How to make a long, very thin tapered cut?

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Forum topic by toddhd posted 01-04-2018 03:43 AM 1934 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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6 posts in 3745 days

01-04-2018 03:43 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I have a 12 foot piece of molding I need to cut to fit. The floor is uneven, so when I place the molding, one end fits the adjoining piece of molding perfectly, but the other side is 5/16” too high due to the floor. So I need to taper cut the bottom edge of the molding, from 5/16” on one end to 0” on the other end. I do have a good tablesaw, but not much experience.

Can anyone give me advice on how to make such a slender tapered cut over a 12’ length?

Thank you

-- -Todd

21 replies so far

View Nubsnstubs's profile


1727 posts in 2536 days

#1 posted 01-04-2018 03:52 AM

Are you sure it’s the floor. The molding could be warped. In either case, nail at the good fitting end, and go to the other end. Make it fit, then nail it. 5/16” on a 12 foot run is nothing to fret over. ............ Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson)

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6 posts in 3745 days

#2 posted 01-04-2018 04:01 AM

Thanks nubsntubs, but I’m not sure what you mean by “make it fit then nail it down”. It’s not gonna fit unless I cut it. I added a photo above that might help better explain what I’m seeing. This is the end that’s off because of the poorly laid tile floor. The other end fits flush as it should.

-- -Todd

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6 posts in 3745 days

#3 posted 01-04-2018 04:03 AM

Just to be clear, it is not just the one tile at the end that is off, the entire floor gradually rises from 0” to 5/16” over a 12 foot span.

-- -Todd

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4454 days

#4 posted 01-04-2018 04:07 AM

Snap a chalk line cut with a jig saw. Hand
planes are useful too for this sort of thing.

A pencil line can be plotted out using 1/32”
increments spaced at whatever intervals would
make for a 5/16” rise over 12’. Probably straighter
that way than a chalk line, assuming the molding
is straight.

View Rayne's profile


1314 posts in 2346 days

#5 posted 01-04-2018 04:08 AM

bandsaw? might need some help holding a 12’ long piece, but it’ll let you trim that little bit free-hand.

View GR8HUNTER's profile


7666 posts in 1519 days

#6 posted 01-04-2018 04:08 AM

i would snap a chalk line and use my circular saw :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

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John Smith

2513 posts in 969 days

#7 posted 01-04-2018 04:11 AM

I see the photo now.

all the above suggestions will work…... just depends on your skill and tools available.
I have run into this situation several times before renovating older homes.
nothing to be afraid of – it is only baseboard…... if you mess it up, get another board.
experience is the best teacher.

I just purchased a 1957 home and ALL the baseboards are messed up and will be replaced.
and with sagging uneven floors, I will be addressing the same issues that you have.


-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

View toddhd's profile


6 posts in 3745 days

#8 posted 01-04-2018 04:14 AM

Thank you guys, that’s a great idea! Maybe I can clamp another board to the top of that molding as a guide, and then use the circular saw as you said. Seems a lot easier than trying to cut with the tablesaw. Or the chalk line and just freehand it as suggested. Doesn’t have to be perfect.

-- -Todd

View Nubsnstubs's profile


1727 posts in 2536 days

#9 posted 01-04-2018 04:17 AM

A picture is always worth a thousand words, but I’m gonna make it less than that. If you have a jointer, taper cut the board. in this case, start your board about 3-4 feet on the out feed table. If you don’t have a jointer, scribe a line on the board, and free cut it on your table saw, starting somewhere about midway. My above comment was thinking the floor rose some causing the board to lift.

“Make it fit” meant, if the floor was high in the middle causing the board to be lifted, a nail or two and some downward pressure would have worked. This is not the case, because the tile floor is tile thickness higher than the floor that already has the baseboard nailed. ................ Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson)

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Brian Ahern

12 posts in 953 days

#10 posted 01-04-2018 04:42 AM

Todd, I do this all the time I have a hard time explaining in words but this is what I do to get a perfect taper on the table saw,looks like you need to remove right side so flip flop my drawing

-- Brian Ahern

View Walker's profile


385 posts in 1278 days

#11 posted 01-04-2018 05:20 AM

Hand planes are useful too for this sort of thing.

- Loren

I make long tapered pieces with my hand planes all of the time….by accident! : ) I bet if I was intentionally trying to make it tapered it would come out straight.

-- ~Walker

View jerryminer's profile


960 posts in 2247 days

#12 posted 01-04-2018 07:55 AM

With 40 years in finish carpentry behind me, I’ve installed miles of baseboard.

SOP is to scribe the baseboard to the floor. A straight cut is almost never a good fit to the floor.

Shim up the low end (if there is one)—temporarily—and set a scribing tool (I use a cheap compass) to the amount of desired “drop” and mark along the bottom edge.

Cut with jigsaw, circular saw, grinder, belt sander, block plane, or whatever you like. For large amounts, I use a jig saw. Once I’m close to the line I switch to an angle grinder with a sanding disc. A back-bevel is also helpful.

-- Jerry, making sawdust professionally since 1976

View Steve's profile


2109 posts in 1388 days

#13 posted 01-04-2018 02:08 PM

I enjoyed watching this video on installing baseboard from Matthias Wandal

View JayCee123's profile


200 posts in 1571 days

#14 posted 01-04-2018 02:11 PM

i use to scribe the molding as described by Jerryminer and use an electric hand plane to approach the scribe line. If i needed to fine tune it further, I’d hit with a hand plane. Secure the molding at your bench or saw horses. I found it easier and safer to use the tool against such a long work peice, rather then trying to send the work peice through a sationary tool. Another suggestion is to back bevel the cut slightly. That makes it easier to “tap” down the moulding to fit the floor, if needed.

View DS's profile


3518 posts in 3226 days

#15 posted 01-04-2018 02:21 PM

+1 to jerryminer.
Scribing is the way to go.

For me, I would jig saw close to the line and then fine tune with my portable belt sander with a 40 grit belt.
Makes short work of something like this.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

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