looking for a good miter saw - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 Old 01-01-2011, 12:56 PM Thread Starter
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looking for a good miter saw

I generally like to do crosscutting with hand tools, keeps the kerf to a minimum and allows me better control over where and how the wood needs to be cut and keeps down dust when working with the more toxic woods. That said, I do not have a good mitre saw for that - relying on chalk lines and hand saws. I also find that over time the saw tends to cut into the guides and therefore ruins the miter box.

Can anyone recommend a good solid miter (mitre?) saw that can handle wide planks? Just to be clear, I'm referring to the hand powered miter saw - not a power model. This is the hand tool forum.
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post #2 of 8 Old 01-01-2011, 04:49 PM
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I have an older Stanley 2244 miter box with a 24" Stanley/Disston saw. I can't speak to the newer miter boxes because I haven't used them. The saw is good for frames, miters, and narrow boards. Older Miller-Fall Langdon boxes are considered very good if you can find one in good shape with all the components. You will probably have to sharpen an older saw.

Something you might want to consider is that even the larger miter boxes are intended for moldings and frames more so than cross-cutting boards. The limit to my box is about 5.5 inches and it takes forever to saw. Despite the 24" saw, the amount of teeth that are actually cutting is much lower than you would think because of the guides. You have to keep a bit of the blade in the far guide or else you lose the benefit of the guide. I hope you understand what I'm talking about. It's easier to show than to explain. For this reason, I don't use the box for stuff wider than 3" or so.

One thing you might consider is your sawing technique. For precision cuts, you want to use a square and marking knife to establish a cut line that a thin-bladed saw with little set can ride against. You want to saw to a cut line rather than a pencil line. This gives the saw blade something to track in. Here is a good video on precision saw technique. If you have a good shooting board and sharp hand plane, you can correct slight mistakes.
http://www.logancabinetshoppe.com/1/...of-sawing.html

Last edited by glh17; 01-01-2011 at 05:25 PM. Reason: Correction: Sorry but that video doesn't mention precision sawing with a back saw. I thought it did.
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post #3 of 8 Old 01-01-2011, 05:30 PM
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The video I was trying to remember was one by Christopher Schwartz. I think it was Forgotten Hand Tools, but not sure.
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post #4 of 8 Old 01-01-2011, 07:12 PM
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I make a knife cut right on the line and then cut down to it from the waste side at an angle....sorta forces the blade down into the groove.

I use a steel straightedge to make the cut line....

I also clamp down a straight edged board right on the cut line to give the saw something to ride against.

You still gotta watch what you are doing but it helps.

Use a back saw too...if possible.
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post #5 of 8 Old 01-02-2011, 10:07 AM
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We have a bunch floatin 'round here.M-F's and ancient Stanleys.....I still use them for certain things.They have the ability to set depth of cut(tennon shoulders),quickly/efficiently.And some other,safe....less destructive cuts that can't seem to be done on chop bxs.When I started working for my dad thats all there was....IOWs chopsaws just weren't around.You WILL become a better craftsman through the use of a good hand bx.There isn't the "sneak up to it" style of working thats so previlant with electrics,and the subsequent dumbing down of the craft.You'll also learn how to finese cuts with a razor sharp low-angle block plane.Very best of luck,try flea-bay.BW
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post #6 of 8 Old 01-02-2011, 01:15 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glh17 View Post
I have an older Stanley 2244 miter box with a 24" Stanley/Disston saw. I can't speak to the newer miter boxes because I haven't used them. The saw is good for frames, miters, and narrow boards. Older Miller-Fall Langdon boxes are considered very good if you can find one in good shape with all the components. You will probably have to sharpen an older saw.

Something you might want to consider is that even the larger miter boxes are intended for moldings and frames more so than cross-cutting boards. The limit to my box is about 5.5 inches and it takes forever to saw. Despite the 24" saw, the amount of teeth that are actually cutting is much lower than you would think because of the guides. You have to keep a bit of the blade in the far guide or else you lose the benefit of the guide. I hope you understand what I'm talking about. It's easier to show than to explain. For this reason, I don't use the box for stuff wider than 3" or so.

One thing you might consider is your sawing technique. For precision cuts, you want to use a square and marking knife to establish a cut line that a thin-bladed saw with little set can ride against. You want to saw to a cut line rather than a pencil line. This gives the saw blade something to track in. Here is a good video on precision saw technique. If you have a good shooting board and sharp hand plane, you can correct slight mistakes.
http://www.logancabinetshoppe.com/1/...of-sawing.html
I appreciate the input. In general I use my powered miter saw for lumber that I don't care THAT much about - doug fir, pine, oak, stuff that comes relatively easily and isn't as sensitve to precision because the finished product isn't anything other than utilitarian. But for anything else I really do want to use a thin blade handsaw.

As for using a knife - wow, never even thought of that, but now that I think about it, it would be a very good way to make a starting cut line.
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post #7 of 8 Old 01-02-2011, 01:20 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BWSmith View Post
We have a bunch floatin 'round here.M-F's and ancient Stanleys.....I still use them for certain things.They have the ability to set depth of cut(tennon shoulders),quickly/efficiently.And some other,safe....less destructive cuts that can't seem to be done on chop bxs.When I started working for my dad thats all there was....IOWs chopsaws just weren't around.You WILL become a better craftsman through the use of a good hand bx.There isn't the "sneak up to it" style of working thats so previlant with electrics,and the subsequent dumbing down of the craft.You'll also learn how to finese cuts with a razor sharp low-angle block plane.Very best of luck,try flea-bay.BW
I'll have to do that - Try e-Bay that is. Sounds like the only way I'll find a reasonably sized box. I could have sworn I saw a decent modern miter box somewhere, but just can't for the life of me remember. There's no reason why that stupid plastic yellow Stanley "miter box" is the default now a days (although I have to admit the saw that comes with it isn't half-bad).
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post #8 of 8 Old 01-03-2011, 09:21 AM
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Last time I checked....Pleasent's Hdwr,Richmond Va,MF dist......and this was late 80's........MF would take orders(and money)for their largest bx and when they got to a certain number of orders they'd fire up the cauldron and cast some.Not that it helps....just always thought it was neat in a 19th century,gotta have patience sort of way?BW
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