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Joining Baseboards - The Scarf Joint

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Scarf Joint

Copyright SJSU; Courtesy SJSU
When you shop at your home improvement store for baseboards, you’ll notice that the baseboards come in extremely long lengths…16 feet long and even longer in some cases. There is a reason for this. The best case scenario would be to run a single, unbroken length of baseboard on each wall, and in some cases this is possible. But when the wall is longer than the baseboard, you need to splice.

A butt joint—the worst kind of joint for baseboards--is where you cut the ends of the two pieces at 90 degree angles and splice them together. The problem is, you can’t really join the two pieces together.

A much better technique is the scarf joint. Here, you cut the end of one baseboard at a 45 degree angle with the bevel facing the room. The other baseboard…well, you guessed it. This second piece is cut also at a 45 degree angle, but with the bevel facing the wall.

Experiment to make sure the two pieces fit together. If the baseboards are too long, you may have to shave off a bit with the miter saw. When they are the right length, run a thin bead of wood glue along one of the bevels. Next, mate them up and drive 2 nails so that the two baseboards are joined.
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