Canadian Woodworking

My baseboard mission is almost complete

Blog by Rob Brown
From robs bench

Before Christmas I wrote about the simple task of installing baseboard in about half of the house. It was going to go really quickly, take almost no energy out of me and be done before I knew it. I was also going to pop some crown moulding in place right after the baseboard was done.

That was three weeks ago, and I’ve almost got the baseboards finished. Well, they’re in, they just need a few coats of paint. They even look pretty good, as far as I’m concerned. And since I’m the only one who gets to say otherwise (because I’m the only one who worked on them), it looks like everyone loves them. Another job well done!

I haven’t been working on this job daily. I’m not that awful at trim carpentry. Between a few days off for the holidays, magazine deadlines, editing articles for our Apr/May issue and a few other miscellaneous shop jobs, I’ve been busy doing other things.

You might recall my ultra-simple and lightning fast miter jig (blog post published Dec. 18, 2021) I made to trim the baseboard to size with minimal airborne dust. Although it didn’t work well for the baseboards, I just couldn’t let that miter jig go. Once the baseboard was in, and I only needed to cut and install the smaller quarter round, I revisited the jig. I’m glad I did, as it worked as well in real life as it did in my mind. Seriously, how often is that the case?

Simple, virtually dust-free cuts

I find trimming small pieces to length on my power miter saw not a lot of fun. Years ago, when I was learning to work wood, I was cutting 1/2″ x 1/2″ pieces to length for a piece of furniture and one of them exploded on me. Ever since then I’ve shied away from cutting thin workpieces on the miter saw. To be clear, I think there’s a way to do it safely, but I just never even try this approach anymore. A fence extension to back up the thin workpiece during the cut is a great addition to a miter saw, but I reach for a Japanese hand saw or one of my table saw crosscut or miter jigs. Also, because I had a bunch of shorter pieces of quarter round to cut, it’s so much safer to do that by hand.

Anyways, back to the wonderful jig that failed me miserably a few weeks ago. I brought the fences closer together, rotated them to make the necessary 45° cuts, aligned the kerfs in the two fences and smiled. This was going to work great. And it somehow did. To crosscut a piece of quarter round I aligned the pencil mark with the kerfs, inserted my saw in the kerfs, made about 10 strokes back and forth, and voila! This whole process took me about five seconds per cut. And each cut, while it wasn’t perfect, was more than acceptable for trim work.

The lengths of quarter round were cut, positioned and pinned in place before filling any holes and gaps. The quarter round was by far the most enjoyable part of this trim job.

For the next few days, every time I entered the living and dining area I had a hard time not spending at least a few seconds admiring my work. Imagine how impressed I’d be if I knew what I was doing.

Now, if anyone can tell me where I put my semi-gloss trim paint, I’ll finish this little project off.

By the way, I’ve stored the 16′ lengths of crown moulding in the basement for now. I’m too tired of this type of work to continue with it right now. And the thought of doing this all again, except 8′ in the air, really doesn’t sound like fun.

Last modified: January 19, 2022

Rob Brown - [email protected]

Rob is a studio furniture maker and the editor at Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement. Instagram at @RobBrownTeaches


  1. I think I may have commented similarly on another one of your projects. When one is relatively new at woodworking, reading your experiences is like looking over your shoulder and learning. I sure appreciate the info and your writing style!

  2. Painting the quarter round first would have saved a pile of time. Even if you decided to fill the nail holes (I hope you used a 23g pin nailer), you don’t have to worry about the cutting in next to the floor…

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