Is it time to cut baseboard for your latest remodel project? Using a miter saw for baseboards is probably the quickest and easiest way, but what if you don’t have a miter saw hanging around?
Can you cut baseboard cleanly and accurately without a miter saw? Absolutely.
There are a number of different ways depending on what tools you have to hand and how much labor you are willing to invest in the project.
The main goal will be to make sure the finished product aligns perfectly with the adjoining pieces, the wall, and the floor.
You can cut baseboards without a miter saw using one of these 3 techniques:
- Using a circular saw
- Using a hand saw
- Using a jigsaw
But what about going beyond a straight miter cut? If you wanted the clean finish of a coped miter joint?
This can be done with a jigsaw as well, and we will show you how.
How To Cut Baseboard Corners With Circular saw
If you don’t have a miter saw, the handy circular saw is the next best alternative for ease of use and flexibility.
It can handle molding joints but also other angled cuts by adjusting its angle bracket. It makes both square or straight bevel cuts on high or low baseboard widths.
To use a circular saw, follow these steps:
1. Put the pivot bit in your drill and drill four holes in each corner block piece of trim. There should be two holes at the top and bottom, not too close together, all the way around in every direction.
2. Place a block in one corner and use a level to make sure it is straight. To give greater stability, hammer trim nails through the holes on the block’s exposed sides. The nails should go right into the wall.
3. Use a nail set to sink the nail heads. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for every corner in the room.
4. Measure between two corner blocks from inside edge to inside edge and mark the length on a piece of trim. Measure and mark the adjoining piece of trim. Make sure your pencil lines are straight by using a t-square.
5. Cut the trim slowly and carefully along the lines with your circular saw.
6. Lay the cut trim edge to edge between the corner blocks, making sure the cut edges align evenly.
7. Every 15 inches, drill pilot holes along both the top and bottom of the piece of baseboard. Nail in place with finish nails and sink each one. Repeat with all the baseboard trim.
How To Cut Baseboard Corners With Jigsaw
If you don’t have the luxury of a miter saw, but you do have the popular jigsaw, you can use that tool to cut your baseboards.
For precise cuts, your saw should have at least 10 blade teeth, and 15 would be even better. You will also need a tape measure, a pencil, and a speed square.
To make a straight miter cut with a jigsaw follow these steps:
1. Measure the baseboard from the end to the cutting point, and mark the cutting point. Use the speed square to determine the cutting line and trace it.
2. As you pick up the jigsaw, the blade should start on the waste side of the cutting line. Place the shoe flat on the baseboard.
The baseboard should be securely clamped with enough distance from the floor or the workbench to keep the jigsaw from making contact with either.
3. Let the jigsaw reach full speed before you slowly guide it along the cut line. If you prefer, you can use the speed square to guide the shoe instead.
How To Cut Baseboard Corners With Hand saw
Most people have a hand saw around, and though it lacks the speed and finesse of a power saw, the reliable hand saw can get the job done.
The issue is to get the correct angle. For this you want a miter box, either handmade or store bought.
If you want to make your own miter box, here is what to do:
1. Gather your supplies: 2 lengths 1×4 of 12” long lumber, and 2 foot long lengths of 1×6 lumber. Any straight, smooth, non-warped wood will do, but oak is ideal. You will also need wood glue, ½” wood screws, a screwdriver, a bevel, a pencil, and a carpenter’s square.
2. Create a 4 inch open box by squeezing glue along the lengths of the 1×4 lumber pieces and putting the 1×6 lumber pieces along the edges onto the glue lines.
3. Use ½” wood screws to secure the 1×4 and 1×6 pieces together.
4. Use the pencil to mark the top of the box on both sides where the 45-degree angle is shown by the bevel. Grab the carpenter’s square and draw a line straight down the outside, from where the angled line intersects to the bottom of the box.
5. Take the hand saw and line it up with the angle’s top edges and cut from top to bottom. Be sure that the ends of the hand saw stay in line with the perpendicular line on the outside of the box.
Yes, this is a little complicated, and it may be easier to buy an inexpensive miter box!
Once you have your miter box and you have measured your baseboard, place the end in the box.
Hold the side of the baseboard firmly against the side of the box.
Make sure there is a mark on the baseboard to show you the length of the slit you need.
Hold the saw within the slit of the box as you cut the board.
How To Cut Coped Joints
A jigsaw can also complete a coped cut on a baseboard. This is more challenging than a straight cut, but it leads to better results. You may want to practice with some scrap wood before attempting this on the baseboard.
1. Cut the baseboard to the correct length, cutting with a bevel cut at the end.
2. Take the jigsaw and do a back cut along the baseboard’s curve.
3. Clamp the baseboard securely to your bench.
4. On the backside of the baseboard, use the jigsaw to make a curved 45-degree angle cut.
5. File the edge or use sandpaper to finish. The socket of the back cut should fit the front of the other side of your baseboard.
Yes! You don’t need a compound miter saw to cut baseboard. Of the alternatives listed here, the most difficult is the hand saw, especially if you build your own miter box.
If you buy a box and only have a few pieces to cut, it is an inexpensive option.
The circular and jig saws offer more speed and flexibility than the hand saw.
However, if you have a large job requiring a large amount of baseboard, you may want to consider investing in the miter saw.