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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, I'm new. Really new. I have a router and router table, miter saw, contractors table saw, jig saw, circular saw, pocket hole jigs, and a few other items. I've done a lot of diy carpentry work like installing oak rails, newels, and balusters. I've never completed an "item".

I have no idea how to cut sides to things like book cases or toy storage units and get them the same length and square. The issue that I have is that my miter saw is 12" but it cant cut 10" or wider board width because of the fence.

I have tried to make two items 2 book cases and no matter what the 12" boards are never the same length and the ends arent square.

What is the best method for cutting 12" wide boards?

Do i just need more practice? Very frustrated that I can rout edges and pocket hole join stuff and complete work that seems more difficult and then I just cant get a square edge :(



Thanks for the help.
 

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Stop block on the miter saw. Cut part way through board, let saw stop, flip board and finish cut. Stop blocks assure same length boards, and position board for 2nd part of the cut. Boards must be straight and sides parallel.
 

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bzguy
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Stop block on the miter saw. Cut part way through board, let saw stop, flip board and finish cut. Stop blocks assure same length boards, and position board for 2nd part of the cut. Boards must be straight and sides parallel.
This assumes that the boards are already square, edit to ad if your stop-block is 12"+, wider than the board, and you square and clamp it to the fence it will work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
thanks for the responses.

I really need to get a miter saw stand/box. I dont have a reliable way to set up a saw stop. I tried that and tried flipping the boards and the cuts were awful. But only because my stops were inadequate.
 

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First, find out why your miter saw is not cutting at the set angle. ie. 90 degrees. Is it set in a detent? You may have to set it by hand outside the detent.

How are you checking for square? Have you checked that the instrument you are using is measuring accurately?

Getting the length correct is a matter of measuring.

A 12" miter saw should cut a 12" wide board. That is why it is labeled as 12".

Do you have a friend who you know is knowledgeable about woodworking. Invite him (and his wife if married) over for dinner and cocktails and get him to consult with you. You seem to have a lot of issues that would be difficult to work by remote.

George
 

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John
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I agree with bzguy. Cross cutting long boards, such as bookcase sides, can get dicey on a table saw. Use a straight edge as a guide for your circ saw, clamp both sides together with one end flush to each other and cut both sides at the same time... Gotta come out even that way unless your saw is cutting on a bevel.:smile:
 

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where's my table saw?
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A 12" miter saw should cut a 12" wide board. That is why it is labeled as 12".

George
Actually its beacause it uses a 12" blade. Mine is a 10". It uses a 10" blade. It wont even come close to cutting a 10" wide board.:thumbsup:
 

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Sounds like the fence on your miter saw isn't square to the blade. It took me about a year to figure out that I had to set it about half a degree to the right in order to get a square cut. Now I just use a miter gauge or sled to get square cuts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
my miter saw is square and fine. The issue was that i was trying to cut the board and then flip it to finish the cut since a 12" miter saw will NOT cut a 12" board. The saw stop set up was not good enough so the cuts were "overlapping" some which left them not square.

I need to get a good way to set up positive stops. After my initial failure i just thought that maybe trying to flip the board was a bad idea.

I guess I could get a speed square and try that also.

Thanks for the comments.
 

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Before I had a sliding compound miter saw for wide boards, I would crosscut with a circular saw and a straight piece of stock (or a level, framing square, etc) clamped to the board to act as a saw guide. You could do the same thing with a router & a straight edge, but make sure that you rough cut the board so that your final cut is removing no more than half the cutting diameter of the router bit. Believe it or not, I've made built in bookcases with dado-ed in shelves using an el cheapo craftsman circular saw and a stabila level as a straight edge.
 

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I agree with bzguy. Cross cutting long boards, such as bookcase sides, can get dicey on a table saw. Use a straight edge as a guide for your circ saw, clamp both sides together with one end flush to each other and cut both sides at the same time... Gotta come out even that way unless your saw is cutting on a bevel.:smile:
+1 what John said, and others.
Clamp your boards together with both even on one end. Tape your cut line with painters tape on both sides. Use a guide and a circular saw with a good sharp blade.

I have included a pic of a teachers podium where I made a 14 degree angled cut using the method explained above. The cut was smooth as could be asked for.

Good luck.
Mike
 

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my miter saw is square and fine. The issue was that i was trying to cut the board and then flip it to finish the cut since a 12" miter saw will NOT cut a 12" board. The saw stop set up was not good enough so the cuts were "overlapping" some which left them not square.

I need to get a good way to set up positive stops. After my initial failure i just thought that maybe trying to flip the board was a bad idea.

I guess I could get a speed square and try that also.

Thanks for the comments.
That would not effect the "squareness" of the cut. You would just wind up with two visible cuts.

George
 

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First you don't say what condition the wood your using is.
Are they pine boards you got at the big box store or lumber yard?
Even if they look square and finished when you bought them they may not be so first check for squareness on your rough stock.
Do the boards have a cup in them or are they twisted?
If you don't start with flat stock you have a problem from the get go.

As someone else mentioned a saws size is indicated by the blade diameter not the capacity of the saw.
To try and flip the board and get a square edge would be like winning the lottery!
You are registering against different edges and trying to eyeball it, not a good method for the outcome you need.
Good for a rough cut though.

When I first learned to work with wood the first most basic step was to square up stock.
It is the foundation of your work (my teachers quote).
So assuming your stock is at least flat you should rip the edges of your boards through the table saw.
Make sure the edges are square to the face, check your square for squareness! I have bought squares that were not square!
Measure the width of the board to make sure its parallel, that indicates your saw is set up correctly.

Now you have a board that's flat with two parallel edges. Work from one side of the board, mark it with chalk or a pencil lightly so you know which side
To register from. Draw a line with one stroke using a sharp pencil, if you make more than one line you will make it inaccurate and hard to read.
Now flip your square over to check from the other face, if you have done it right it should be dead on, if not go back and see what is out.

Now you have a line to go by that's accurate.
There are many ways to cut to the line, you don't have a power tool to do it.
You could go out and buy a new power tool or (gasp) cut it by hand!

Google "knife wall" to see how it's done.
You could also make a quick miter box.

So now in theory you have a board that's square and parallel.
Use that board as a pattern to mark your length of the rest of the boards and repeat as needed.

A lot of people get very frustrated in the beginning, as someone else mentioned get someone to help you.
There is no shame in getting some help.
 

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Old School
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my miter saw is square and fine. The issue was that i was trying to cut the board and then flip it to finish the cut since a 12" miter saw will NOT cut a 12" board. The saw stop set up was not good enough so the cuts were "overlapping" some which left them not square.

I need to get a good way to set up positive stops. After my initial failure i just thought that maybe trying to flip the board was a bad idea.

I guess I could get a speed square and try that also.

Thanks for the comments.
You have been saying what your problem is, and it's an easy fix. Set up side tables the height of your saw table, each having a back stop (fence). Or, make a saw station that the saw is bolted down, and the side tables are part of the base, made level with the saw table. Now you have a continuous fence along the back edge that lines up with the saw fence. Make it tall enough to use a clamp to hold a block used as a stop.

Of course, first make sure the saw is set for a 90 degrees, and there's no bevel induced to the blade (tipping the saw).






.
 

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I don't cut widths that size on my miter saw because I question the accuracy of the cuts or my ability to keep the wood tight against the fence through the whole cut. To me it's much easier and more accurate to use the miter sled on my table saw with the wood clamped down to the sled. Just seems like I have more 'control' that way.

I generally only use my miter saw for quick short cuts now.
 

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You could invest in a relatively cheap large speed square and use it as a fence for your circular saw. I work in the field a lot, if you're careful and have a sharp blade this works fine.
Speed squares work but a shop made crosscut jig can be made to any length, and is easy to clamp down if necessary...

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