Finish carpentry is a matter of getting the details right. Here are some tips to make sure you are always spot-on.
First off, avoid using a tape measure when possible. If you’re trying to mark a board, hold it in position to mark the cut. And don’t measure and cut each piece of trim before nailing them up; do them in sequence: measuring, cutting and installing, then measuring the next, cutting and installing it.
With trim, always make sure the mitered or coped joint fits well before cutting it to length. If you make a mistake, you can make the miter cut again, because you have length to spare.
If you have to measure, a folding ruler can be a great aid, as it’s stiffer than a tape measure. Get one with a brass extender, that allows you to set the ruler to the exact length of the cut. This way you’re not translating numbers; you just hold the ruler up to the stock and make your mark.
Mark your cuts with a sharp scribe or scratch awl rather than a pencil; you’ll make more accurate cuts.
When nailing in your finish work, drive the nails in partially to begin with. Once the piece is perfectly aligned, finish setting the nails.
We’ll have some more finish carpentry tips next time.