Coping Skills

Yes, it's usually around this time of year that we all get to try out our coping skills. Parties, shopping, decorating, travel, cards. What should be a very special time of year often ends up being a very trying time of year. So this year I decided I'd try a new coping skill.

Woodwork coping. Yet another example of the lovely symmetry of the English language. A word that is usually used in the context of humans interacting with each other or a situation also applies to a pair of physical objects, usually, but not exclusively, two pieces of moulding.

Let me explain a bit more. When you put up moulding such as crown, casing, or baseboard, you have to figure out how to get a curved profile to match up on the corners. Most of the time, this is done with mitre cuts, usually a 45 degree cut on both pieces so that they meet in a point on a 90 degree corner.

But when you have an old house with old plaster walls that are not straight, plumb, or level, sometime mitering an inside corner is asking for trouble. So that when you can cope a piece.

I've never done this before but took it up as yet another challenge in my unadventurous life. Using YouTube, I quickly got the basics and ran out to get my rusty coping saw that was probably last used 20 years ago. Don't ask me why I have one. It's just one of those things that I've seen in workshops and figured sooner or later I'd need it. Didn't even think why it was called a coping saw until this weekend.

I'll dispense with more words and use pictures (poor as they may be).

Here's the shot of the moulding after it has been coped:


And here's the view from the end.


And here's the finished joint.


Over the last two days, I did 7 coped joints (inside joints) and 3 mitred joints (outside corners) and now have picture moulding installed in our hallway-soon-to-be-gallery. I wanted to put in picture moulding so we didn't have to put holes in our plaster walls for all the different pictures, never mind the complications that arise when we change them every few months. Here's a post that explains a bit more:

And yes, my new coping skills did help cope with the holiday rush. When I'm working on the house, I'm in a zen-like state where nothing else bothers me. Maybe that's why I enjoy working on house projects!

Categories: House

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