How to Use a Compound Miter Saw

Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Compound Miter Saw

Compound Miter Saw
Mark Hunter / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

A miter saw is ideal for making clean crosscuts on wood stock. There are two basic types of miter saws: the miter saw, and the compound miter saw, which can be beveled while the saw is turned to cut a miter at the same time. There are variations of both, such as a sliding miter saw, where the saw motor and blade can be pulled forward a short distance, a little like a Radial-Arm Saw. Whether your miter saw is a compound miter saw, a sliding miter saw or a fixed motor unit, the rules and things...MORE you can do with the saw are similar.

  • 01 of 07

    A compound miter saw is widely-regarded as the most accurate tool for making crosscuts on wood, whether those cuts are square, angled or beveled. In many cases, these saws will allow the user to angle and bevel the cut at the same time, creating precise yet complex compound cuts. This is particularly useful when cutting crown molding and other materials that require extremely accurate angled cuts. In this article, learn the features that you should look for when purchasing a compound miter saw.

  • 02 of 07

    Using a compound miter saw is fairly straight-forward. Simply place the wood on the table against the fence, set the angle and bevel, adjust the position of the board on the table, start the saw and plunge the blade into the wood. However, as easy as it sounds, the miter saw can be quite dangerous, with injuries to the hands and eyes being the most commonly-affected areas. In this woodworking tip, learn some safety habits you should employ to reduce the risk of injury when using your miter saw.

  • 03 of 07

    Although they are considered a portable tool, miter saws can be rather difficult to use effectively when away from the woodshop. One of the problems is supporting the stock properly on either side of the saw. One of the best ways to address this problem is to use a portable miter saw stand. While plenty of stands are available commercially, here are some woodworking plans to build a portable miter saw stand equipped with stock supports that you can use on your job site.

  • 04 of 07

    The butt joint is the most basic method connecting two boards at right angles, since the end grain of one of the two boards will be visible. In cases where a butt joint would suffice but you don't want to see the end grain of the wood, try a mitered butt joint instead. In this article, learn how to build a clean mitered butt joint.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    An improperly-matched open mitered corner can be an obvious defect, one that tends to reflect sloppy workmanship. However, this isn't always the cause of an open mitered corner. They can be caused by a number of issues, not the least of which is using materials that are not perfectly straight. Once you have a mitered corner that doesn't match up cleanly, how do you solve the problem? Learn some ideas to consider in this woodworking tip.

  • 06 of 07

    For the beginning woodworker, the amount of money that they'll need to spend on tools to get started is often a big concern. The good news is that you really don't have to spend an arm and a leg to buy a whole bunch of tools to get started. In this woodworking tip, learn the seven power tools you can buy (rather inexpensively, I might add) to get started in woodworking.

  • 07 of 07

    One question I occasionally hear from beginning woodworkers is asking how many teeth per inch (TPI) their saw blades should have for the best cuts on their woodworking projects. Well, the answer is a little more complicated than that, but it doesn't have to be. Learn the basics of choosing the proper blades to make any cut required by your woodworking plans.