How would you cut these miters? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 Old 03-30-2014, 08:10 PM Thread Starter
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How would you cut these miters?

I need some help from the real woodworkers here! I been tinkering around with wood working for years and usually can figure things out and make it work but I'm no fine woodworker. Think rough carpenter doing trim work type of thing! My brother has cancer for the second time now and he's only 15. There is going to be a benefit for him in a few weeks and I would like to make some things to be raffled off. One of the things I came up with is a Hope Box, or that's what I've been calling them. Just an oak box with the work HOPE routed in the top and then a piece of granite under it that has a wick in it. Little more to the candle part but you get the idea.

How would you cut these miters?-hope-candle-lit.jpg

I've never taken the time to figure out how to get perfect miters, always got them close enough and called it good. But I would like to figure it out on this project. The sides are 1 1/2" tall by 1/2" thick. I've been cutting them on my miter saw which is an older bosch that has always worked good and has a decent blade on it unless it's dull or something. I believe it's set up alright but I may be wrong. I do have a table saw, just a bosch 4100 if that would work better? Or should I just take the time to figure out if my blade is in good shape and re align my miter saw? Any suggestions on how to up my skills on miter joints? Thanks

How would you cut these miters?-hope-box-miter-joints.jpg

Thanks for your help
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post #2 of 12 Old 03-30-2014, 09:05 PM
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Not a "real woodworker" here, but if you are having problems with perfect miters from your miter saw, I'd build a simple miter sled for your ts. Check out Steve Ramsey's on YouTube. An easy jig and perfect cuts.

Ernest Hemingway once wrote, "The world is a fine place and worth fighting for." I agree with the second part.
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post #3 of 12 Old 03-30-2014, 09:29 PM
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+1. once the TS is set up properly, a good jig will usually make for repeatable perfection.

there's a solution to every problem.....you just have to be willing to find it.
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post #4 of 12 Old 03-30-2014, 10:20 PM
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Another plus one for a sled. I had a kitchen job many years ago where the customer wanted mitered corner raised panel doors. I used the sled to make over 40 doors, worked great.
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post #5 of 12 Old 03-30-2014, 10:56 PM
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Definitely build a sled for the ts you never know what the future might bring and the need for it later.
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post #6 of 12 Old 03-31-2014, 12:44 AM
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once again another cross cut sled talk...you guys just make me jealous, wish my table saw could handle a sled it can't even til the blade without warping the table top

I would cut those miters on the table saw if I had one that would work. Like said above a sled would be perfect and you can also use a stop block so each piece is the exact same length. The box need to have 45 but also equal lengths
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post #7 of 12 Old 03-31-2014, 01:05 AM
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Sleds are a great aid but you still need to get the basics of mitered corners down first. Each side must be a perfect mirrored image of its opposite.

Also...

You need to make sure you are cutting perfect 45 degree angles. Get yourself one of those plastic drafting triangles that is set at 45 and use the to check your saw.

I've been using a chop saw for years to do miters and have very good results. Use stop blocks to get equal lengths and the triangle to check the miter.

Once you get all the sides cut to be exact matches with good 45 degree miters, your mitered corners should come out perfect.

Of course you'll need so method of clamping it square while the glue dries. I have gotten good results with a simple band clamp.

If Woodworking is so much fun why isn't it called WoodFUNNING?

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post #8 of 12 Old 03-31-2014, 04:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnie52 View Post
Sleds are a great aid but you still need to get the basics of mitered corners down first. Each side must be a perfect mirrored image of its opposite.

Also...

You need to make sure you are cutting perfect 45 degree angles. Get yourself one of those plastic drafting triangles that is set at 45 and use the to check your saw.

I've been using a chop saw for years to do miters and have very good results. Use stop blocks to get equal lengths and the triangle to check the miter.

Once you get all the sides cut to be exact matches with good 45 degree miters, your mitered corners should come out perfect.


+1. If you want to use a miter saw, cut the 45 on one end (I usually do the left) of all the pieces. Since parallel sides have to be the exact length, measure off for one side, and set up a stop for the 45 cut to the right side.





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post #9 of 12 Old 03-31-2014, 10:08 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cabinetman View Post


+1. If you want to use a miter saw, cut the 45 on one end (I usually do the left) of all the pieces. Since parallel sides have to be the exact length, measure off for one side, and set up a stop for the 45 cut to the right side.





.
Thanks for all the good suggestions from everyone. I've thought about building a table saw sled for a while now so may go that route. But it sounds like I should be able to cut these on my miter saw also. I think I'm going to give it a "tune up". I'm sure this has been discussed many times here so I will search. But if anyone has a link to a good write up on adjusting a miter saw that would be great.

One thing with my miter saw is it seems like when I cut to length it's not a perfect cut. But then if I shave just a hair off it makes a much better cut. I also need to use a stop block like you mentioned. I didn't think about that and just been cutting it by marking and eyeing it up.

Also if I do end up building a table saw sled what is the best way to set it up to do 45 degree angles? I watched the ramsey video and like how simple his is but I still would need to figure out the angle issues. Just draw some lines at a 45 degree angle and screw some boards down as a guide?

Thanks for your help
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post #10 of 12 Old 03-31-2014, 10:52 AM
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Here are some tips for miter cutting on a miter saw. 1) Make sure the saw is set up accurately. For cutting vertical miters, like you are doing, the saw head has to be exactly perpendicular to the table. Also the fence has to be exactly perpendicular to the table...don't laugh, some saws are not. 2) When cutting vertical miters, any variation in pressure by your hand holding the board against the fence can cause the miter not to be square. If you have more pressure on the top edge, the saw will cut more off the miter there. If you push in on the bottom, the saw will cut off more there. Believe me, if you take a miter that you already cut, check it with a square, then push against the top or bottom, which ever is long, and re-cut the miter, you will see the difference. 3) Miter cutting makes the blade want to dig in and wander off the line, so on long miter cuts it is best to make a rough cut about 1/16" off the line, then your final cut. That will keep the blade from wandering. 4) If your blade is dull and you try step 3, the blade will slide off the edge and you will never get a good miter. 5) If the board you are cutting is cupped, you will not get a straight miter. It will be concave or convex. This happens a lot when cutting baseboard that has been finished only on the front. Moisture gets into the back and causes that side to swell.

Those pointers should give you some things to watch for. I just built a walnut box with a lid to be used as an urn. The mitered sides were 4 1/2" tall. I paid attention to each of the steps I gave you to get perfect miters on that box.
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post #11 of 12 Old 03-31-2014, 11:21 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks MN. Is there a good way to hold the piece to get a good cut? One of my sides is 4 1/2" long and 1 1/2" tall. So not much to hold onto with my hand so close to the blade when it's at a 45.

I've been making a rough cut and then shaving 1/16" or so off and that seems to help. But kind of a pain.

I wouldn't mind building a table saw fence if that would help, like I said I've wanted to for a while but never took the time and every time a project comes up where one would come in handy I don't take the time to and figure out a different way. But if it would help I will take the time to build one.

Thanks for your help
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post #12 of 12 Old 04-01-2014, 10:19 AM
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When I hold a piece to be mitered, if the saw head is turned to the right, I have my right hand on the saw handle and my left holding the piece. I try to get the heel of my hand against the bed, my first finger against the top front of the piece, my thumb against the bottom, my other fingers over the top edge, and the "karate chop" edge of my hand pushing against the front of the board. It sounds complicated, but it gives me good pressure against the front and down against the bed and my palm anchors the piece to the saw bed so it won't drift into the blade. If I don't grip the piece with enough pressure, I can actually feel the blade pulling the piece toward it as the blade cuts. (If I am cutting with the saw head to the left everything gets reversed.)

There are clamps that can be attached to miter saws. Sometimes I have used Vice Grip C-clamps to hold a cupped piece flat against the back fence. Most of the time I just use my hand to hold the board, but making sure I apply plenty of pressure to hold the piece.

For you 1 1/2" pieces, you should not have to worry about cupping or about drift very much and if the pieces have "squared" edges you should be able to keep the piece against the back fence with no problem. If the edges are not squared, the piece could rock away from the fence if you don't hold it tight.

The table saw sled is a nice feature. I have gotten accustomed to using the miter saw after years of cutting baseboard and crown molding. The table saw sled is fine for short pieces, but long pieces become hard to handle on a table saw.
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