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Shortcuts for Trim Carpenters

Learn better ways to cut and install casing, baseboard and crown molding, tricks for hanging doors and avoiding bad transitions, and other secrets of the trim carpentry profession.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Brad nailer helper

Measure from the ends to the middle

Speed coping with a miter saw

Shim the rough opening

Industrial-strength hot-melt

Craft a block for awkward transitions

Don't mark for studs

Add continuous backing for crown molding

Leave crown end loose

Don't hassle with double copes

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Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

    • Hammer
    • Miter saw
    • Air compressor
    • Air hose
    • Brad nail gun
    • Coping saw
    • Cordless drill
    • Tape measure
    • Level
    • File
    • Hot melt glue gun
    • Safety glasses

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

    • Shims
    • Finish nails
    • 2 x 4s
    • Polyurethane hot-melt glue

Comments from DIY Community Members

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February 16, 1:24 PM [GMT -5]

Great tip on measuring from the corners to a mark on the wall for inside trim! I found this out the hard way on my first crown moulding DIY - wasted pieces of moulding resulted from trying to guess the correct tape measurement.

December 24, 1:13 AM [GMT -5]

I cope baseboard on a miter saw also, but I lay it flat on the table. Most of the baseboard I use is to tall to rest against the fence.

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