Miter saws are essential tools for any woodworker. They ensure that you cut through just any baseboard you want. Using a miter saw is pretty easy once you have understood how it works. This guide will show you how to cut baseboard with a miter saw conveniently. Miter saws cut through bevel angles, miter angles, inside or outside corners, and every other baseboard angle you need to touch. Are you unsure if you can pull off a do-it-yourself miter saw baseboard cutting? No need to worry. You require the least woodworking skills to execute a baseboard cut. To enjoy a hitch-free cutting experience, all you need to do is follow the safety steps below.
The very first thing you need to start with is your tools checklist. You’ll need your miter saw, baseboards, and also safety gear. Since you will be working with loud and sharp power tools, protection is necessary. It would be best if you protect your eyes with safety goggles. Also, you must make use of earplugs to protect your ears. Your lungs also need protection; don a dust mask while working with the miter saw on the baseboard. Some health complications may arise when you expose your nose and inhale sawdust. Always watch the positioning of your fingers. Be conscious of where the blade will cut the wood; keep your fingers at a safe distance before you flick the switch.
An important tip to remember is never to wear gloves while handling a saw. Wearing gloves will deny you the full sensory input required to navigate the saw safely. The essential tools required for cutting baseboards are pencils, a tape measure, a miter saw (either power or compound), a stud finder, painter’s tape, nail gun and nails, sandpaper, and a hand sander.
You may also consider placing scrap wood between the molding and fence. Placing the scarp wood stops the small offcuts from being sucked into the blade or scattered around the room.
Why Use a Miter Saw?
Although there are many cutting saws, miter saws deliver clean and accurate cuts. One incredible miter saw feature is the ability to deliver miter angles. For context, miter angles are usually short and sharp cuts made at 90 degrees. The substitute to miter saws – the extendable table saw will get the work done. However, it will not always be as clean and precise as the miter saw. The use of miter saws has transformed the world of exterior finish works. Miter saws execute most siding and decking jobs. Over the years, it has also reshaped how interior trims are cut. The functions of a miter saw make it a versatile tool.
Miter saws are perhaps the best heavy-duty tools in the workshop. Its wide cutting capacity to accommodate thick framing materials is remarkable. The miter saw has few moving parts, reducing the need for regular realignment. It is also very portable. Hence, the ease with which it is moved about in-between jobs.
That being said, here are the steps to follow for accurate and neat baseboard cuts.
Step 1: Take accurate measurements
Using your meter rule or tape, measure the length you want to cut twice and cut it once. Take your time while executing this step. You might fail to make the right measurement because you are in a hurry.
Carefully measure out the walls starting from one corner to the other. The lengths on these walls represent the length of the boards you intend to cut. Use a stud finder to determine where the studs are situated on your wall. Next, measure and mark out the locations of the studs.
Step 2: Set your saw angle
The saw angle you will set on your saw depends on the baseboard angle you want to come up with. To get the ideal angle you need to cut, you must use a protractor. The angles are mostly close to 90 degrees for fairly new or newly built houses.
However, it is better to always measure your angles before cutting instead of assuming. You may decide to cut all your pieces at 45 degrees to produce 90-degree edges only to discover slightly different angles during coupling. Other factors to consider when setting your miter saw angle are the cutting capacity of the saw and the baseboard height.
Step 3: Get your inside corner cuts right
Before you begin cutting, you need to note the number of inside corner cuts you have. For a four-walled apartment, you will need four inside corner cuts. Hence, you will adjust your miter saw angle to 45 degrees and the miter at 0 degrees.
Next, mark the back of your board with a pencil and follow the line when cutting. Grip the saw with one hand and use the other to secure the board. Gently lower the blade towards the baseboard until the blade cuts through the wood. Move the blade through the wood without applying too much pressure until you completely make your cut. To cut an inside corner, position the baseboard to cut off the face or profile.
Step 4: Make the outside corner cuts
You may decide to retain the settings from the inside corner cut for the outside corner. Per your measurements, cut through the baseball such that the front side is a bit longer than the backside, and this ensures that you easily join the corners after cutting. As always, keep the pressure low to avoid wastage of good wood. Set the baseboard to cut off the back when getting an outside corner.
Step 5: Make your square cuts
If you have chosen to assemble your baseboards squarely, you need a different approach. Square cuts are not joined from end to end at 45 degrees, and for square cuts, we join straight boards perpendicularly to form a joint. Instead of setting the miter to 45 degrees in corner cuts, we set it at 90 degrees.
Step 6: Test the baseboard to check the cut’s accuracy
When you’re done working with the baseboard on the saw stand, position the baseboard on the wall as you would when installing it. It will help you ascertain if the base fits correctly. There may be a need to trim if the board is too tight. You should trim 1/16 inch from one end of the baseboard and place it against the wall to see if it fits. Once you see that the baseboard fits well on the wall, you can take it off and move on to the next piece you need to cut.
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How to Install the Baseboards Cut from Miter Saws
The easiest step in cutting and assembling baseboards with miter saws is the installation. You need to place each baseboard at the exact location you marked out on the wall earlier. While placing each baseboard, be careful not to misplace one for another. Ensure that each baseboard matches the area you measured before cutting commenced.
Upon confirmation, you may now begin screwing or nailing your molding. A quick tip for the best baseboard installation is to use the correct screw or nail lengths. Ensure that you attach each baseboard molding with a brad or finish nails that are not longer than two inches. The best nails/screws should be around one and a half inches as a rule of thumb. Also, you must attach baseballs to the studs on the wall to ease installation.
Cutting baseboards with a miter saw may be difficult at the beginning. The best way to get your cuts right is by practicing. It may take a while to get the different angles right and the technique required for each cut. However, the miter saw facilitates fast and accurate cuts. It would be best to observe experts operate the miter saw to get tips and proper guidance.
Before you embark on cutting baseboards with a miter saw, observe the safety steps. Miter saws can be dangerous if you do not use them correctly, especially for first time users.
To not waste good wood when you are cutting, practice scrap trimmings by changing the degrees for each angle and cutting. To get the best out of your woodcutting experience, you should consider marking out a designated work area where you’ll execute your work; a cutting station. Scrap lumbers come in handy when you set up an efficient saw stand. However, you can work on cutting small moldings on the floor.
There are a variety of miter saws available in the market. Ensure you understand what a particular saw can offer you before purchasing it. Other than observing safety measures to protect yourself, ensure proper maintenance and care of the saw. Perform routine checks for any damaged parts and make sure to get them fixed. A miter saw is indispensable in the workshop when used properly.