Miter cut - To Bevel or Not to Bevel? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 07-02-2011, 08:09 PM Thread Starter
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Miter cut - To Bevel or Not to Bevel?

I am creating a hardwood frame to add depth and cover the edges of a plywood desktop. I want to cut the ends of each frame piece at 45 degrees so they connect nicely. I am planning to do that with the miter saw. However, I also know that the miter saw can change its axis in order to create a bevel effect. A tutorial video I just watched

(How to Make the perfect miter cut) -

showed how to do the bevel, but didn't explain why that was necessary or even recommended. I'm not sure if that's something useful for crown molding, whereas for a table frame it's not needed. Could someone enlighten me?
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post #2 of 6 Old 07-02-2011, 08:16 PM
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He is cutting a compound miter, so if the trim is leaning back somewhat, the miter will not open up. Not needed in your situation.

OH, wait a minute ............Yep!.............That's what he said!

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post #3 of 6 Old 07-02-2011, 08:52 PM
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The video shows a slight back bevel (AKA back cutting) to the miter cut. Basically just a 45 degree cut on both pieces would be fine. The pieces should be on the table like they sit on the wall. The back bevel he added (with the cardboard) was just to minimize how much wood was left on a 45 degree cut. The back bevel allows just the very front edges to touch, which can bring them tighter, as there is not much beyond the front edge that would be touching.

But, on thicker moulding the back cut may be visible on the inside or outside corner.

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post #4 of 6 Old 07-03-2011, 12:14 PM
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Cabinetman is spot on.

However, if you want a beveled edge on the trim, just use a 45 degree bevel bit in a router, it will do just fine. You could even do the same with a hand plane, just mark the top and side edges as to how far you want the bevel to be cut in and plane away until you hit both lines.

A nice beveled edge or even a round-over will look really nice, rather than to just leave it square.

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post #5 of 6 Old 07-03-2011, 06:13 PM
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He is not making a perfect miter cut, he is making a miter cut that looks perfect only from the face. We call it a face fit. Miter cuts are butt joints. The best hope you have of keeping them tight and together over the longterm is for them to fit perfectly through their entire thickness for maximum glue surface. Back beveling a cut is an old carpenters trick, often used because surfaces you fit to are seldom even, flat and straight. Back cutting isn't a big deal for applications like door and window casings and other carpentry work but it isn't something that goes with finer quality woodworking. If you are coping crown molding, that is a back or under cut and coping would typically be used when installing crown in a room. Crown on a piece of furniture is not traditionally coped.

If you looked closely at the cut he was making, the piece he put under the casing kept the casing off the table and the casing actually got pushed down when the saw made the cut. That can be dangerous. If he was cutting a wider board or a longer one in the middle, it may cause pinching on the blade. That's when the saw binds, may jump or charge forward. It can also cause burning or just give a poor quality cut. A very large percentage of Youtube videos on woodworking should be taken with a grain of salt. There are some rather uniformed and dangerous folks posting videos. Another safety violation was that he did not keep the saw down until it stopped. No safety glasses and poor control on the work piece that could move like a teeter totter. Don't take lessons from this guy.
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post #6 of 6 Old 07-03-2011, 06:17 PM Thread Starter
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All very good info, Hammer. Thank you.
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