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In case you’re wondering if it’s possible to cut baseboard corners without a miter saw – it totally is. Still, there is an art to accomplishing this correctly so your baseboards profile regarding both the joints alignment and baseboards angle marry up accurately to your walls and floor. There are several methods you can use, and each of them requires a different tool for cutting molding, whether it be your standard baseboards or crown molding.
Since you can choose from multiple different tools to achieve this, it should be easier for you to replace a miter saw and use something like a hand saw, jigsaw, or a regular circular saw for cutting pieces of molding, whether it be basic molding joints or a more precise angle cut.
If you have any of these tools, you’re good to go. Even if you don’t, they’re much cheaper than a miter saw, but understand, buying a compound miter saw will make any trim job much easier.
Let’s start with the trusty circular saw. The circular saw is a versatile tool that can be used to cut pieces of trim for both molding joints or a specific angle cut by adjusting the angle bracket of the circular saw. You can cut both wide or low profile baseboards using both square and straight bevel cuts, and this tool is perfect for it.
Follow these steps:
If you don’t have a circular saw, don’t worry. You can still cut baseboard corners using a hand saw and a miter box. However, you’ll need some glue, an adjustable bevel, some wood screws, a screwdriver, a carpenter’s square, and 1x6 and 1x4 lumber.
Follow the instructions closely:
Note: If this is too complicated for you, simply buy a miter box at a supply store. Also, the best type of saw for this job is dovetail or backsaw, but pull saws will also work.
Yes, a miter saw is better for installing baseboards or crown molding, but you can also use a jigsaw if you don’t have another way to cut baseboard corners or crown molding. Jigsaws are certainly cheaper than miter saws, and maybe you have one in the shed already.
You can make three types of cuts when cutting a any kind of trim such as baseboard or crown molding. You can use the miter cut, the scarf cut or the coping cut. While using a jigsaw to cut a baseboard corner or crown molding is rather difficult, it can be done with a high-speed jigsaw model with adjustable speed setting.
It should have at least 10, if not 15 blade teeth. You need a pencil, a speed square, and a tape measure for making more precise cuts. If you want to make coped joint cuts or coping corner cuts, you’ll need a coping saw too, or you can simply tilt the jigsaw to the side when attempting a coping cut.
Keep in mind though, regardless if you're working with a jigsaw or a coping saw, the latter will take some practice, especially if you're working with crown molding.
Follow the steps to make a miter cut using on a baseboard or crown molding using a jigsaw:
This method is much harder than a straight miter cut. Still, it provides a better fit, so it’s definitely worth the effort. A baseboard serves as a half of a coped corner, which fits flat against the wall, without bevel, and the jigsaw is the perfect tool for this cut.
Follow the steps to cut a coped joint or coping corner cut joints:
A scarf joint is similar to a coped corner because it merges two baseboard pieces to extend them. This is also done for better fitting, if it is slightly more difficult than the previous methods.
Here’s how to do a scarf joint:
That is how to successfully cut molding, whether it be your standard baseboard or crown molding without using a miter saw. See, you don’t need a miter saw to make these cuts, albeit you’d have an much easier time with it cutting any molding or type of baseboards. You can use a hand saw and a miter box, which is probably the hardest as you're also going to have to make the miter box. Plus using a hand saw is rather time consuming when it comes to coped or scarf joints.
The circular saw and jigsaw methods are easier – if you have these tools, you’re in luck. With the jigsaw, you have a big variety of cuts, and when you get familiar with them, you’ll make some pretty sweet finishes for your baseboards or crown molding, making installing them much easier.
Keep in mind though, if you plan on installing a significant amount of trim molding or something more complicated such as crown molding, personally, I'd bite the bullet and buy a compound miter saw. Again, this really depends on your workload and deadline.
My name is Michael McDonnell, and I’m the creator of The Tool Scout. I’m a mechanical engineer by trade with over 20 years of experience in the construction industry. I started The Tool Scout because I love talking about everything DIY related and figured I could help others with the decision-making process when it comes to selecting the right tools for the right job.
Apart from being a blue-collar kinda guy on a relatively noble quest to help others, I’m also a serial entrepreneur and an obvious lifelong Lakers fan. 🏀