I used to think that with a good mitre saw set at 45 degrees that anyone could do trim work. Then I started trying to fit trim into old buildings – a humbling experience to the ability to cut at 45 degrees only.
This is my portable mitre saw station. A shop made mitre board clamped to an IKEA stool with a 3 euro saw I bought at the local Charity Shop (proceeds to Hospice Africa). I have been inspired to return to working with hand tools as much as possible by the work of Tom Fidgen (THE UNPLUGGED WOODSHOP TORONTO) and Peter Follansbee (pfollansbee). I find that I can mark and cut any mitre within a reasonable degree of accuracy and get a tight joint regardless of how square the house, wall or window is. The following picture is testimony to this.
Perhaps you noticed that my mitre board does not have any pre-cut notches in it. I just mark accurately and cut using a guide hand held tightly against the piece I am cutting and the end of the guide. Then to do the matching cut for the opposite piece I just use the scrap from the first cut as a guide flipped upside down. Works well and quickly – almost faster because the cuts match perfectly the first time without having to wander back to the mitre saw to fine tune. A sharp exacto knife helps do any fine tuning if necessary on the spot (rather than a shooting board).
I decided to continue the hallway work up the stairwell and into the second floor hallway (referred to as the first floor here in France – the first floor off the ground). Remember that when travelling in France – 4th floor up a stairwell is actually 5 flights of stairs.
This is some trim work on the stairwell window. You can see from above we started with crusty old pub nicotine coloured krinkle glass. I pulled all this out and replaced with clear glass to let in more light and remove the desire to order a pint every time I walked up the stairway. I also thought the original thin piece of trim was insufficient to lend the window some presence. Anyway, the finished result before some touch up to the dents in the drywall and painting .