Fitting skirting

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engineer one

Established Member
25 May 2005
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Wembley, Middx
hi guys been away from my black box doing some physical work, and learning more new things.

helped out a tradesman friend recently by sharpening some chisels and apron plane blades on my tormek for him. not sure about the protocols, but can we slag off brands? well here goes. he had about 8 Marples chisels of different ages, including brand new. the difference in sharpening quality was awesome the older ones took an edge more easily, and according to him have lasted longer. is it true that some of our old brand names have really gone down hill recently.

anyway i had bought some old stock dutch chisels from NOOITGEDAGT, some months ago after they had been taken over by American Tool, and i let my mate have a couple of those, swedish steel and all, and he has raved about them, tormek sharpened and all.

why do manufactures at the lower end of the market think we will put up with any old tat, and that people do not talk to each other. Marples i understand say that nothing has changed but results don't lie.

i have been fixing a bunch of skirting, mdf, and although it looks good, i would like to improve my techiniques, any bright and useful ideas?

i have a dewalt 708, and can thus cut compound angles, but the biggest problem seems to be that you cannot cut the 170 mm skirting vertically you have to use the compound head, at which point you have (sorry I have) a problem with determining the length to cut the angles.
so any bright ideas as to how you can set out your angled lengths to get the cuts in the correct place?

also since english houses have walls that are not at right angles, what about the best way to get the inside angled pieces connecting, does anyone now do angled interesections, or do you cheat and do one piece at right angles and then cut the other piece to fit over it, if so how do you make it work and best way to cut the shapes say torus.

i used gripfill and a nail gun boy how did people do it before these latest materials and tools?? Not directly sharpening i kow, but i found that my chisels were of great use when getting the angles to match. the dutch chisels worked well cutting mdf and held their edge for a long time.

anyone got an idea about the best angle for paring mdf 15degrees say, or nearer 20?

now after the bore of standing up and knealing i hope to do some bench work again soon.
all the best

Internal angles in skirting are normally scribed to get around the problem of the angle not being 90deg. - Now for the real trick, can I explain how to do this in words! This is a case where a picture would paint a thousand words but basically you but one piece of skirting right into the corner, measure to the fromt of this piece, mark that on you adjoining piece and cut a 45deg away from this mark so looking from the top of the skirting it is like this _/ This cut gives you a line where the cut meets the profile, if you follow this line with a coping saw the pieces should fit together.

Re-reading that it does not make any sense! I'll do a search for piccies.

basically les i do understand that but then you ask, why do companies sell compound mitre saws, to cut mitres etc, but why do they then not work???

or am i being too simplisitic.
look forward to the pickies
paul :)
Compund mitre saws work perfectly, just not for making skirting fit into internal corners with out of square walls!

No luck on the pics, I'll take a few at w/e when i'm home

Les Mahon":1deoh6jn said:
Internal angles in skirting are normally scribed to get around the problem of the angle not being 90deg.
Coping, rather than scribing, gets lots of hits on Google. This one seems pretty good.

Cheers, Alf
It isn't a cheat either, as it is better to cope them as a mitred edge will pull apart when the house moves leaving an ugly gap right on the corner where is most visible.
martin, as usual you are very helpful, but i was referring really to things like my dewalt 708. if you check it out you would feel that it is the ideal thing for crown moulding, etc, but unless your item is actually totally square,then they basically do not work properly, you have to modify your work after cutting.

so what i feel is needed is a couple of tools/jigs.
one to give you an accurate shape of the torus or whatever, my pencil has to have a very long graphite to get to the highest point, and my trend things don't work in this circumstance. i guess i shall have to go back to my plastic fingers, but since we tend to cut under doors these days we tend not to use them anymore. maybe there is something else. the biggest problem is using your coping saw in a sufficiently accurate manner, and that takes constant practice, if you do not do skirting or shaped intersections daily, just like computer programmes you lose the complete skill.
next would be a thing like the angle fix, but that would fit along the cut line of your saw, and abut to the skirting or wainscot etc. also the angle fix does not really work to well on the vertical face of my 708 when it is angled, the arms are actually to long, and hit various obstructions.

i know i am looking for a piece of pie in the sky, but we all buy things that we only use occassionally, but on that occassion they save time and money.

as for coping do you use thick blades or old type fretsaw blades??

so what about the sharpening comments?
thanks again for the bright ideas
paul :wink:
I have a dewalt 708, and can thus cut compound angles, but the biggest problem seems to be that you cannot cut the 170 mm skirting vertically you have to use the compound head,

Well, there's your problem. If you had the proper tool, a Nobex Champion, you'd have 180mm vertical cut.

To achieve this in a power tool would require (even assuming a tiny 10mm hub) a 370mm diameter blade (14.5 ")

Hand tools RULE.

BugBear accurate shape of the torus or whatever, my pencil has to have a very long graphite to get to the highest point,

Ah. You don't know "the secret". If you cut a 45 degree mitre on a moulding, the arris is the same shape as the moulding.

So to scribe, you first cut a mitre, then follow the mitre cut on the inner face of the board.

Hi Bugbear,
I know this is the Hand Tools section, but I can cut over 320mm with my sliding mitre saw...
It might be a little late but I had already prepared a little tutorial on coping inside corners...
Here are a few pics:
Sorry about the saw...wish I had an old hand mitre...go to the next pic if you're power-tool sensitive.
So cut to 45. No matter what the angle of the inside corner, half the angle will give you the profile (I don't calculate and just cut at 45°):

Mark out the profile with a pencil:

Cope close, but not too close, undercutting so as to get a "point" or bevel at the profile:

Cut the top at 90° where it meets the profile on the face:

Here's a back view of the cope, to show the clearance:

Front view of finished cope:

Tools used to clean up the profile to the line (two microplanes, a rat tail and triangular files). Be sure to keep the clearance at the back (the bevel) because a knife-edge profile can be jammed against the adjacent moulding and you can achieve a tighter fit:

Finished profile:

Finished corner:

So is that the longest off-topic post?
hey that was nice i almost got there, and my client is happy although if i had used your method it would have taken less time.
thought from another friend.
at the end of each run where it hits an architrave of open space, cut at 45 degrees and then put a profile on the end too.
works well and wish i had done it every where.
thanks for the help
sorry alf, you are right.
still think of what you will find out again in a years time when you have forgotten it???

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