miter cuts

cutting clean miters

cutting clean miters

I am having trouble getting sharp tight mitre cuts. I'm not new to woodworking but not a pro either. My guess is its either the saw or my skill in adjusting it. Any suggestions? Is there a radial saw/chop saw that's dead on right out of the box?


Bob D

Hi Bob,

Tight miters take some adjusting.

I don't know of a saw that is perfect out of the box, although some may be. However, it's always a good bet to know how to make the adjustment just in case.

I've adjusted my saw so it's very close, but I still check before I make any final cuts.

I find the best way to check is to place an accurate square inside the miter. If the gap doesn't close when both pieces are flat against the square then you need to change the angle of your cut.

You may need to adjust your angle back and forth a bit several times to get it just right. Once there you can either lock that spot in place if your saw allows it (check your manual) or use a piece of tape to mark the spot. You should still check your miter each time you change the angle, but hopefully that will get you close.

Another tip is if you are, oh, so close, but not perfect, you can "roll over" the finished miter by drawing the barrel of a screwdriver or some other round tool over it. Sort of like burnishing the edge. This won't solve gaps of any size, but can hide small "oops."

A couple other tips are to check things like making sure your wood is square and flat before you begin. Check to see if your blade has a wobble in it. (You can do that by holding a square to a freshly cut end.) Finally, make sure the wood is flush with the fence when you make your cut.

Hope one or the other of these ideas helps.

Comments for miter cuts

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May 13, 2014
Wobble in the saw groove
by: Charles from NE MS

Most table saws have a "tad" of slack in the groove in the table and the guide rod of the miter slide. Some after market slides have plastic washers that can be tightened/squished to fill that slack.

I purchased a name brand after market miter slide to go with my 1990 vintage contractors saw. It and the little digital angle measuring deal to zero the vertical angle of the blade were two of the best after market add-ons to my tablesaw.

I tell people that if they buy a top quality piece of machinery, they will cry when they pay for it but if they buy cheap they will cry every time they use it.

Good luck with your miters,

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