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Thread: Cutting wood molding

  1. #1

    Default Cutting wood molding

    Hello again--

    Still on this kitchen project but can see light at end of the tunnel.
    My question now concerns cutting wood molding for horizontal trim. Am using "cap molding #202" made by IP Moulding. It has a flat area approx. 3/4 inch wide with a "foot" approx. 3/8 inch wide. I'm using it upside down to trim along paneling above the cabinets. This paneling is approx 1/4 thick and sets on outside top edge of cabinet. The molding "foot" will cover the edge of paneling where it meets the cabinet.

    I'm using a chop (miter) saw. In cutting test pieces for an inside corner, I have that small opening where they join that would need filling. I have inside and outside corners to do and would really like for them to butt as they should. Am setting the saw on a 45 degree setting per side. Any help would be appreciated.

    (BTW--on the saw scale there are settings on each side for "31.6 and 22.5"--anyone know what thy are? Roofing cuts maybe??)
    Last edited by LEFTRIDEG; November 5th, 2015 at 05:22 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    LaLa Land, NW Ohio


    A true 90 degree corner in a house is a fantasy.. It doesn't exist. You will need to measure it.. It could be 93 degrees or 85 or such. Mitered joints are unforgiving when they are off by even a few degrees. They are tricky.

    You will need an angle finder and a protractor (yeah, that thing you thought you'd never use again after you were finished with Trig in school). Luckily, these are both cheap. Find the angle of the wall and divide it in half. Set the angle finder to what you need and use it to adjust the saw. Don't trust the scale on your saw. The stops on the saw are for common exact sizes. Set the angle finder against the fence of the saw and hold the stop button down and move it until the blade is touching the angle finder. Keep the button held down and with your third hand tighten up the angle adjust knob and then release the button. If you let the button up before it's tightened it will move the saw out of adjustment and click into the notch.

    The nice thing is that you can flip the angle finder over and check the other side of the blade to double check your work. If the angle is 43 degrees, then the other side will be 137 degrees (90 degrees + 47 degrees). Both sides will always add up to 180 degrees. While you are at it, use a square and make sure your blade is perpendicular to your saw table.

    Make practice cuts first to make sure it's set up correctly and so that you get the feel. Start with the longest piece, so that you can cut it up and use it on the shorter pieces if you screw up. You will need to cut all your pieces with the same side of the saw blade, or turn the blade the other direction and set it up again. The only time you can use both sides of the blade is at 45 and 90 degree cuts.

    If you have a square cut at the other end, cut your angle first then cut it to length. If you have angle cuts at both ends it can get hard. Measure from the back of the piece you are cutting (the longer dimension). If you need to join 2 pieces together ( or screw up and are short), cut the pieces at a exact 45 degree angle and the joint will be less visible. (use a tri or speed square that has a 45 degree angle, dont trust the stop or scale until you know it's accurate).

    Sounds like a pain? Well, there's a easier way that will usually work. It's called coping. It involves cutting 1 piece square and attaching it, then using a coping saw you cut the profile of front of the trim into the side and it will almost always create a tight joint. It also involves almost no measuring and just a simple trace and cut on the line. You can google it and you will find many how-to's. It doesnt work for all styles of trim though.

    22.5 is half of 45 degrees. The 31.6 is used for compound cuts for crown molding.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Kent, WA


    Another common problem is going the wrong way with the saw. If the wall is 90 degrees things are easy -- you do a 45 degree cut. If the wall is is 96 degrees, each miter cut should be at 42 degrees -- just the opposite of what you'd think. If the wall is 80 degrees, you'd set the miter saw to 50 degrees.

    The equation is 45 - (wall angle - 90) / 2. Not a good equation if you don't remember how to add/subtract negative numbers and to do division before addition/subtraction.

    Or, remember that obtuse walls (greater than 90 degrees), you cut smaller than 45 degrees. Acute walls (less than 90 degrees), you cut larger than 45 degrees.

    One degree makes a big difference when trying to make tight molding.
    Kent, WA

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