45 degree cut using miter saw

Sorry if this is a silly question, but I can’t seem to get the miter saw to the 45 degree position - it hits the enclosure at 30-something degrees. What’s the right way to do this?

If your board is less than 5" wide/tall use the setting moving the handle to the left or to the right to the 45 degree preset mark instead of going up and down. The up and down or convex feature is mostly for crown molding or framing where you cut two angles at a time. If the board is over 5" use sled on table saw or 45 degree chamfer router bit if you have one.

Sorry forgot to include that you have to stand your board against the fence so the narrow edge sits on the table. Please keep your hands away from the blade.

Thanks for the reply! Unfortunately my boards are a little over 5”, but I’ll see if that works. I tried using the table saw, but the aluminum piece behind the blade gets misaligned, so the discard piece gets caught on it and throws the whole board out of alignment. Additionally the angle gauge on the table saw is imprecise, so it requires several (it took me maybe 7-8 cuts) trial runs to get 45 degrees exactly.

Is there a way to maybe get permission to temporarily move the miter saw out of the housing, make the cuts, and move it back? It seems like kind of a loss to not be able to use the miter saw to make miter joints out of wider boards

When we mounted the miter saw we attempted to work through all the angle adjustments and cut back the cabinet until the full range of motion was available. Maybe we missed one? Where’s it binding up?

Unless the boards are really long, this does sound to me like a job for a crosscut sled on the table saw. You’re right that for precision work you should check the blade alignment directly rather than trust the tilt gauge on the cabinet. 45º is a nice round number to check with a combination square.

“Aluminum piece behind the blade”? The riving knife? The metal hook immediately behind the blade? That is removable in under 30 seconds. Pop the insert, and there is a black handle towards the back of the blade. Pull the handle, pull the knife, and put the handle back. Replace the insert.

Getting a truly accurate 45 cut is challenging, but people are doing it frequently. It’s all about setup and adjusting.

The indicator on the cabinet is a general idea of the blade angle - it’ll be somewhere around 45. You can use the digital angle indicator, which is kept on top of the fence. Be sure to use the sled itself as the 0 reference first. Then crank the blade out until the indicator says 45.0. Then you’ll need to get some scrap and run test cuts. Two pieces of wood, one pass each. Take the same side of the cut from both passes (e.g. both pieces from the right side of the blade) and join them inside of a try square. That’ll tell you which way to bump the angle. Once your cuts join to your satisfaction, you’re there. Good plywood or MDF strips make fine gages for this part. (Do not use the same piece of wood you mitered as the two pieces inside the square, as they will be complementary angles.)

Speaking of sleds, someone recently rebuilt / rehabilitated the old miter sled. DO NOT use the new sled with the blue T tracks embedded in the top.

I’m pretty new to this, so I don’t necessarily know the right terminology. I’m talking about rotation of the blade about the horizontal axis which is in the plane of the blade, perpendicular to the plane of the fence. I’m able to rotate the saw about the vertical axis just fine. Again, I might just be making a silly mistake, but I wasn’t able to get the blade to 45 degrees without hitting the left or right sidewalls of the enclosure.

So I can better understand, why is the table saw more suitable for shorter pieces? I was hoping to use the miter saw because it seems easier to calibrate to a precise 45 degrees than the table saw, but I’m happy to use whatever tool is appropriate for the job.

Thanks for the detailed advice!

For shorter pieces, a sled will support the work piece all the way up to the blade. The miter saw has a fairly large opening around the blade, and may not support short off cuts. It can also be harder to control tearout, as a result. A sled can help to control tearout, especially if you add a zero clearance surface to it.

I’m not quite understanding your updated description. Do you have a sketch you can provide of what you are trying to accomplish? With that, we can get a better idea of how to proceed.

Got it, that makes sense. Here’s a photo I found online of the position I was trying to get the saw into, although based on what you said, it seems the table saw with sled is the way to go for me.

Pretty straight forward operation on the bevel sled. Bevel cross cut.

I took a look at this today. The full range of left bevel was available, but right 45º was hitting the bench brush holder that got added somewhere along the line. I’m pretty sure the old miter saw could only bevel to the left.

Anyway, the brush is not on top the cabinet, the brush holder is gone, and the full left and right bevel range is operable.

I just now realized I only checked bevels at 90º miter – I didn’t check that extreme compounds cleared the sides of the enclosure. If you run into any other problems don’t be afraid to speak up :slight_smile: