How to Cut a Mitered Return for Base Molding

Base moldings look beautiful in a house and sometimes they need to be cut for mitered returns. Mitered returns in base moldings are the small pieces of woods that angle backwards at the end of the base molding. The mitered return is joined with 2, 45 degree angle miters at the edge of the molding. One of the 2, 45 degree miters is on the base and the other is on the corner and together they form a 90 degree angle. It looks as if the detail of the profile of the base molding is a running pattern and moves way into the wall. Since we need to know how mitered returns for base moldings should be cut, a miter saw is the best options for the deed. Miter saws are not difficult to obtain and can be rented easily from any company that rents out power tools and supplies.

Tools and Materials Needed:

  • Base moldings
  • Measuring tape
  • Miter saw
  • Glue for wood
  • Masking tape

Step 1 – Measure and Mark the Moulding

Take the measuring tape and proceed to evaluate the exact length of the base of the wall that needs a mitered return. The bottom end of the molding’s edge should be marked. Now this is the slightly tricky part: you need to take the miter gauge and move it to the right at an angle of 45 degrees for the return which is supposed to be at the left side of the base molding. Or you could move the miter gauge to the left side at the same angle for the right end of the base molding.

Step 2 – Position for Cutting

Now take the molding and face the bottom of the molding up and put it against the miter saw fence which is besides the wall. The top of the molding should be positioned alongside the table of the saw which would be besides the floor. Fix the base to the right side of the saw’s blade when cutting for a return on the left side and to the left side of the blade for right return.

Step 3 – Start the Cutting

Pull the trigger of the saw to start it and push down the blade in a smooth movement through the molding to get a clear cut. After that let go of the trigger and let the saw’s blade stop its spinning and then pull the saw up from the molding.

Step 4 – Cut the Moldings at the Appropriate Angles

Take a 12 inch or longer piece of molding to cut and place it the opposite end of the base molding. It should be taken care that the molding is positioned to the right side of the saw’s blade for a left return and to the left side of the blade for a right miter return. After you have cut the mitered end, rearrange the saw to a 90 degree angle. Saw through the mitered end of the base moulding evenly making sure that it’s done just around the far bottom of the molding for the real return.

Step 5 - Glue the Pieces Together

Take the glue and stick the edge if the miter on the base molding. Place the return with the mitered front so that it matches the miter on the base, forming a 90 degree angle. With the masking tape, fix the return in that position. Let it rest overnight so that the joint is set in its place. When the glue dries the piece is ready to be set at the base of the wall.