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The Woodturners Catalog

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miter saw

miter saw

Quick and exact. Nothing beats a miter saw for fast, precise crosscuts and miters. This sliding compound saw can crosscut stock up to 12 in. wide.

m saws, often called "chop saws," have mitered and

Matpriak beveled their way to become highly prized tools in workshops and on jobsites. It's easy to see why. These portable saws can handle everything from trimming studs to mitering picture frames and cutting crown moldings. Chop saws excel at making precise cuts at various angles and then quickly and reliably adjusting back to square.

The size of a miter saw is based on its blade diameter. Saws come in sizes ranging from 6V2 in. to 15 in. Larger saws have greater cutting capacity. (See chart, page 104.) Conventional chop saws are designed to handle cutoff work in relatively narrow stock—under 6 in. wide. Sliding compound-miter saws can slice through stock up to 12 in. wide.

compound saws

This type of saw has a rotating table to make miter cuts, just like a conventional miter saw. But it can also make bevel cuts, thanks to a head that tilts 45" (or more) to one or both sides. By combining bevel and miter cuts, this type of saw can make compound miters. Capacities are similar to those of conventional miter saws.

Compound-miter saws are especially useful for cutting wide baseboard trim, crown molding and other cornice treatments that require compound cuts.

conventional saws

These machines are designed for cutting miters from 0* to 45° (or more on some machines). Most 10-in. saws can cut a 2x6 or 4x4 at 90* and a 2x4 at 45'.

eatures to consider


Look for smooth-working miter and bevel adjustments and easy-to-read scales. Large, accessible miter and bevel locking mechanisms make a difference when you need to switch angle settings frequently. Similarly, detents, or stops, are useful for homing in on common angles such as 0°, 22V£ and 45°. Some compound saws also have miter detents at 31.6" for cutting standard crown moldings.

Other handy features include spindle locks for one-wrench blade changing and—on sliding compound saws—depth stops for making stopped cuts to a precise depth. (See top right photo.)


All miter saws have a split fence design with a gap in the middle for the blade. On some saws, this gap is too wide to safely support short stock, so you'll need to attach a wooden auxiliary fence. Some saws offer an adjustable fence.

Safety Features

Look for a blade guard that retracts smoothly as you pivot the blade into the work. Also, look for an electric brake that stops the blade when you release the on-off switch or press a button Some saws have a safety button that must be depressed before you can turn on the saw.

Dust Busting

Most saws come with a dust bag or a vacuum port, or both. Hooking a shop vacuum up to the port is much more effective for controlling dust than using a bag.

Dado depth. On sliding compound saws, a depth-stop mechanism is good for dadoing, or whenever you need precise cuts to a certain depth.

Stops and scales. A solid wedge-and-slot design and easy-to-read scales on the Bosch sliding compound saw make for precise mitering.

options worth having

A premium blade. Carbide-tipped, finish-cutting crosscut blades cut more smoothly than steel blades. A 10-in. blade with 60 or more teeth and a low hook angle makes glass-smooth cuts in molding and thin stock. For sliding saws, get a blade with a 0* or 5* negative hook. (For more on blades, see AW #32.)

Workstation. No machine benefits more from a dedicated stand than the chop saw. A well-designed workstation will include extension tables and fences. Aftermarket stands are available, or you can make your own. (See AW #31.)

Table extensions and adjustable stops. If you don't plan on a shop-made work table, invest in a set of factory-made extension rails and stops to support long stock and make repetitive cuts accurately.

Work clamps. These accessory clamps secure your work against the table and the fence.

for more info

Check out the detailed test results in "Shop Tested: Sliding Compound-Miter Saws," AW #53.

sliding compound saws

Like the compound-miter saw, this type of miter saw has a head assembly that rotates and tilts for compound cutting. Three of these saws, the Makita LS1211, DeWalt DW708 and Hitachi C10FS, tilt both left and right.

The head on a sliding saw is mounted on a rail system that lets it slide forward and back. This increases crosscutting capacity to just over 12 in. on some models. To operate the saw. you pull the elevated blade toward you. pivot it down into the front edge of the stock, then push it back toward the fence to complete the cut. This "chop and push" motion is safer than a radial-arm saw.

miter saws

New models in red.

Ryobi TS230

Craftsman 23514

Delta 36-235

Brand A Modal

Uat Price

Blade Dû». (In.)

Maximum Crosscut T x W (in.)

Miter Adj. Range f U'R)

Bevel Adj. Range f L/R)

Depth Stop


Weight (lbs.)

Comments & Features

Black & Decker 1710


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Wood Working 101

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