Step 3: Scribe for a tight fit

installing baseboard
Photo: Craig Raine
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Without changing the spread of the compass's legs, hold the pencil on the baseboard and the point against the floor. Slide the compass along the floor over the board's length, keeping the points aligned vertically.

With a circular saw set for a 2- to 5-degree bevel, cut alongside the scribe line so the face of the cut will be on the side toward the wall. Trim the beveled edge down to the line with a block plane. When the scribed baseboard is put back on the wall, its top edge should line up with the chalk line snapped in Step 2.

Tip: Beveling the board's bottom edge makes it much easier to scribe-fit.

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    Tools List

    • miter saw
      Compound miter saw,
      for straight and angled crosscuts
    • coping saw
      Coping saw,
      for cutting copes in the ends of molding
    • four-foot level
      4-foot level,
      for finding low spots on floor and marking height of baseboard
    • circular saw
      6-inch circular saw,
      for ripping back-bevels in trim
    • speed square
      Speed Square,
      for guiding crosscuts made with a circular saw
    • 30-foot tape measure
      25-foot tape measure
    • pencil compass
      Compass (for scribing
    • block plane
      Block plane,
      for tuning the fit of a scribed piece
    • biscuit joiner
      Biscuit joiner,
      for cutting slots in miter joints
    • chalk line
      Chalk line,
      for snapping the lines that establish baseboard height
    • hammer
      Hammer or pneumatic nail gun
    • nailset
      Nail set

    Shopping List

    1. BASEBOARD MOLDING

    2. CAP MOLDING

    3. SHOE MOLDING

    4. 6D AND 8D FINISH NAILS

    5. NO. 10 COMPRESSED WOOD BISCUITS
    (for holding together baseboard miters)

    6. CARPENTER'S GLUR
    (for adhering joints)