Mitering 101



These instructions are for the Excel Miter Box and saw as pictured below:

This miter box is capable of cutting straight cuts and 45º angles on wood, plastic and very light metal up to 1 ¼” deep.  You will notice a “lip” on the edge of the miter box.  This allows you to put the box on the edge of your table to prevent it from sliding.  The edge with the lip is the “front” of the miter box.

Let’s start with cutting dollhouse baseboard, as it is easier to visualize than cutting crown molding.   We assume a room with only 3 walls (front and two sides).   Always cut the piece for the front wall first.  It will have 2 cuts:  a 45º at each end.  

Take your piece of baseboard and prepare to miter one end:

This is the baseboard.


Place it in your miter box against the back rail with the “good side” facing you and top up.  Our goal is to cut a 45º at the left end, with minimal waste.  A small clamp can help hold the piece in place!

For this cut, you will use the miter saw as it is pictured above…(right slot on the front rail and left slot on the back rail).  Saw gently back and forth till you get to the bottom!

Then, we need to measure for length.  EASY WAY:  Hold the piece you just cut against the edge of the house at the room in which the piece will go. 

IF your corners are all square, the front wall and back wall are the same length!

Use a sharp pencil or blade to make a mark on the top edge of the baseboard at the length of the wall.

Put the piece of baseboard back into the miter box again against the back rail with the “good side” facing you and top up.  This time, you will be using the opposite slots than your first cut (LEFT slot on the front rail and RIGHT slot on the back rail).  Line up the piece of baseboard so that the mark you made is at the INNER edge of the slot on the back rail.  As you pick up your saw, make sure you are cutting at the line!  Cut.  


With good “square” corners and measuring, your piece should fit exactly!  If it is a bit too long, you can shorten it by sawing or sanding gently.  If it’s a tiny bit too short, that’s okay; if you cut way too short, use that piece elsewhere.  For now, let it sit against the wall.  NOTE:  I always start with the room with the longest front wall!  Eventually, this means less waste!

Your next two cuts will be for the side walls.  For the RIGHT wall, cut the LEFT end of your piece of baseboard using the RIGHT front slot and left rear slot.  

Once cut, put this piece in the house (tight against the RIGHT wall and the front piece of baseboard.  Make a mark on the top of the baseboard at the edge of your wall. 


Put the piece back in the miter box.  This time, you will make a straight cut.  Line the mark up with the center slots, verify that the mark lines up with your saw, and cut! 


Repeat for the LEFT wall using the LEFT front slot.

You now have one room of baseboard cut!


Crown molding is similar, but you have to think upside-down.  The part of the crown molding that will go against the ceiling will ALWAYS rest on the BOTTOM of the miter box – FLAT.  More on crown molding in MITERING 102!