How to Cut Quarter Round Molding

cutting molding
  • 2-4 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 350-600
What You'll Need
Quarter round molding
Miter box
Miter hand saw
Tape measure
Pin nailer (optional)
Portable air compressor (optional)
Finishing nails, 1-1/2 inches long

Learning how to cut quarter round molding, if done correctly, can save you money, material, and time. It is considered the crowning touch to subtly dress up the rooms in your home.

Step 1 — Measure Base of Rooms

Using a tape measure and pencil, take careful measurements along the base of the walls where quarter round molding will be attached. Estimate the total number of feet you will need for each room. Allow an extra foot or two for errors and for use as scraps to get the correct angles cut before installing the finished product.

Step 2 — Measure Quarter Round Molding

Begin taking measurements for each length of quarter round molding and record these on the back sides of the selected molding to be cut. Begin with either an inside or outside corner at the end of a room. Mark each piece of molding with a light, straight line through the use of a tri-square. At the top of the square, draw a vertical line down the side of the excess piece of the wood. This will tell you to which side of the line to cut.

Step 3 — Cut Quarter Round Molding

Position one end of the quarter round molding inside the miter box exactly as it will be installed along the base of the wall. Hold the molding securely against the wall of the miter box, with the rounded edge up and facing forward, and align the hand saw with the mark made earlier. Remember to cut on the side with the vertical line sitting outside the line so that the measurement is exact. Place your thumbnail exactly on the line and draw the handsaw toward you to begin the initial cut. Carefully, and slowly, begin cutting until a deep groove is established, and then finish the cut quickly.

Step 4 — Align Angles

Once the initial cut of quarter round molding is made, use a scrap piece of molding to insure that the next piece adjoining it will have the correct angle. Simply set the length of molding on top of a scrap piece of molding, draw a line onto the scrap of molding matching the angle of the initial length and then cut the scrap to that line. Put both pieces together on the floor. If the match between the length and scrap pieces matches correctly, use the piece of scrap molding to cut the next adjoining length of molding.

Step 5 — Use Equipment Correctly

Although an electric miter saw would make this cutting much easier, the amount of chipping that occurs would not make its use worthwhile. The cuts for quarter round molding are very minor. The use of a miter box and miter hand saw will provide excellent, precise cuts with no chipping or tearing of the molding. Also, although a hammer and 1-1/2 inch finishing nails will work to attach the molding, a portable compressor and pin nailer will reduce the installation time substantially.