my Old Workshop

Tips to cut perfect angles in wood

A compound miter saw is great for cutting angles or bevels when the stock is laying flat on the table. But it can be tricky to make the cut in the precise spot with the blade on an angle. Here are three tips to make yours accurate.

1. If one end of the piece is going to be square-cut, do it last. Cut the angle first. Then measure and draw a line for the square-cut. Straighten the blade and cut away.

2. If both ends will be angled, obviously the previous technique won’t work. So, when making the final cut, start a little long to see exactly where the blade is cutting. Adjust the position of the piece on the table, and finish the cut.

3. Since the blade usually only tilts one way, you may need to make the cut from the off-side of your measurement to avoid holding the wood awkwardly on your off-side. You can calculate the location of the cut like this. Using a square, extend a line from the measurement around the piece to the other side. Then you need to determine how far back the cut should be. With a simple 45 degree angle, it’s easy. It’s the same as the thickness of the stock. But if the angle is different save yourself calculation headaches. Simply do a test cut and measure the offset.