Here in San Francisco, even small trim-carpentry jobs in older homes generally require reproducing one or two moldings. If I can’t remove a piece to give to the mill, paint-grade moldings can quickly be traced in place with this method.
After choosing the best example with the least paint buildup, cut across the face of the material at a 90° angle with a Japanese handsaw. The fine crosscut teeth on this type of saw won’t chip the paint.
I don’t cut all the way through the molding, just deep enough to get the full depth of the molding profile. Then I trace the profile on an index card or other stiff paper in the kerf. Ten minutes’ work with Spackle or Bondo, and I’m done.
Gregg Roos, San Francisco, CA