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Cutting to Length After I’ve measured all the doors, I return to the chop saw to cut the casings to length. The measurements on the story pole represent the short point of the miter (less the 1/4-inch reveal). Before I can make any cuts, I need to find the long point — in other words, I need to add the width of the head casing plus the 1/4-inch reveal. I also do this without measuring, using the story pole and a couple of spacers. First, I lay the story pole on the left extension table so that the right end falls about 3 inches short of the saw blade. Against the far end of the pole, I place a scrap of casing laid flat, then a 1/4-inch spacer (Figure 4).

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Figure 4. Before cutting the trim to length, the short-point markings are converted to long-point cut lines by placing a scrap of casing and a 1/4-inch spacer between the far end of the story pole and a layout stop clamped to the extension table (top left). At the other end of the pole, a separate Quick Rule (top right) is aligned with the one on the story pole and glued to the saw fence (bottom). Next, I bump a stop against the spacers and clamp it to the surface of the extension table using a Vise-Grip welder’s clamp (American Tool Co., 701 Woodlands Pkwy., Vernon Hills, IL 60061; 800/866-5740). For the stop I use a scrap of hardwood cut perfectly square, with a piece of peel-and-stick sandpaper applied to the bottom to keep it from wiggling while it’s being clamped. Leaving the spacers temporarily in place, I return to the blade end of the story pole and stick a Quick Rule on the chop saw fence so that it lines up with the one on the story pole. I can now remove the spacers and start marking and cutting casings. Returning to my example of door #1H: To cut the left casing (lH + 3), I’d place one of the left-mitered casings on the extension table with the mitered end against the stop, mark the casing three hash marks longer than the centerline of the Quick Rule on the fence, slide the casing over to the saw blade, and hack it off square. For the right side of door #1H, I’d mark a right casing 11/2 hash marks short of the centerline on the Quick Rule. If I’d made a notation to scribe the cut to fit the floor, this is when I’d make that adjustment. To avoid that queasy feeling that hits when you discover you’ve just cut a whole house worth of trim too short, I always stop and dry fit the first two pieces before going further.