Often, home do it yourselfers will cut floor moulding at a 45 degree angle for inside corners, similarly to how this is done for outside corners. This method may be slightly faster, but it only takes a little big longer to cope-cut your mouldings resulting in a cleaner look that holds up well to the changing seasons (expansion and contraction often wrecks havoc with baseboard joints). Cope-cutting a joint is also the perfect for solution in older homes where corners are not always square.
What is a coped corner?
A cope cut corner is a piece of moulding that is cut along the contour of its profile so that it fits snugly into its adjacent neighbour moulding (see figure 1).
Cope cutting a piece of moulding might seem complicated at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s actually pretty straightforward and simple to do. As you’ll see in the video however, it’s important to have a decent coping saw or you could be making extra work for yourself.
How to cut your moulding
Before you can cope a piece of moulding, you’ll need a “cut line” first. The cut line is the line you’ll follow with your coping saw. In order to find your cut line you simply face-cut your moulding at a 45 degree angle. It’s much easier to to this on a sliding mitre saw if you have one. The result is shown in Figure 2.
Now that you have your cut line, all you have to do is carefully follow the line with your coping saw. When you’re done, the result should look like the moulding labeled “Front” in figure 1.
With your moulding coped, dry-fit it with another piece of moulding (I always have a small 4″ piece kicking around for this purpose). If it doesn’t fit snuggly, you can trim a bit more using your coping saw, or use a file to take a bit more off.
To make it easy on yourself, work around the room and only cope cut ONE end of each moulding. The other end of the moulding is straight and makes it easier to cut your moulding to length AFTER you’ve done your cope cut. I ALWAYS cut my mouldings to length AFTER I’ve coped one of the ends.
See the video for more detail on how I did it. It’s not the best video I’ve done, but I was short on time today when it was recorded. I might re-do it if there’s enough demand. Happy Renos!