Issue: Issue 3.01
Posted Date: 1/15/2002
Q. Can anyone tell me the best way to make sure that my 45 degree angles are accurate on my miter saw. My cuts for picture frames aren't too bad, but in cutting a 2 x 6, the last piece has a terrible gap.
Ellis Walentine: "Without belaboring the obvious, an accurate combination square is an excellent way to check a 45-degree miter for accuracy. If your saw doesn't produce perfect miters right out of the box, the solution is to adjust the fence. The owner's manual should explain how to do that -- usually by loosening the bolts that hold it to the table. Try to be aware of your sawing technique, too. On angled cuts, a miter saw can shift the workpiece slightly (or disastrously!) if you aren't holding it securely or using the hold-down clamp supplied with the machine. Those clamps aren't always useful, either, depending on the cut you're trying to make. Another good work habit is to make the cut by chopping (rather than sliding the saw motor assembly) if the workpiece is narrow enough. Chop slowly and evenly, and once the blade has bottomed out in the table groove, switch the saw off and wait until the blade stops before you move your workpiece. This way, the spinning blade won't ruin your perfect miter on the rebound."