Coping Baseboard Molding

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 54,596
    Professional home improvement contractor Mark Clement demonstrates coping molding for the baseboard.

    Mark Clement: Hi! I'm Mark Clement, Licensed Contractor and Tool Expert, here today to show you how to cope various moldings using the Dremel tool. Now I'm going to show you how to cope baseboard.

    Now, all coped corners start with a miter, an inside miter. We're going to set our miter saw 45 degrees. Couple of things about using a miter saw: first, you could see we've got ours secured to a very stable surface. Secondly, you want the work stable. You want to keep your hands away from the blade, especially on a power saw.

    One last thing, if you're noticing, my finger is pointing straight in line with the blade. It's an old-timer hand saw trick. Nice, clean cut! It's very important that it's square in addition to having a 45-degree angle on it.

    Now, I'm going to show you how to make the cope using the Dremel tool. There are a couple of things I want to show you before we get started. First, I want to differentiate between the two cuts I'm going to make. One, I'll show you right here, this little triangular piece is the only piece of molding that I'm actually going to cut off. The rest of it, I'm going to cut out. I'll show you that as we get started.

    The accessories I like to use, first of all, my safety glasses, are the 801 Carbide Shaping Wheel. This works in wood or like we have here, Medium-Density Fiberboard or MDF and Urethane Moldings. I'll also use the 430 Drum Sander sometimes to get into some round contoured spots. Let's get started!

    I'm going to abrade all of this off, starting first with cutting off that corner. The key with that corner is to cut it square. That's where it butts into it neat when you install it. You'll notice that I have my fingers on the molding and my thumb on here. If you've ever played basketball, you know you shoot with one hand and guide with the other, same kind of thing here, helps keep the tool stable.

    Also, I'm only going to get close to my line with the tool running full speed. It's important to notice that I'm actually cutting in a reverse angle of my miter, and want to release the back of this cut at a reverse angle. It helps the cope to lay flat by removing all obstruction behind the material. Okay, let's slow this down. Let's get a little closer to the line.

    You don't want to overcut in here. It's very, very important to be careful. If you overcut going pass the primer or the white that's on this molding, it's going to show up as an opening on your finished piece. So you want to cut right up to, without overcutting. There is no question that takes a little finesse.

    I want to make sure I approach the work and as many angles as necessary to remove that material, leave my little point up here square. I like this for MDF moldings especially right here, because these points get to be very, very fragile and break off. So let's see how we did. That cope fits wonderfully.

    Now, it takes a little more time upfront to do this than mitering, but the payoff is all right here, a nice, tight, stable inside corner. The other thing about coping that's a real payoff is, you can cope all your ends before you measure and install a single piece, you can tell right away, if your corner is going to work.

    So those are the basics of coping baseboard. Up next, we're going to cope some chair rail.