Understanding the Types of Miter Saws and Which is Right for You


The most common type of miter saw used today are the table saws. Table saws have been around since the beginning of time. They were originally designed to cut wood, but they’ve evolved into various forms over the years. Today’s table saws come in many shapes and sizes, from small hand tools to large industrial machines. Table saws vary greatly in their capabilities and features depending on what kind of work you’re going to do with them. Some table saws are great for cutting out stock or other flat surfaces; others are better suited for making intricate patterns and designs. Table saws can also be used to make straight cuts, but it takes more skill than simply turning the blade.

Table saws come in two basic varieties: those that have blades attached to them and those without blades attached to them. Blades attach to the table saw via a set screw that screws onto the side of the saw. Without blades attached to your table saw, you’ll need to purchase a separate blade holder (also called a fence) if you want to use it for straight cuts. Blade holders allow you to mount one or more blades on your table saw so that you can perform precise cuts with ease.

Blade Holders

There are several different kinds of blade holders available on the market today. Each one has its own advantages and disadvantages. If you use your table saw frequently, you might want to consider buying a combination blade holder and extension table. These are great time-saving tools that can help you get through large jobs quickly and with ease.

Cannot be used with a dado stack . A dado blade is shaped like a “V” and allows you to cut wider sections of wood at one time by cutting them in two separately.

Perfect for cutting accurate bevels and miter cuts. Combo blade holders are equipped with two or three blades: one for crosscutting, one for bevel cuts, and one for miter cuts. This can save you a considerable amount of time, especially if you use your table saw on a regular basis.

They attach to the right side of your table saw.

They’re easy to mount and remove.

They allow you to make angled cuts.

They come in 12-, 10- and 8-inch widths.

They can be used with or without a dado blade.

They make crosscuts easier than changing the tilt of your blade.

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They can be used as a sled for wider panels by clamping them to your table.

They’re easy to set up and won’t slow you down. Miter fences are one of the easiest and most efficient ways to make accurate angled cuts on your table saw. They mount onto the right side of your saw’s frame and are used in the same way that you use a miter gauge. They can be used for both right- and left-handed users.

Each one comes with an adjustable pointer that allows you to easily see and line up your cut. They also come equipped with micro adjustments for precise cuts. Miter fences are some of the handiest tools you can have when cutting multiple pieces of molding. They can also be used as sleds for wider panels, especially if you mount them directly to your saw’s rip fence. This allows you to make accurate crosscuts of wider pieces of wood without having to use a feather board or other method of keeping your wood stationary.

Perfect for cutting from the edge of the blade. Using a feather board can be a handy way to secure your wood when cutting. This is especially useful when making rip cuts with the grain, because it keeps the wood from creeping toward the blade as you cut. A feather board is a piece of wood with a slight lip at 90 degrees to the surface.

The lip should be just slightly wider than your saw’s blade. A T-nut is screwed into the top of the feather board and tightens against the top of the table saw’s fence.

Although this isn’t a necessary tool for all table saws, some manufacturers ship their saws without them. Since they’re so affordable and easy to install yourself, there’s really no reason not to add one if you have the ability and the proper tools. They come equipped with all of the hardware you need to mount them.

They’re usually mounted in the back of the cabinet, which helps to keep them out of your way.

They fold up and out of the way when you need access to the back of your saw.

They support your workpiece at a consistent 90-degree angle while you make your cut. Sometimes, it’s nearly impossible to keep your workpiece perfectly still while using your table saw. This is especially true when making rip cuts with thicker pieces of wood. Most manufacturers equip their saws with retractable wings that are designed to support your workpiece.

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These wings can be activated when you need them, and stored out of the way when you don’t.

Some models feature a vacuum system designed to keep sawdust and wood chips from flying everywhere. This makes cleanup a snap, and helps keep your workshop neat and tidy.

You can use it to pick up a panel that’s slightly too wide to fit into your table saw’s slot. A push stick is a simple block of wood that you can use to push your workpiece through the saw. It slides over the top of the material and positions itself on the opposite side, so you can push with your hands in a safe position that keeps your fingers away from the business end of the saw blade.

Your fingers should always be behind the blade, and not pushing forward. Using a push stick keeps your fingers out of the way and ensures that they don’t get pinched by the saw. It’s one of those tools that you won’t use every time, but it sure is handy when you do need it.

Most manufacturers equip their table saws with this common safety device. It locks down the saw’s rip fence so that it can’t be moved. This is particularly useful when you need to change your blade and don’t want the fence to shift.

You can also use it to lock down longer pieces of wood that are too wide to fit inside the rip fence. This helps you make straight, accurate cuts on larger pieces of wood.

It features a long handle that’s easy to pull. When you pull the handle, the extension slides out until it’s locked into place. When you’re done using it, you can push the handle back in so that the extension retracts and is out of your way.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money on this tool. You can usually find a cheap, plastic version at your local hardware store for around $15 or $20. However, if you do a lot of woodworking, it might be worth the investment to buy a pricier one that’s made with durable metal and has a solid construction.

It’s a very handy tool to have around, especially if you do a lot of woodworking. Your local hardware store should have several different models available, so take your time and find the one that suits your needs.

There are many different types of clamps out there, and each one has its own specific purpose. For most of your clamping needs, you can use cheap craft clamps that you can buy at any crafts store.

Craft clamps are great because they’re lightweight and can reach just about anywhere. They don’t cost a lot, either, so you don’t have to worry about spending a fortune on them. You can pick up a set of four for less than $20.

Spring clamps are another common type that you’ll find at any hardware store. They feature a nylon coil that contracts as you pull the clamp’s wooden handle. These types of clamps are great for smaller jobs, but they aren’t as durable as some other types. They can’t clamp pieces that are wider than their own wooden handles.

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Bar clamps are a little more heavy duty than spring clamps. They’re pretty inexpensive, but they’re not as easy to come by as the other two types. Your best bet is to go to a hardware store and look in the welding department. That’s where you’ll find what you need.

These clamps are great for clamping small projects and attaching them to your work surface. You can also use them to help guide longer pieces as you cut them with a handsaw. It’s a good idea to set up a bar clamp on both sides of your material, just be sure you’re careful when you’re sawing through it.

It goes without saying that all of these clamps are pretty simple in design. Craft clamps are usually made with plastic while the others are made with metal. They all do the job they’re meant to do, which is clamp stuff down. So, just make sure you take care of them and they should last you a long time.

When you’re doing any type of woodworking that requires you to cut through your material, you need to use a saw. Handsaws are the most basic types of saws that you can find, and they’re relatively cheap. You can pick one up at your local hardware store for a few bucks.

Handsaws come in different sizes depending on what you need them for. The smaller ones are for more detailed work. They’re good for cutting smaller pieces of wood. The larger ones are more for rough cutting.

Since the teeth are far apart, it’s not as easy to control. But, it does finish the job a lot quicker.

When you’re using any saw (whether it’s a handsaw or a power tool), you always want to make sure you’re holding it firmly. When you’re making an initial cut, it helps to have another person there to help you hold it. After that, you can hold the saw in place and make a series of cuts to finish the job.

Using a miter box is an easy way to make straight cuts. All you have to do this is place your wood inside the box and then lock it in place. After you’ve done that, you can slide the saw back and forth to make the cut. This is especially handy when you’re making long angled cuts, such as a miter cut, which joins two pieces at a four-way intersection.

The miter box has two different types of notches that you can lock your wood into. One is for making angled cuts and the other is for making beveled cuts. The beveled notch allows you to make angled cuts that are smaller than 45 degrees. Using a miter box is a great alternative to using a power tool, such as a circular saw or a table saw.

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These tools can cause a lot of kickback, which makes them pretty dangerous.

It’s always a good idea to use the right tool for the job. Using a handsaw will save you a bit of money, but if your project requires a lot of cutting then you might want to consider using a power tool instead.

Having the right types of clamps helps a lot when you’re gluing multiple pieces together. Without them, you’re more likely to end up with a wobbly mess. Clamps come in a few different varieties. The first type of clamp is used to clamp the wood down to your work surface, which keeps it from moving around while the glue dries.

The second type of clamp is known as a spring clamp. These clamps have an inward coil that allows you to place them on the wood, then they can be tightened down to keep the wood firmly in place. These are great for smaller pieces that don’t require as much holding power. The third type of clamp is the Hongo, also known as a leg vice.

These clamps have an expanding jaw that can be adjusted to any size. The best thing about this clamp is it’s still fully functional if you have to move your project after you’ve glued the pieces together.

When you’re working with wood, there are a lot of tools that will help you get the job done. Having the right tools can make all the difference in getting the job done right.

Now that we’ve gone over different types of saws and clamps, let’s talk about the other tools you need to get started. One of those tools is a mallet. A mallet is used to hammer things into place. It helps you to drive nails and to force pieces of wood to stay in place while the glue dries.

You can also use it to plane wood to make it thinner.

A claw hammer is one of the more popular types of mallets. It has a flat head on one side and a metal claw on the other. The metal claw is used for pulling nails out, as well as untangling things. A tack hammer is another useful tool for driving small nails into wood.

Another major tool that you need is a chisel. A chisel can be used for a wide variety of things. You can use it to carve, cut and whittle, just to name a few uses. You can get chisels in a variety of different styles and sizes.

Some are meant for carving, while others are designed for cutting or splitting wood.

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Carpenter’s squares are another tool that you should have in your arsenal. A carpenter’s square looks like a small metal ruler with a sharp 90 degree edge and a wooden handle on the other side. These are extremely useful for a wide variety of tasks, such as marking straight lines or cutting things at a right angle. You can even use it to locate the center of a board.

A spirit level is another tool that you should have on hand. A spirit level is used to determine if something is level by using two small vials of liquid. The liquid in the vials react to the presence of gravity and line up if the object is level. You can also use a spirit level to make sure that your glued joints are evenly spaced.

You’ll also need some type of measuring tape. Although, you probably already have one of those lying around the house somewhere. A steel measuring tape is better than the fabric ones because they won’t stretch out over time.

Finally, you’ll need some kind of square. A carpenter’s square is great for getting pieces of wood cut to precise lengths, but most people don’t have one of those lying around. You can use a ruler in its place, but a better option is a speed square. A speed square is a combination square and rule, all in one tool.

It makes measuring and cutting much easier than using a ruler or carpenter’s square.

You might find these additional tools useful:

Clamps: While clamps aren’t exactly tools, they’re something you’ll find in almost every workshop. Having a good set of clamps on hand makes assembly and gluing projects much easier. If you’re just starting out, I would recommend getting a few woodworking clamps and a few bar clamps . A woodworking clamp looks like a C-clamp with thick pads to distribute the pressure over a large area.

These are perfect for gluing up small boards into a larger board, or gluing up panels. Bar clamps are just like pipe clamps, except the pads are on the ends of a long bar instead of on a cylinder. These are best when you need to clamp things that won’t fit in a C-clamp. There are dozens of types and styles of clamps out there and no collection is complete without at least a dozen clamps of various sizes.

You’ll probably want a vacuum as well. A shopvac is perfect for picking up sawdust and smaller scraps. You’ll save yourself a lot of time sweeping if you just have a vacuum ready to go.

Respirator: Although the only real wood toxic hazard is pine (which should be avoided altogether) it’s still a good idea to wear a respirator. It will prevent a lot of tiny dust particles from getting into your lungs.

Eye Protection: This should be a no-brainer, but protect your eyes. Most woodworkers spend years wearing glasses before they finally give in and get contacts. I don’t have that problem, so I can’t speak from experience, but I’ve heard it’s very painful to have a small piece of wood or metal fly into your eye.

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Work Clothes: Since you’ll probably be doing a lot of your work outdoors, it only makes sense to wear old clothes and cover them with a durable apron. Carhartts are the standard among tradesman and they make an apron that goes over your clothes. You can pick one up for cheap at your local big-box store.

I’ve also seen a few woodworkers (my dad included) who keep a set of coveralls around. They’re more expensive than an apron, but they last forever and you never have to worry about changing when you start working.

If you’re planning on getting really dirty (like sculpting or carving) you’ll want to get yourself some heavy duty gloves. Most hardware stores sell disposable gloves for around a dollar a pair. Get the heaviest duty ones you can find. You don’t want to get any skin diseases from prolonged exposures to bird or animal carcasses.

I haven’t mentioned it yet, but in some instances you might need safety goggles. This will depend on the kind of work you’re doing. If you’re carving up dead trees and shrubs or shaping rocks, most of the debris will be flying away from you. On the other hand, if you plan on doing any kind of chainsaw work or cutting metal you’ll want to protect your eyes from shards and sparks.

Of course, if you’re working around powertools you should always wear eye protection. You don’t want to go through life as a cyclops!

The last thing you need is a good place to keep your tools. I use a big toolbox that locks, but it can be bulky to move around. There are tooltrucks you can purchase that will roll around the shop for you. I’ve also seen old-timers keep their tools in a 5-gallon bucket with a handle.

Since most of my tools are handtools, this works just fine for me.

I have also found it very useful to keep a small tool pouch on my belt. This way I don’t have to reach down and get my tools out every time I need to use them. It also keeps them from getting lost and it keeps my tools within arms reach.

Wood is constantly coming in and out of my shop. I never know when I’m going to need another piece of scrap wood or a small bough to use as a model for one of my sculptures. So I keep a few trash bags on hand to keep the wood from getting dirty or wet. They’re very light and take up almost no room, but can still hold a surprising amount of material in them.

What tools do you need?

That’s up to you. No-one is going to grade you on how well you carve, but if you’re determined to turn this into a graded course, here are some suggestions. You can go all fancy with your tool selections and get yourself a whole workshop full of Powertools or you can keep it simple.

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You’ll always need a good way to cut the wood. Nothing wrong with keeping it simple and using handtools. Here’s a list of different tools you might want to use:

Handsaw: This is the most basic wood cutting tool. There are a lot of different kinds of handsaws, but for our purposes we’re going to stick with the classic pull-style back and forth motion. They can be sharpened easily and are good for rough cuts.

Shove: A shove is a cross between a handsaw and a sword. Blades can be very thin from back to front or thick from back to front. Their cutting action can be straight, slightly curved or very curved. They can be difficult to sharpen but they can make very fine cuts.

Shovel: A shovel is a heavy-duty shove with a handle. They are used for digging, but in this case we’re going to use it to hold paper off of our work surface.

Chisel: A chisel can be used to wiggle free any piece of wood that is stuck or frozen in place. When used as a cutting tool, they come in many different sizes and curves such as half-round, flat and pillowing.

Mallet: A mallet is a blunt wooden hammer. It is used for driving chisels and cutting boards without damaging the surface underneath.

Rasp: A rasp is a coarse file with large teeth. It is used for quick removal of material as well as refining wood surfaces before finishing.

Dovetail Saw: A dovetail saw is a specialty tool with fine teeth that are set in a cross pattern. It is used for cutting finer detailed dovetails.

Handplane: A handplane is a type of specialty plane with a flat bottom that is pushed forward with your palm. They are used for flattening and shaping wood. They come in a variety of types such as the Jointer, Smoother, Jack, Rabbet, Fillister and Scraper.

Moulding Knife: A moulding knife is a specialty knife used for cutting all types of moulding. They typically have a shaped blade that tapers to a point and are very thin.

Rabbeting Plane: A rabbeting plane is a specialty plane used for cutting the rabbet (recessed area) in the edge of a piece of wood before putting in a piece of glass.

Occasionally you may need a different tool and that’s fine too, but I’d suggest keeping it simple.

The final tool that is absolutely necessary is something to draw your designs on. The best (and most expensive) solution is a drafting table and adjustable chair. I’ve found that most of the time you can get by with making an impromptu drawing board out of wood and using a flat stone or piece of metal as a drawing surface.

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So let’s turn our attention towards some wood! I’ll explain the woods I use most often and recommendations on what wood to start with.

Hardwood

Hardwoods are wood from trees that have fruits (such as apples, almonds, etc.) Hardwoods are typically stronger, denser and more expensive than softwoods.

The type of hardwood you select will have a lot to do with the type of woodworking you decide to pursue. I’ve found the best way to learn what is best and easiest to work with is by doing. Go to a home improvement store and feel different types of wood. Some will be softer than others and some will be harder.

Here are a few types of wood that I use:

Oak (including Red Oak, White Oak, Live Oak, etc.): This type of wood is very common in furniture. It can be worked even with basic tools and it is quite strong. If you are just starting out I highly recommend using this type of wood as it is easy to work with.

It is a little more brittle than other types of wood so you need to take extra care when using it.

Sunbleached Cedar: This type of wood has been treated with chemicals and then exposed to sunlight to create a color-change (turning white). It is typically softer than Red Oak and doesn’t work as well with hand tools, but works very well with power tools. It does have a nice smell, and it’s not as expensive as hardwoods like Walnut.

Walnut: This type of wood is very hard and strong, but also more brittle than other woods. It is typically more expensive and harder to find. I don’t typically use this type of wood because it is hard on tools, but it is very beautiful with a rich dark brown/black color with white growth rings.

Myrtle: This type of wood is typically used for decorative purposes. It is very soft, but can also be beautiful with an intricate marble-like pattern (sometimes called fish-scale pattern).

Softwoods are wood from tree species that don’t produce fruit. These trees typically have a softerwood rather than a hardwood such as pine, cedar, fir, spruce, etc.

Pine: This is one of the most common and cheapest types of wood available at local home improvement stores. It is also one of the easiest to work with (although it still needs to be treated with care). I typically use this type of wood for my everyday purposes because it’s so cheap and can get pretty much whatever I need.

–Other Considerations–

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Now that we’ve looked at the tools needed and the type of wood, I’m going to make a few suggestions.

If you are new to woodworking, I would really suggest sticking with harder woods such as Oak, Walnut or some other hardwood unless you have a specific project that requires a softer wood.

If you have some experience (or lots of desire), then I would suggest trying out different types of wood for their aesthetic appeal. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing a beautifully crafted project.

Soft wood can be easier to work with, but it is typically not as strong (and therefore you get less usable pieces). Hard woods are typically more expensive and require special tools for working (and staining). You will have to decide which you would like to pursue based on your budget and desired outcome.

Tools in general are quite expensive, so before you run out and spend a bunch of money, I would suggest doing some research at your local home improvement store. Check out their tool section and look at their brands. Some of the major brands that I’ve found are Crescent, Craftsman, Stanley, Kobalt, Husky, Lenox, and Black & Decker. Quite a few of these manufacturers make the same tool for different companies (which is why some of these brands sound familiar).

Some of these tools can get pretty expensive, but there are some that are quite affordable. I would suggest getting some wood, a saw of some sort (handsaw or circular saw), a hammer, a screwdriver or two, and a box wrench set. These tools are the most essential for your beginning projects.

When it comes to selecting wood, you typically want to find the straightest and most square pieces that you can. You will save yourself time because unneeded cuts will be unnecessary. Typically the wood has been seasoned for you and is ready to work, but if not you will want to make sure that it is. Seasoned wood is wood that has had time to adjust to the surrounding humidity and other weather conditions.

This can be done by leaving the wood in the sun (if its dry) or in a shed (if its damp). In any case, don’t let the wood become wet or soaked because this can cause mold or rot.

–Safety First–

One of the most important things to remember when working with wood is to ALWAYS wear safety glasses and some sort of respirator (even if you aren’t sawing or sanding). A simple blade can send a splinter straight into your eye and some of the chemicals will wreak havoc on your lungs. Other than these few safety recommendations and the standard “don’t do anything stupid that will cause bodily harm”, you should be fine.

I probably should also mention that it is always a good idea to have a fire extinguisher around (even if you don’t smoke). Most of the time you will be using your tools outside, but accidents do happen. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Well, that’s all I can think of for now. In my next entry, I’ll go over some of the simpler beginner projects to help get you started!

Until then!

Sources & references used in this article: