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Thread: Miter saw question

  1. #1
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    Miter saw question

    I am looking to add a miter saw to my shop. But I've never used one, and know very little about them. In looking at saws and trying to compare features, it's very confusing. Some are single bevel, double bevel, compound, sliding... what do all these terms mean? Which features would really be useful? And how much should I have to pay to get a decent saw? I know that I would like to have one with a laser, but beyond that...

    Someone please help! I know you guys will.

  2. #2
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    Feb 2009
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    I am a finish carpenter and a miter saw is my mainstay. I really like the Hitachi 10" compound miter slide saw, it is a great tool that I have not felt the need to upgrade at all. It will work great for you unless you need to use it to cut greater than 4" thick. The laser is incredibly acurate and easy to use. It cost me $528.00 including tax

  3. #3
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    That's great, except it didn't really answer any of my questions. And $500+ for any saw is way out of my current budget, unfortunately.

  4. #4
    Laurie, when it comes to miter saws, there are 2 different ways to cut an angle. One is referred to as a Miter (the table of the saw swings left or right to a marked number and then locked in place) and the other is referred to as a Bevel cut. The Bevel cut is where the "head" of the saw, the part with the motor, handle, and blade, can be unlocked and pivot right or left and locked into position. That being said, a "Compound Miter Saw" will incorporate both of these options. You will be able to swing the table (miter cut) in both left and right positions usually 0-50 degrees (plus or minus a few degrees depending on model) AND you will be able to pivot the head of the saw either right, or left usually -5 - 50 degrees, again plus or minus a few degrees depending on the model you choose. This is pretty much the most basic model of miter saw you could look at. I'm not even sure if they make just a "Basic Miter Saw" anymore... this is where you could not even pivot the head to make a compound cut (both miter and bevel in one). The only basic miter saws I've seen are reeeeally old, that is why I'm not sure if they exist anymore or not, but I'm still a young fella so I could be wrong on this

    Now with other options, price will start to climb up there You could look at a "Dual Bevel Compound Miter Saw"... this is the same as the compound, but instead of being limited to one way to pivot the head, you can pivot it both to the left and right. This will add a bit in price for you, but when it comes to doing things like trim work in houses it can be very useful.

    Another pricey option is when you look at a "Dual Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw". This feature has the saw mounted usually on 2 cylinder rails that will allow you to slide the saw towards you and allows you to cut much wider stock. This is when the saws get a lot more pricey.

    Of course there's little gizmos that some models will add such as work lights or lasers. If you are considering a laser you might want to check one out on a display first. It is a neat newer feature, but I personally find them to be sort of a gimmick... if you take a piece of wood and make your mark with a pencil, by the time you get the laser on your mark it is very difficult to see. Also the laser has to be set up perfect so that it will accomodate the blade width, because of this some models have a laser for each side of the blade. I'm not telling you to avoid the laser, it's just my personal taste. I just want to make sure you check one out in person first to see if you think it's worth it

    As far as price goes, all of these things I listed will greatly affect it. Also depending is the size saw you get. The 2 main sizes are 10" and 12". Prices could range anywhere from a decent 10" Compound being $200/250 to a nice 12" Dual Bevel Sliding Compound being $700+ I'll let others chime in on recommended models, but the choice is yours and depends on what kind of work you plan on doing with it. Hope this helps!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laurie Brown View Post
    I am looking to add a miter saw to my shop. But I've never used one, and know very little about them. In looking at saws and trying to compare features, it's very confusing. Some are single bevel, double bevel, compound, sliding... what do all these terms mean? Which features would really be useful? And how much should I have to pay to get a decent saw? I know that I would like to have one with a laser, but beyond that...

    Someone please help! I know you guys will.
    bevel...the entire head tilts side to side if this were the blade |, it tilts like this \, or like this /. double bevel means it tilts both ways.

    sliding, meaning that it both goes up and down, and slides a bit front to back, for cutting wider boards.

    don't know where you are in virginia, but i found these...

    http://roanoke.craigslist.org/tls/1037437676.html
    http://richmond.craigslist.org/tls/1047317124.html
    http://richmond.craigslist.org/tls/1040163799.html
    if you have someone mechanically inclined to fix these...http://blacksburg.craigslist.org/tls/1043547067.html
    http://charlottesville.craigslist.or...036048897.html
    http://norfolk.craigslist.org/tls/1045846935.html
    http://norfolk.craigslist.org/tls/1043572931.html
    http://norfolk.craigslist.org/tls/1041284051.html
    Last edited by Neal Clayton; 02-24-2009 at 12:00 AM.

  6. #6
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    Laurie, a single miter only turns right and left 45 degrees and a compound miter turns right and left and the blade will lean over to 45 so that means you will have 45 degree crosscut and a 45 degree bevel ( hope that makes sense ) a sliding compound miter saw moves back and fourth and up and down instead of just up and down


    hope this makes sense and helps
    Dave

    IN GOD WE TRUST
    USN Retired

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laurie Brown View Post
    I am looking to add a miter saw to my shop. But I've never used one, and know very little about them. In looking at saws and trying to compare features, it's very confusing. Some are single bevel, double bevel, compound, sliding... what do all these terms mean? Which features would really be useful? And how much should I have to pay to get a decent saw? I know that I would like to have one with a laser, but beyond that...

    Someone please help! I know you guys will.
    Miter = angled cut across the face of the board. Plane of the blade is rotated about a vertical axis. The reason for being of any miter saw.

    Bevel = angled cut through the thickness of the board. Plane of the blade is rotated about a fore and aft horizontal axis. Some saws (single bevel) can be adjusted in only one direction to make a bevel cut. Other saws (double bevel) can be rotated both clockwise and counter clockwise to make a bevel cut in either direction.

    Compound Miter = combined and simultaneous miter and bevel cut. Head is rotated to the miter angle about the vertical axis, then rotated CW or CCW about the horizontal axis to set the bevel angle. The cut that must be made to join crown molding at an outside corner is a compound miter.

    Miter Saw vs Sliding Miter Saw: The non sliding miter saw head simply pivots about a horizontal axis. You place the work in position and pivot the head downward to make the cut. The width of the cut is limited by the diameter of the blade. A sliding miter saw is similar to a radial arm saw (RAS) in that the head moves in a horizontal plane like the RAS as well as pivots downward. The width of cut for a given blade diameter is much greater but at the expense of more moving parts. Cuts with a slider are similar to those with a RAS except that the cut is made pushing the saw through the work instead of the RAS technique of pulling the saw through the work.

    As far as cost, it's been said that "you get what you pay for". I think it's more accurate to say "you don't get what you don't pay for". I'm not going to comment on cost beyond that since I've not looked at the market lately. But don't expect inexpensive for a well made, robust, accurate saw.

    As far as laser is concerned. That's pretty much personal preference. I don't put a lot of trust in laser marking for precision work. I find it preferable to mark the cut and adjust the work so the mark meets the blade. I believe (and that's all it is, a belief/opinion) there's too many chances for calibration errors to make a cut with no verification that the blade indeed meets the mark. IOW, I wouldn't pay a penny extra for the laser feature. Other people swear by them. Ya pays yer money 'n' takes yer choice.
    Tom Veatch
    Wichita, KS
    USA

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
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    Mustang, OK
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    I think we need from you is what can you afford. If we know your price range then we can better fit you to a saw in your budget.

  9. #9
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    Vancouver, Wa.
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    Depending on your needs, you could opt for a used radial arm saw instead of a miter saw.
    Personally, I have a Makita LS1040F 10" non slider. Works great.
    A place you can check a video or two of a demo is Dewalt.com
    Wishes-
    When you wish upon a falling star, your dreams can come true. Unless it's really a meteorite hurtling to the Earth which will destroy all life. Then you're pretty much hosed no matter what you wish for. Unless it's death by meteor

  10. #10
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    Mar 2006
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    Well, unfortunately, I think I'm going to have to stay under $300 for this item. I know I probably won't be able to get a great saw for that price, but if I can get something usable and accurate enough to cut square, I'll be happy. I'm thinking I probably don't need the sliding feature, but being able to cut angles by both sliding the table and rotating the head would be good. (Compound, right?) So, in the under $300 range, is there anything decent I could get? I went to Lowe's the other day and they had about 6 different saws in that range, but I honestly can't tell by looking whether one is junk and one is decent or not.

    Also, is there a big difference in the table height of these saws or is there a standard? If I build a benchtop miter station like Norm did on his show, would I have to worry about altering/rebuilding it if I later upgrade my saw?

  11. #11
    This would be a great saw for three hundred:

    http://www.amazon.com/Hitachi-C8FSE-...753412&sr=1-10

    Don't let the 8 1/2" blade fool you... This is a very well made saw... very rigid and accurate. In this sense the smaller blade size is actually an advantage. Plus it's a lot easier to move around that the larger saws and unless you are cutting giant crowns or six by six posts, you are not likely to need a bigger saw.
    David DeCristoforo

  12. #12
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    Mar 2006
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    I really would prefer a 10" saw. I already have a really nice 10" crosscut blade that I'd like to use in it, and I'd like to keep it so the blades are interchangeable between the miter saw and the table saw. I don't want to have to buy different size blades.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laurie Brown View Post
    ...I'd like to keep it so the blades are interchangeable between the miter saw and the table saw. I don't want to have to buy different size blades.
    You might want to exercise a little caution here. Blades that are suitable for a table saw might not be suitable for a miter saw even when they are the same diameter. In general, saws which have the blades above the workpiece and table, i.e., radial arm, sliders, etc, should have a negative hook angle on the teeth while blades for table saws are typically ground with a positive hook angle. The packaging on many of the blades you'll see in the Borgs will show the recommended use of the blades, miter, RAS, table saw, etc.

    I'm not saying that if you use a TS blade on a CMS you'll wind up in the hospital, but you may be more likely to encounter unsatisfactory results than if you stick with the recommended tooth profiles for the various types of saw. I don't use my table saw blades on my SCMS or vice versa so I can't relate any first hand experiences in that area.

    I can't say anything one way or another about the 8.5" SCMS mentioned but I have a Hitachi 10" SCMS that has been satisfactory for my use. The positive detent stops aren't quite as crisp and definite as I'd like, but seem to be accurate. Don't know how well that might carryover to the smaller saw.
    Tom Veatch
    Wichita, KS
    USA

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