I hope that title didn’t mislead you into thinking we would be talking about how I cope being a working mother, or how I cope being home alone all day, or how I cope with my children growing up in the blink of an eye.  Nope, we are going to talk about a different type of coping…how to cope baseboard for almost perfect corners (because nothing is perfect, nor need be).

Coping was one of those things that always seemed like a nice idea but it never really clicked.  On past trim projects we have always just cut corners at a 45 degree angle and called it good.  I didn’t want good for my basement baseboard project, I wanted great.

I studied up on coping again and found a method that finally clicked.  This short video on coping struck a chord with me and I had an ah-ha moment.  It gave me the confidence to try coping again.  I never knew you were supposed to cut a 45 degree angle to start with.

To get nice pretty corners on my chunky white baseboard, I have been getting chummy with a new tool.  My coping saw.  Coping saws are less than $10.  They have a very narrow blade designed to navigate tight corners with ease…or as much ease as a handsaw can have.

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Coping an Inside Baseboard Corner

Install your first baseboard with a 90 degree cut into the corner (board on the right in the picture below).  Cut the opposing baseboard at a 45 degree angle in what seems like the wrong direction (board on the left in the picture below).

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Now using a coping saw cut the profile back at the opposite 45 degree angle.  The profile to follow with the saw is where the primer meets bare wood.  On this piece I used a pencil to mark the profile.

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You have to make sure to keep the saw angled back at 45 degrees.

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The resulting piece you cut off will be triangular.

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The coped edge of that baseboard now matches the profile of the other baseboard.

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When you put them together, the seam is much less noticeable than straight 45 degree angles.  The difference with coping versus cutting 45 degree angles on both boards is most noticeable if you have a corner that isn’t perfectly square, which is often.  Unless the corner is a perfect 90 degrees, there would be a gap the whole length of the seam where the two angled pieces meet.  That type of gap is difficult to conceal with caulk.  With coping you avoid that problem.

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This was my first attempt at coping for this baseboard project.  It is not perfect, but I will get better with practice…and I have a lot more corners in the basement to practice on.  After a little caulk and paint touch up, you can’t even tell there is a seam.

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Have I told you how much I LOVE my chunky white baseboard?!?!  I have started working on the baseboard in the family room and love how finished it makes the whole space look.

5 Responses to How I Cope

  1. Sarah says:

    I had no idea what “coping” was until 5 minutes ago! We haven’t had to install any baseboards – we’re still renting, but I KNOW this will come in handy when we finally buy a house.
    Sarah

  2. Lisa says:

    Oooh! Thank you for this post. I had no idea about coping (this one anyway) so I’m going to use it on my baseboard project. I will watch the video when I’m not at work, but I’m wondering if it shows you how to create the 45 deg angle.

    • Jackie says:

      Yes Lisa. Sorry I left that part out…I did not even think of it. In the video he uses a compound miter saw, and I do the same (I borrowed my brother’s saw). You can also make the 45 degree angle cut with a simple miter box and hand saw, but will be limited on the size of wood you can cut based on the size of the miter box. Most home centers rent miter saws too, and it is totally worth it for the time-saving factor to use power tools.

  3. Natalie says:

    Wow! What fantastically helpful info. I have wanted to tackle a couple of projects but didn’t want them to look botched. I could fake being a pro with this kind of help:–)

  4. Gary says:

    Jackie, thank you for explaining “coping”. I had read how to cope a corner on some other websites, but I didn’t click for me either. It clicks for me the way you explain it. The concept is relatively easy. The tough part appears to be keeping the 45 degree angles and cutting straight lines.

    Gary

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