Miter SAW guidE
Build Better. Build More.
Not sure what the difference is between compound, sliding, chop, and miter saws?
Wondering how to get more out of your miter saw?
Wondering how to tune your miter saw?
We've curated this guide to give you the info you need to know all in one place.
WHICH TOPIC DO YOU WANT TO EXPLORE FIRST?
- Types Of Cuts A Miter Saw Can Make
- The Best Uses For A Miter Saw
- Features To Look For In A Miter Saw
- Miter Saw Cut Capacity
- Single vs. Double Bevel Miter Saw
- Sliding vs. Chop Saws
Learn What A Miter Saw Is Best For
Types Of cuts a miter saw can make
the best uses for miter saws
Trim & Molding
Miter saws are great tools for cutting trim, molding, and dimensional lumber. The width and thickness of your board is determined by the saw's blade diameter and whether if makes fixed or sliding cuts.
Features to look for in a MITER saw
Although miter saws have many features, these are the four features to pay the most attention to when purchasing a new miter saw.
Look for a miter saw with a sturdy, adjustable fence because not all fences are perfectly square right out of the box and will require adjustments. Check that the fence (both right and left sides) is perpendicular to the saw blade.
The diameter of your miter saw's blade will determine your maximum cut capacity. So consider the types of projects you plan to build when selecting a miter saw size.
Positive stops are factory set points that make it quick to adjust your miter saw blade at common angles. Check that your miter saw has this feature and note that you'll need to calibrate your saw to ensure the positive stops are accurate before making your cuts.
Blade guards that don't move properly can be unsafe and frustrating. To check the guard movement, pull the saw blade handle down and ensure that the blade guard rotates smoothly and allows the blade to make direct contact with the wood.
miter saw cut capacity
Curious what size boards your miter saw can cut? Here's a quick reference for each size of miter saw (capacity is for 90° cross cuts).
- 10” Miter Saw = 5-1/2” Boards
- 12” Miter Saw = 7-1/4” Boards
- 10” Sliding Miter Saw = Boards Around 12”
- 12” Sliding Miter Saw = Boards Just Over 12”
single vs. double bevel miter saw
A single bevel miter saw only tilts in one direction. You can still make all the same cuts as a double bevel but there is some additional work involved in making sure you are cutting the correct direction.
A double bevel miter saw will tilt right and left for bevel cuts. This is very useful when cutting trim and molding (especially crown molding). A double bevel gives you greater flexibility in angle combinations without having to change the position of your material.
sliding vs chop saw
Sliding Miter Saw
A sliding miter saw has added rails that allow the saw blade to slide front to back during a cut. This means you can cut wider boards.
- Increased cross cut capacity
- Increased miter cut capacity
- Variety of angle combinations
- Heavier than a fixed miter saw
- Larger size requires more space
- More expensive than fixed miter saws
Fixed Miter Saw (Chop Saw)
A fixed miter saw, sometimes referred to as a chop saw, has a blade and motor housing that pivots at a single point. It makes cuts by pulling the saw down into the board.
- Lighter and easily portable
- Compact size saves space
- Less expensive than sliding miter saws
- Limited cross cut capacity
- Limited miter cut capacity
Build My Miter Saw Skills
HOW TO TUNE YOUR MITER SAW
To get the most out of your miter saw, it needs to be accurate. Even being off a 1/2 degree adds up!
- Check if it's tuned to 90° (:25)
- Check that the table is flat (:45)
- Check the angles (:52)
- Check the bevel angle cuts (:52)
supporting longer material for safer miter saw cuts
The table on a miter saw is typically small, so it's important to have good supports when cutting longer material. Grab some scrap wood and make simple material supports!
- Why it's important to support material (:22)
- Simple "T" supports (:41)
- Auxiliary supports (1:25)
- Auxiliary fence (1:55)
MITER SAW BLADES
Allen and Mike give you a crash course on the importance of not only a good quality blade, but also selecting the right blade for the material and types of cuts you're making.