Step 8: Cutting and fastening a return

cutting and fastening a return
Photo: David Carmack
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•Continue working around the room, coping inside corners and mitering outside corners.

•If the ceiling height changes and the molding must end in the middle of a wall, cap it with a return. First, make an outside miter cut, as in Step 6, at the point where the ceiling height changes. Then, take a molding scrap at least a foot long and cut an outside miter on its end. To make the wedge-shaped cap, set the saw to 90 degrees and hold the scrap with its back flat on the saw table, cutting the piece so that it comes to a point at the bottom edge. Avoid splitting the small piece by gluing the return in place rather than nailing it.

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    Tools List

    • miter saw
      Power miter saw with 10-inch carbide-tipped blade
    • drill
      Drill/driver,
      for drilling pilot holes for nails
    • 16-foot tape measure
      Tape measure
    • pneumatic finish nailer
      Pneumatic finishing nailer with 1½- to 2-inch finish nails,
      to fasten molding to wall
    • framing square
      Framing square,
      for laying out molding on walls and ceilings
    • chalk line
      Chalk line,
      for snapping installation lines on the wall
    • coping saw
      Coping saw,
      for coping molding at inside corners
    • utility knife
      Utility knife,
      for trimming coped joints
    • rasp
      Wood rasp,
      for fine-tuning coped joints
    • studfinder
      Electronic stud finder,
      for locating studs and joists
    • hammer
      Hammer

    Shopping List

    1. 4d, 6d, and 8d finish nails

    2. 1/16-inch drill bit

    3. Wood putty

    for filling nail holes



    4. Acrylic or other flexible caulk

    to seal gaps between molding and walls and ceiling



    5. Carpenter's glue

    for adhering outside corners and returns