Though the miter saw in the video at the bottom of the page is crude, it does work much faster than hand sawing in a miter box. But before we check that out, let’s get a little insight into the benefits of having a miter saw in your shop.
I personally would go crazy if I didn’t have one in my woodworking shop. There are various models available, some with additional features over others, they all pretty much do the same things. They enable you to cut lumber at an angle. The reason it is called a “miter saw” (and most know this but just in case) is because the saw performs miter cuts. A miter joint is a joint made by beveling each of the two parts to be joined, usually at a 45 degree angle to form a corner.
Though we as woodworkers refer to this term with lumber, a miter joint can be performed pretty much with any material. Steel, pipe, and even cloth can have a miter joint. Pipe fitters and plumbers enable miters usually with a 45 degree elbow that connects to straight pieces of pipe together, for example.
But with lumber we typically will glue up these joints or fasten them together, and to get the lumber at the angle it needs on both ends, we employ a miter saw. Either the old fashioned miter box saw that uses an actual handsaw, or the moterized miter saw that most woodworkers use today.
You can take the miter a step further with precision and enable the compound feature that now comes on even the cheaper miter saws today. The compound cut is going to have two angles – the bevel angle (the blade tilt) and the miter itself. Typically the saw is going to have a maximum bevel of 45 degrees.
Though this cut is useful for building boxes and cutting trim such as crown molding, it is surprisingly complex to compute the angle settings (with the exception of the straight 45 degree angles) and so many woodworkers stay away form the compound cut. But as with anything, repetition is the key to mastering this art.
The image on the right is an example of a compound miter cut. The carpenter is cutting large molding using both the bevel angle and the miter angle on the saw.
Notice that the two angles of the saw will produce a bevel on the miter itself. Again, very complicated cuts like this take time to get them down pat. But almost anyone can do it over time.
The picture is compliments of arch_molding on flickr. To see more of his molding you go to the link at the bottom of this page.
Now to the video. Izzy Swan gives us another great creation of his using just a pallet, a drill, and a sawblade to create his own miter saw. Enjoy!