Victorian Remodel:

Victorian Casing -
Making the Top Rail 

In This Article:

A narrow strip of colonial baseboard is cut with miters on both ends, and short "returns" are attached to each end with biscuits and glue.

Related Articles:
Skill Level: 3 (Moderate) Time Taken: About An Hour

By , Editor


The first step is to cut the return pieces on the miter saw, and both ends of the long piece. The returns are as long as they are wide. The red marks indicate where to center the cut with the biscuit joiner.

We laid a #0 size biscuit on the joint to see if it would fit.


We set the biscuit joiner to make it's cut at 1/4" below the fence.

If we did not have a biscuit joiner we would have glued and clamped the returns and let them dry overnight.


We clamped the long piece to the bench and cut the biscuit slot.

The slot is pretty big... almost the width of the baseboard.


 But cutting the biscuit slot in the return piece is not so easy. The fence on the DeWalt biscuit joiner has a big opening, which means that small pieces have to be supported some other way.

Otherwise the workpiece can tilt, causing the slots to be out of alignment.

(A "detail" biscuit joiner works better for this task. )

We set up two pieces of wood, one was a section of the same baseboard and the other was the same thickness. (In hindsight, we should have just used two scraps of baseboard.

The return piece fits snugly in the corner.


 Now the biscuit joiner fence has something large to rest on, and the workpiece cannot be kicked sideways by the motion of the cutting blade.

We did a dry fit of the biscuit in the two pieces.


 The two sections fit just fine. We always do a dry fit with biscuits, even positioning the clamps to make sure everything will stay in place.


 The biscuit is slathered with carpenter's glue.

And pushed into one of the slots.


 If the glue oozes out, it's done right.

More glue is applied to the other half of the biscuit.


The sections are pushed together. Biscuits hold pretty tight so it takes some effort to get the pieces aligned.

Just a little tap of the hammer will make these two align properly.


After the glue dried for a half hour we were ready to mount the top rail on the back board.

Since the biscuit increases the surface area being glued, and firmly aligns the pieces, we did not have to wait for the glue to fully harden (which could take overnight).

Back To The Victorian Casing Article...


Tools Used:

  • Power Miter Saw
  • Biscuit Joiner
  • Assorted Clamps & Hand Tools

Materials Used:

  • Colonial Baseboard
  • Biscuits
  • Carpenter's Glue


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Copyright 1999, 2005

Written July 31, 1999 
Revised January 10, 2005