How To Cope Quarter Round Molding

Lead Image
  • 1-2 hours
  • Beginner
  • 90-300
What You'll Need
Coping saw
Tape measure
Quarter round molding
Utility knife
Finishing nails

Remodeling an older home may require some knowledge on how to cope quarter round molding. Most molding cuts are done at a 45-degree angle using a miter saw. However, a “coped” cut is commonly used on the inside corners joining interior walls. The technique gets the name from use of a coping saw to make the cut.

One piece of molding is squarely cut at a 90-degree angle and placed directly against the wall. A second piece of molding is cut to fit in the contour of the first piece. It sounds complicated, but with the right tools you can do it.

Step 1 - Cut the Quarter Round

Measure a wall adjacent to one with a doorway in a four-corner room. Cut a piece of quarter round molding to that wall length. Install the cut piece of quarter round molding at the bottom of the baseboard of the wall.

Step 2 - Second Piece Cut

Now cut a piece of quarter round molding to place between the door and the molding you just attached to the adjoining wall. Make sure to cut this piece of molding about a foot longer than needed. This is necessary to allow for any mistakes made when using the coping saw, to create an end that fits around the adjoining piece of molding. If you are new to this technique, it may take several attempts to get it right.

Step 3 - Mark the Curve

Mark the curve shape of the quarter round on the back of the piece of molding to cut. Mark the curve going in the right direction with a pencil or crayon. You can also mark the cut by scribing it with the tip of a nail.

Step 4 - Make the Coping Cut

Using a coping saw, make a cut that is slightly angled, at about 60 degrees, instead of using a straight, perpendicular cut. Angling the cut increases the opportunity to better fit the second piece tightly around the one already installed. If the first cut doesn’t work, try again with a slightly different angle cut.

Step 5 - Cut the Other End

The end that fits against the door trim should be cut at a 45-degree angle. The other coped end should fit around the quarter round molding already installed on the adjacent wall.

Step 6 - Repeat the Above

Repeat the steps above to cover the other adjacent wall without a doorway, paying careful attention to the coping cut end of the quarter round molding.

Step 7 - Last Wall Molding Cuts

Producing the final cuts on the last piece of quarter round molding requires coping cuts at both ends. You may have to cut the molding in two for easier handling. You might also need to use longer lengths of molding than what equally divides the length of the wall, to accommodate for errors.

Make sure always to wear safety goggles and a breathing mask when cutting wood.