter clamps.

I like to put the outside corners together first with brads and glue and with these clamps for a few minutes for the glue to set up then nail it off to the wall

those clamps look handy. I use some industrial super glue that I get from Lee Valley -I just dab it on, then spray the kicker- hold the pieces together for a few seconds- tada! done.
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Old 02-24-2009, 10:09 AM   #13
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Baseboard mitres / MDF


You shouldn’t have to worry about the outside radius of your bullnose corner. I imagine there are larger bullnose, but all I have ever run across is ¾”. And that is what you cut your small block to on the bottom edge. The top will fall where it is supposed to.

What may give you some pause is how far to run your first long piece, so as to not be long or short. I do this with a pre-constructed corner mock-up, about a foot long in both directions. It may not fit exactly, depending upon whether or not you have a good 90 degree corner to work with. But it will be sufficient for you to determine where to end the first long piece. Cut that piece with a right-hand outside corner cut with your saw set to 22-½.

But how to cut the little center piece? Well, I only cut by the bedded method, so I’ll explain that.

First of all, as you should do on all outside corners, use your protractor angle tool to determine the angle of the corner. Divide that angle by 4. Set your saw angle to that.

To keep it simpler, we will assume that our example corner is a true 90, and that dividing 90 by 4, you will be working with 22-½ degrees.

Set up for a right-hand outside corner cut with your saw pivoted to the right to 22-½, and your molding on the left, upside-down, and properly bedded against the table base and the fence. Now make a cut.

Leaving the molding where it is, release the angle lock, and move the blade to a left-22 ½ degree setting. Mark ¾” on the bottom of the molding which is still upside-down, bedded against the fence.

Make a cut, being sure to just barely leave the pencil mark showing. You now have a corner piece, ready to use.

When you install this, don’t fight it by trying to hold all three pieces up there and wedge that little piece in the gap. That’s a pain. Instead, super glue the small piece to the first long piece you’ve already cut. Tack that in place.

Now you have a point to which you can measure for the other long piece.

Not really difficult at all, is it?

At this point, I will take the time to give a stern warning. Don’t play the math whiz! We all make mistakes. And when you do it with crown molding, it costs you dearly. Both in time and cost of wasted material. Make mockups! Be sure that by doing this you did, indeed, cut your first little corner piece correctly.
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Old 02-25-2009, 05:54 AM   #14
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Baseboard mitres / MDF


Thanks for all the tips. I did cut some samples but didn't mark the degrees. But going forward I'll have some great ideas.
A few years ago I pick up a profile duplicator when I first tried my hand at coping. Handy device.
I figured there had to be an item like this protractor around but it didin't click as to what it was till I saw the link.

I remember meeting an old European guy a few years ago,a finishing carpenter who specialised in custom built stairs . He was a true craftsman, learned his trade in the old country as a kid. He showed me the trim in his house.I am fussy and take pride in my work but I was in awe of his detailing.

He could also build a frame or square his casing perfectly without a tape measure... some sort of angle trick he did corner to corner with a piece of string and he was brutally fast as well as accurate... anybody know this trick. I know the theory just don't remember the actual trick here.
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Old 02-25-2009, 06:06 AM   #15
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He could also build a frame or square his casing perfectly without a tape measure... some sort of angle trick he did corner to corner with a piece of string and he was brutally fast as well as accurate... anybody know this trick. I know the theory just don't remember the actual trick here.
sounds like he used the string the same as you would a tape measure. You adjust the square until the opposite corners are the same.

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