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View Cole Tallerman's profile

Why cant i cut 45 degree cuts for a box?

by Cole Tallerman
posted 10-09-2012 10:33 PM


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51 replies

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View DS's profile

DS

2131 posts in 1075 days


#1 posted 10-09-2012 10:39 PM

Um yah, you’ll probably want to check all your new saw’s setup, especially the 45 degree hardstop adjustment.

It will be worth it, regardless of the company statements.

FWIW, my new saw took almost a week to settle into the new environs, so I repeated the initial setup at that point too.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View paratrooper34's profile

paratrooper34

760 posts in 1607 days


#2 posted 10-09-2012 10:41 PM

My experience with table saw blades have taught me to use a square or something like that when setting the blade angle. Whether it is 45 or 90, whatever. The scales on the saws are just not accurate enough to guarantee setting the blade by them. For rough measurements, they are good. For stuff that matters, use external reference.

-- Mike

View Cole Tallerman's profile

Cole Tallerman

391 posts in 840 days


#3 posted 10-09-2012 10:42 PM

I checked everything except the blade stop and it was dead on. I will try this weekend. What would you suggest i use as a true 45 degree angle? ive used the head of a combination square before.

View Don W's profile

Don W

15030 posts in 1223 days


#4 posted 10-09-2012 10:43 PM

I don’t own a saw stop, but I’ve yet to see a table saw (or any piece of machinery) with that kind of precision built in. You’ll need something to set the blade exactly. one of those digital blade angle readers would be one option. A good 45 degree scquare would work as well.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15698 posts in 2873 days


#5 posted 10-09-2012 10:44 PM

Yep, you definitely cannot bank on just turning the crank until it stops.

I don’t know about the Sawstop, but with my saw, even when properly adjusted, I can throw the angle out of a perfect 45 just by turning the handle too hard or not hard enough. I always use my digital angle gauge to be sure.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Cole Tallerman's profile

Cole Tallerman

391 posts in 840 days


#6 posted 10-09-2012 10:49 PM

What digital angle gauge should i use? I just spent $2,000 on a table saw so im not looking to break the bank

View patron's profile

patron

13034 posts in 1996 days


#7 posted 10-09-2012 10:53 PM

if you have a good square

cut a board at the 45 angle
and taking the other piece
mate it to the first angle
if it is square
you got 45

if not tweak till they do 90*
(i’m sure there is an adjustable stop bolt
for the stop)

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Don W's profile

Don W

15030 posts in 1223 days


#8 posted 10-09-2012 11:09 PM

then a plane and shooting board wouldn’t be a bad idea either.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View shampeon's profile

shampeon

1377 posts in 838 days


#9 posted 10-09-2012 11:20 PM

One of those $20-30 digital angle gauges are pretty much perfect for this. Like a Wixley:
http://www.amazon.com/Wixey-WR300-Digital-Angle-Gauge/dp/B001PTGBRQ
I got mine for like $19 on sale.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

View a1Jim's profile (online now)

a1Jim

112093 posts in 2232 days


#10 posted 10-09-2012 11:23 PM

When cutting on a miter gauge your material will tend to crawl (move) this can change the angle and the length, it’s very critical for parallel sides to be exactly the same length.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View lab7654's profile

lab7654

252 posts in 902 days


#11 posted 10-10-2012 12:01 AM

I use a speed square, those are long enough to give a good idea of where you are at. They are usually pretty dead on when it comes to accuracy, even the cheap plastic ones.

-- Tristin King -- When in doubt, sand it.

View 47phord's profile

47phord

175 posts in 892 days


#12 posted 10-10-2012 12:17 AM

I always set my saw with a metal framing square I bought years ago. It’s dead-on, and I know that my saw is set right the first time.

View knockknock's profile

knockknock

209 posts in 828 days


#13 posted 10-10-2012 12:46 AM

Tallerman said: “ive used the head of a combination square before.”

As long as you combination square is not poorly made, remove the ruler and the head should have a good 45.

View crashn's profile

crashn

518 posts in 1120 days


#14 posted 10-10-2012 01:12 AM

what you did not mention is that are your cuts short (less than 45) or long (more than 45). Even when set with a guage, square or digital tool, make test cuts in scrap and sneak up on the perfect angle.

-- Crashn - the only thing I make more of than sawdust is mistakes

View GarageWoodworks's profile

GarageWoodworks

432 posts in 811 days


#15 posted 10-10-2012 01:26 AM

I NEVER trust my positive stops for blade bevel angles. It wouldn’t take much sawdust to throw off your positive stop in your table saw.

The fastest and most accurate method for checking 45 is to use a dial indicator and an accurate 45 degree reference.

-- Subscribe on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/GarageWoodworks?feature=guide

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

10874 posts in 1345 days


#16 posted 10-10-2012 01:56 AM

One of those cheapo digital angle gauges revolutionized my miters! I was using a drafting square but they are only as good as your eyesight (and the angle you look from makes a difference). I got my gauge from Woodcraft on sale for a few $ less than the ones at Harbor Freight and I’ve had no battery problems that others have reported. Get one- you’ll be glad!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Dark_Lightning's profile

Dark_Lightning

1715 posts in 1764 days


#17 posted 10-10-2012 02:31 AM

Alignment can seem pretty mysterious. You have to dial it in, and may overshoot and undershoot until you get it right. I’ve aligned equipment to one second of angle and one thousdandth of an inch over many feet. It takes a LOT of patience. Stuff like that has to be done when the temperature in the area is well controlled, or else. Good comments were given above about creeping up on the angle. Nothing (OK, maybe one was) is perfect out of the box. BTW, if your saw sits partially in the sun while you are making miter cuts, expect variation, if you are looking to make them really tight. No joke.

View ajosephg's profile

ajosephg

1853 posts in 2216 days


#18 posted 10-10-2012 02:37 AM

Don’t forget what A1 Jim said about the material crawling (slipping) on the miter gauge. My Osbourn EB-3 has coarse sandpaper attached to the miter fence which really does a good job of keeping the stock from creeping. Can be used on any miter gauge.

-- Joe

View Cole Tallerman's profile

Cole Tallerman

391 posts in 840 days


#19 posted 10-10-2012 02:43 AM

thanks for the suggestions! A1 jim and ajosephg, I have been using a sled, not a miter gauge

View MarkTheFiddler's profile

MarkTheFiddler

1784 posts in 843 days


#20 posted 10-10-2012 02:44 AM

I go with using a miter gauge to get it just right. The thing that I find rather disappointing is that expensive sawstop brand can’t do a good job with the bevel. I would figure it would be accurate to a hundredth of a degree. It’s a pity really.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View rance's profile

rance

4132 posts in 1815 days


#21 posted 10-10-2012 02:57 AM

Have you had success with cutting these on another saw? Technique can have a lot to do with it. If you are not using a stop block to assure both opposing sides are identical in length, then all bets are off.

Rather than building a box, try cutting only two bevels, glue them together, then check those againsta a square. This will eliminate some of the technique issues.

Personally, a miter saw is my weapon of choice for picture frames or boxes. Or if you use your TS, then use the miter gauge rather than tilting the blade. Many roads can get you there. Let us know what you come up with.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

10874 posts in 1345 days


#22 posted 10-10-2012 03:03 AM

Rance- How do you miter the sides of a box with a miter gauge?

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View riverguy's profile

riverguy

91 posts in 719 days


#23 posted 10-10-2012 03:16 AM

I’ve been using a magnetic digital angle gauge for the last 5 years now and I absolutely do not know how I managed to get along without it for the previous 60 years! It’s easy, it’s quick and it’s right on. Every time. They’re only $30-40, and are SO worth it!

Then the other angle culprit on tablesaws is the miter gauge that comes with just about all of them. (I guess most are OK for cutting scraps into firewood.) I used to mess around with a stack of dedicated home-made sleds to insure accurate, repeatable angle cuts. Then I popped for an Incra miter gauge, just the basic V-120. A little bit pricey, but again, SO worth it. After that purchase, I seldom used a sled anymore.

Then one day there was a sale on the Incra 100SE. I finally tossed all the sleds. This thing will cut any angle, repeatable, perfectly, every time. It adjusts to your saw table grooves so that there is zero play, it has precision-adjustable stops for when you have multiple cuts to make, and it is just an awesome tool.

IMHO, you will never regret the purchase of a digital angle gauge and at least one precision miter gauge! Go for it!

-- Skip, Forestville, CA, http://www.sonomastainedglass.com

View rance's profile

rance

4132 posts in 1815 days


#24 posted 10-10-2012 03:36 AM

Andy-On the TS with the miter gauge, I am limited to shorter boxes. As high as the TS blade will go.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Greg..the Cajun  Box Sculptor's profile (online now)

Greg..the Cajun Box Sculptor

5099 posts in 1963 days


#25 posted 10-10-2012 03:37 AM

Rance…you said you cut your miters based on how high the TS blade will go…do you cut your box miters with the board on its edge or lay it flat?

I always use a Wixey digital angle gague and am very satisfied with it. I bought a second one as a backup/spare.
I also have an Incra HD1000 miter gague and when I set the stop for the length it is always dead on accurate. Like A1jim said…you also have to make sure your piece being cut is solid on the table and does not ride up. Accuracy is a combination of procedures that produces the desired results.

-- If retiring is having the time to be able to do what you enjoy then I have always been retired.

View rance's profile

rance

4132 posts in 1815 days


#26 posted 10-10-2012 03:49 AM

Greg, the side of the box is standing on its edge and the miter gauge is swung to 45°, and the TS blade is in its vertical position.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View ksSlim's profile

ksSlim

984 posts in 1545 days


#27 posted 10-10-2012 05:23 AM

Drafting squares are usually available at office supply stores.
A 45-45-90 and a 30-60-90 are a great investment for any shop.
Won’t break the bank either.

-- Sawdust and shavings are therapeutic

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

10874 posts in 1345 days


#28 posted 10-11-2012 12:30 AM

Rance, Thanks for the reply. I get it now but my boxes are all too tall for that method and my mitersaw is a POS good only for breaking down long stock. Love my digital angle gauge!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Ethan Harris's profile

Ethan Harris

300 posts in 799 days


#29 posted 10-12-2012 02:35 PM

angle ruler, buy one at Home Depot, I am learning to do miter cuts and this little ruler does wonders.

-- Ethan, CT: Check out my Small Business at http://www.spudwoodworks.com & also follow me on twitter https://twitter.com/Ethan_Woodworks

View jim C's profile

jim C

1452 posts in 1753 days


#30 posted 10-12-2012 03:49 PM

If you use a digital gage, be sure to check the table’s possible error first. If the saw sets on say a 2 degree angle because of the floor it’s sitting on, that error must be included in the angle you’re setting.

-- When I was a boy, I was told "anyone can be President", now I'm beginning to believe it!

View RussellAP's profile

RussellAP

2950 posts in 941 days


#31 posted 10-12-2012 04:28 PM

get one of these and take the ruler out. It’s small enough to get under the blade in most cases and give a perfect 45 from any angle.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View thedude50's profile

thedude50

3515 posts in 1133 days


#32 posted 10-12-2012 04:32 PM

I set my stops up using the Wixey digital angle finder and never looked back. The Wixey is very accurate in fact it is so accurate it is scary. it is cheep too My review of the Wixey digital systems will soon be up at this old workshop.com

-- when I am not on Lumberjocks I am on @ http://thisoldworkshop.com where we allow free speech

View BigYin's profile

BigYin

231 posts in 1071 days


#33 posted 10-12-2012 04:45 PM

Google << GemRed Digital Angle Finder Gauge Bevel Box >>

Set Gemred to zero off your saw bench top, then use the magnetic base to hold it on your saw blade, and set blade at desired angle. get one off ebay, its simple and it works.

Gemreds digital protractor is also worth the money

-- ... Never Apologise For Being Right ...

View Grumpymike's profile

Grumpymike

1084 posts in 970 days


#34 posted 10-12-2012 04:56 PM

I have found that none of the gauges on any table saw are really dead on, they are close enough for timber framing, but not for fine woodworking.
I use a plastic drafting 30-60-90 and a 45 triangle for most of my setups. I also use a Wixley digital angle indicator; it’s accurate to the tenth of a degree.
Both methods work well, and the costs are about $5 and $25 respectively.
After you are set up, cut a test piece and follow PATRON’s instruction for perfect 45”s.
Also put a strip of sandpaper on the miter fence to help prevent ‘creep’ as Jim pointed out.
Hope this helps.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View shampeon's profile

shampeon

1377 posts in 838 days


#35 posted 10-12-2012 04:58 PM

What BigYin said. Every digital angle gauge I’ve seen has a “zero” button to reset the 0 degree baseline, so even if your table is on an angle, the measurement will be relative to the table.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

View Builder_Bob's profile

Builder_Bob

160 posts in 1714 days


#36 posted 10-12-2012 05:04 PM

I have a Sawstop contractors saw too. You have to check the angle every time you change it.

Make sure you check the angle after you tighten down the lock on the adjusting wheel!

-- "The unexpected, when it happens, generally happens when you least expect it."

View thedude50's profile

thedude50

3515 posts in 1133 days


#37 posted 10-12-2012 05:35 PM

there IS A REALLY GOOD VIDEO ON MAKING BOXES AT FINE WOODWORKING .COM I think that the video is called basic box making the guy dials in his cut with one test piece and once the saw is set the mityer will be very good however to get a great fitting miter I cut my pieces long and then use a shooting board to make the miter perfect. The saw is not a finish tool IMHO it is a starting point if you don’t have a plane you can still shoot the joint with a sanding block and a shooting board. I also want to impress upon you that test cuts to get your set up is part of good work practice. once the cut is dialed in you can make the same cut all day long if you lock the saw in place. Also you should adjust your positive stops on the saw till they are dead on this set up will take some time to get it perfect but once it is you should be able to go to your stop and get repeatable cuts every time. However the good practice of dialing in a perfect cut on your saw is not replaced by a well set up positive stop. nin other words go to the stop and dial in the cut by making micro adjustments lock the saw and be sure the angle is right before you cut your good wood. in the video he explains that you use a wider piece to do your test cut so that way if it is good to go a narrower piece will be even better. That is to say it wont show any error if the wide cut is dead on the narrow cut will be more so. I made a few boxes using his technique and they were bot accurate and fast. I am sure if you follow these guidelines and watch the video series you will see your saw is by far more accurate than the saw the guy in the video is using and yet he gets great results. I took a lot of his methods however i don’t like to use sanders I prefer a good plane to a sander the finish is much better and you never have to eat dust.

-- when I am not on Lumberjocks I am on @ http://thisoldworkshop.com where we allow free speech

View Woodbum's profile

Woodbum

442 posts in 1720 days


#38 posted 10-12-2012 06:13 PM

Wixey all the way. I have a couple and they pay for themselves the first time you DON”T have to use your high dollar stock for decorative firewood. I have never trusted the set up stops etc on any power tool. Get in the habit of checking each setup. And as the other Great Bob; Builder Bob stated, check the setting again after locking down the saw. It’s kind of a bite to buy another tool after you ponied up that kind dough for your TS, but the Wixey works on all of my power tools. Drill press too.

-- Improvidus, Apto quod Victum-- Improvise, Adapt, Overcome

View thedude50's profile

thedude50

3515 posts in 1133 days


#39 posted 10-13-2012 10:26 PM

will the author please reply to this thread there have been lots of good points made here and i would like to hear how you are resolving this problem. did you take our advice ?

-- when I am not on Lumberjocks I am on @ http://thisoldworkshop.com where we allow free speech

View Cole Tallerman's profile

Cole Tallerman

391 posts in 840 days


#40 posted 10-14-2012 04:13 AM

Hey sorry i was too busy today in the shop! I tried the rafting square only to find out that it was warped, so I took the steel handle part off of my adjustable square and it worked perfectly. It turned out that my 90 degree stop was off as well and so i spent a good part of my day getting that saw calibrated. I just finished gluing up a box and the miters were perfect! I’l have to make it my first LJ’s project post. Oh and thanks for the ideas of the sandpaper on the miter gauge. It worked very well.

Thanks everyone!

View thedude50's profile

thedude50

3515 posts in 1133 days


#41 posted 10-14-2012 04:58 AM

Glad to here you resolved this issue did you watch the video I recommended at FWW? it will make you an expert box maker in no time .

-- when I am not on Lumberjocks I am on @ http://thisoldworkshop.com where we allow free speech

View rance's profile

rance

4132 posts in 1815 days


#42 posted 10-14-2012 10:12 PM

The link Lance referrs to I believe is Basic Box-Making. I don’t have a subscription, but even the intro. shows some great techniques. I do have Doug’s boxmaking book. It is good.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View yrob's profile

yrob

340 posts in 2307 days


#43 posted 10-15-2012 12:39 AM

Stops are not accurate enough to stay exactly dead on especially the 45 degree stops. The best you can do is make test cuts and slowly creep in. You cut a piece and flip one of the offcuts. Check that they mate at 90 degrees. If they do not, keep adjusting your blade until it does. Only then, can do you and cut your real wood with confidence.

-- Yves

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

10874 posts in 1345 days


#44 posted 10-15-2012 02:09 AM

Perfect miters are a cause for celebration! Congrats.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View AJswoodshop's profile

AJswoodshop

1057 posts in 931 days


#45 posted 10-15-2012 02:17 AM

Most saw’s aren’t set perfect, use a square to make sure you cuts are at the right bevel. My saw is off by about two degrees, I wish the people that make tools would double check that their bevels are correct.

-- If I can do it.....so can you! -AJswoodshop

View thedude50's profile

thedude50

3515 posts in 1133 days


#46 posted 10-15-2012 03:53 AM

I guess if i want someone to go to a link I should post it for them thanks for doing it Rance it seems to be a good series I am always playing with boxes

-- when I am not on Lumberjocks I am on @ http://thisoldworkshop.com where we allow free speech

View Cole Tallerman's profile

Cole Tallerman

391 posts in 840 days


#47 posted 10-15-2012 10:55 AM

That video series was exactly what i needed! thanks Dude and Rance! It is really strait forward and i have yet to watch the whole thing. I just needed to get a subscription to FWW but i needed to do that anyway. Im defiantly going to try some of my newfound tactics this weekend!

View webwood's profile

webwood

618 posts in 1905 days


#48 posted 10-15-2012 12:28 PM

blade deflection throws my cuts off as well – i us a heavy blade for those cuts – thin kerf bends quite a bit

-- -erik & christy-

View thedude50's profile

thedude50

3515 posts in 1133 days


#49 posted 10-16-2012 03:29 AM

Cole I have not got through all the videos yet either but i was impressed at how he achieved a good result on a saw that looks like it has seen its better days long ago. It is no were near the saw you or I have and I felt if he could use his system to turn out sell-able boxes then I could use his method too. I need quick high profit items to sell to keep the doors open. I cant seem to get enough large piece orders in this economy to pay all the bills and keep the wife happy I may have to return to work even though my health is bad just to have OFF DAYS TO SPEND IN THE SHOP.

I can only stay in the shop full time if I can make a living doing it this way.

-- when I am not on Lumberjocks I am on @ http://thisoldworkshop.com where we allow free speech

View Woodbum's profile

Woodbum

442 posts in 1720 days


#50 posted 11-05-2012 09:38 PM

The mitered corner box is a simple LOOKING item, but when you realize that you have to cut 8 45 degree miters, all correct, that illusion changes. It is really a more difficult task than it apperars to be at first look. It is indeed a cause for celebration as my fellow Okie gfadvm stated.

-- Improvidus, Apto quod Victum-- Improvise, Adapt, Overcome

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