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I need to cut part of my baseboard so I can push the wardrobe all the way against the wall.

Ideally, I'd like to cut it installed, and pull only the part that needs to be removed.

I have patience, I know it is required as I'll have to cut slowly to prevent damaging the sides (that won't be removed).

What manual/hand tool would you suggest to cut the baseboard?

Once both sides are cut, I will use a puller to remove it from the wall, leaving the sides installed.

Thank you for any help!

  • Also do consider the other way around of cutting the wardrobe or making it so you don't have to cut the baseboard – Eric F Mar 22 at 18:40
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If I had to cut a notch or section out of a baseboard, and I had to do it with hand tools, then I'd use a utility knife and/or a chisel. The knife can cut through the wood just a little with each pass. The chisel could be used on the waste side of the cut to remove wood chips so that the next pass with the knife can cut a little deeper. Best would probably be to use a well-sharpened chisel and skip the knife entirely -- in this case it would be similar to cutting a mortise with a chisel. (Search YouTube for a demonstration of that.)

  • I ended up doing something like that. Going to the store, I found the oscillating tool too much for what I needed (big and heavy tool - while super useful, it would be a waste later unless I resell). I purchased a Dewalt Multi Saw DWHT20542 to slowly saw the baseboard. Then I used a Husky Painters Tool DSX-G14 to start pulling the baseboard. It needed patience with the saw because sometimes it gets stuck, and cuts slowly. Yes, with the oscillating tool it would have been a matter of minutes, but I decided to not purchase a whole machine for that as I don't foresee any future use. – igorjrr Mar 25 at 15:09
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Something great for this is an "oscillating multi tool".

Oscillating tool

They have various blades and sanding attachments, but the straight cutting blade in the picture above will probably be the best thing for cutting out a piece of molding like you are considering.

You can control the depth of cut (by hand, manually) and they can cut right next to the floor to get a complete cut. I've used it to cut molding next to a door when installing slightly wider door casing. I've also used it to cut the length off of door jambs when installing thicker tile (like a flush-cut saw).

  • Thank you, any option that doesn't involve buying/renting a big machine like that? I was thinking about some knife or manual saw that would allow me to slowly cut the baseboard. – igorjrr Mar 22 at 15:54
  • They are not big - its a normal size hand held power tool like a drill or jigsaw. They have a lot of uses, so might be worth having one, but... They are certainly more expensive than a hand tool. The problem with a lot of hand saws is going to be cutting extremely close to the floor and not scratching the wall above the molding. If you would rather use a hand tool, edit your question with that requirement. I'll leave this answer tho, because it could help others. – JPhi1618 Mar 22 at 15:57
  • @igorjrr: These can be purchased for around $20 at Harbor Freight. Then you can sell it for $10 to $15 on Craigslist. – wallyk Mar 22 at 15:58
  • @wallyk, Ha, I have that one from HF. It's one of the loudest tools I have, but it gets the job done the times when another saw just won't do the job. – JPhi1618 Mar 22 at 15:59
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    @igorjrr, Right a dremel ends up just burning through wood and it would be hard to get the depth you need to cut all the way through a piece of molding. You might be able to use a dremel with a spiral cutting bit but getting a straight line with it would be hard and dealing with interference from the wall surface might also be tough. – JPhi1618 Mar 22 at 16:00
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The other answer is good for cutting the baseboard in place.

However, in most cases this should never be done. Unless you simply don't care about how your baseboards look this is a bad decision.

An oscillating tool cuts using vibration and pressure. It is not going to cut a thin straight line even if you are very very skilled at using it and have a new blade and so forth.

If you are doing this on both sides of the wardrobe I cannot fathom that this would be quicker than pulling baseboard out and making two cuts with a table/circular saw and reinstalling. In a lot of cases baseboards will have a few finishing nails and if you carefully pull it out you can realign the baseboard with the same nails/holes. If it is just glued then reglue.

What I am saying is the oscillating tool is your option but no one who wants to do quality work would choose that nor would they believe it saves them time. When taking out baseboard you can basically pull them while only damaging the area that they cover. Get a joint compound knife - 6-10" - and slide it behind baseboard until you get a gap good enough to put a decent lever (bar, big screwdriver, whatever), push baseboard a little further from wall, and once it can be wiggled a little use your hands to pull it out starting from the gap and working your way out with small tugs.

I would also recommend putting your wardrobe in place before doing your reinstall so that you can be sure your baseboard cuts are correct.

  • This is the way to get the best possible finish, and it's doable with only a hand miter saw. I will argue that the cut with an oscillating tool is straight enough for some situations. The width of the blade does allow good control as opposed to something very small like a jigsaw. – JPhi1618 Mar 22 at 18:02
  • @JPhi1618 - I guess it also depends on the wood and finish. MDF I might cut with oscillating tool. Solid pine/oak, nope. At least not me. I will end up scratching the area that needs to stay and won't end up with a sharp corner. I do have an "modified" small circular saw (6" wheel) that has only a hand guard. That would cut this clean but good chance of cutting floor and wall too. – DMoore Mar 22 at 18:33
  • I can cut beautifully straight using oscillating tool through pine and oak with a high quality blade made for hardwoods I sometimes tack a scrap board along the line to make it easier. – Kris Mar 22 at 20:34
  • @Kris - I hear you. But this is a recommendation to a home owner. I can cut tile to the mm with an angle grinder, not going to suggest it to someone that has no practice doing it. – DMoore Mar 22 at 20:43

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