How to Choose a Miter Saw

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To choose the right miter saw, consider the types of cuts necessary, as straight cuts can be done using a basic chop saw while specific angles require a sliding compound miter saw. Select a miter saw with as many or as few capabilities with help from a custom furniture maker in this free video on woodworking tools.

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Hi I'm Dave Trull with The Trull Gallery, a custom furniture shop in St. Petersburg, Florida and I want to talk to you today about how to choose a miter saw. There are several stages of miter saws, from the basic miter saw or it's even I should say from the basic shop saw all the way up to a sliding compound miter saw. The features that you purchase in a saw allow you to do more or less. What you need to do with your saw will determine what features you want to go with. If you are just making straight cuts day after day after day after day and you never make any angles you can go with a simple chop saw, relatively inexpensive and they're just designed to make square cuts. The next step up is a miter saw. What a miter saw adds is a pivoting table like I have here. Now I can make cuts at different angles and these days you are pretty much going to find angles from 45 to 45 at a minimum left and right. Some manufacturers go further, some of them go as far as 60 degrees. Given a choice I would want one that goes a little bit past 45 maybe 50 degrees at least on one side, preferable on two so if you get a joint that is not exactly 90 degrees and you want a nice tight miter that you need to fudge maybe it's 46 degrees instead of 45 you can do that easily and not have to worry about messing around with jigs and back shaving and all that. The next step beyond that is a compound miter saw and what a compound miter saw lets you know is not only pivot the table but angle the head as well. So now you can make compound miters where you have angled the head and the table where your stock is square to your fence. This is good if you are doing a lot of trim work, crown molding, things of that nature, lets you do really unusual cuts without doing, going to all the tables and figuring out exactly what's what and where they can get really confusing. Here it lets you set up precisely the angles you need and work real quickly and smoothly by setting your angles. So that's how to choose a miter saw. I'm Dave Trull with The Trull Gallery, the fine art of furniture making.

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