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Miter Saws Framing The Way We Cut
Back in the old days a miter saw held a blade that was attached to a box. The blade was perfectly angled to create 90 and 45 degree angles with a simple adjustment. This manual tool easily cut through frame, crown, or chair mouldings. It even made the cut when it came to exterior corners on baseboard mouldings. Perhaps that is why there are some people who still own and use this type of manual saw and find it perfectly acceptable.
Itís All About the Power
Today, it seems that power is where itís at, even when it comes to basic tools. The greatest advantage to using a power saw is the cleanliness of the cut. A hand saw, no matter how skilled the craftsman is, still leaves the cut wood a bit more ragged than a power saw. And with the rising popularity of all power tools, there is not a significant cost difference between a manual miter saw and a basic power miter saw.
When it comes to fancier versions of the miter saw, then you must have power. In general, a miter saw or radial saw with allow users to adjust the degree of the cut relative to the fence which guides the wood by a single degree. There are standard stops at the most common settings of 15, 30, 45, and 90 degrees. When wood is securely anchored against the fence, a 45 degree cut will perfectly match a corresponding 45 degree cut going in the opposite direction for the perfect mitered corner to frames or window mouldings.
Another Angle to Miter Saws
Beyond picture frames and crown moulding, there is a whole new angle to miter cuts that make table tops, counters and other furniture safer and more appealing. It is the compound miter saw. A compound cut gives counters and table tops a unique bevelled edge that rounds the sharp corners and makes them less likely to snag or scratch someone walking by. The gradual angles of the cut shape the edge and a little sanding smoothes it to perfection.
Radial arm saws can create a similar effect. It just requires a couple of passes of the blade at different angles to complete the look. The Dewalt radial arm saw was a good model, but is no longer manufactured in the U.S. (Production stopped in 1985). However, this workhorse found in many of the best workshops can still be serviced throughout the country.
A panel saw is the first step in projects such as cabinetry. It is designed to cut the face and sides of the cabinet by cutting large panels of plywood into the rectangles. Then the miter saw would be used to frame and face the front of the cabinet door or draw, usually made of a fine hardwood, so that there were bevelled edges and a complete decorative front.
It is easy to see that a number of saws are used to make up a complete workshop. If you have to substitute a miter saw for another, then make the radial saw your choice.
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