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Making basic scarf joints


 

The joint that is most often associated with interior trim work is the miter. This 45-degree joint is designed to bring together two boards that meet at a right (90-degree) angle. But the most common joint is actually the scarf joint. This is used wherever you want to join two boards in a straight line- When done properly, it can be almost invisible, especially if the boards end up being primed and painted. Because this joint is used so frequently, its a good idea to master it, following the steps shown here, before you tackle any bigger trim jobs.

 

 

Step 1. Start a scarf joint by cutting a 45-deg. miter at one end of a board. You can use a power miter box, as shown here, or a hand-powered miter box. Keep in mind that the joint will be only as good as the cuts you make on the mating boards.

 

Step 2. Attach the cut board to the wall by driving 6d-finishing nails along the bottom edge into the wall plate. Nail the top of the board into the wall studs, usually spaced 16 in. apart. Spread yellow carpenters glue onto the miter cut with a small disposable brush.

 

Step 3. Cut a matching miter joint on the end of the second board; then cut the board to length. Spread glue on this miter cut, too. Then push the board in place so the joint is flush. Drill pilot holes through the boards for finishing nails.

 

 

 

 

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