Recommended cut for miters on TS?

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Forum topic by Jesse posted 10-17-2010 08:29 AM 1383 views 1 time favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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105 posts in 2885 days

10-17-2010 08:29 AM

Hey veterans. I have been working on building boxes for my wife to annex as I complete them. Inevitably, as I work on a box I begin wondering what I’m doing wrong. ( Whether or not I am wrong isn’t important, it’s the general idea that there must be a way I could be more accurate that is important.)

So here is the issue. When you cut your miters on a TS, do you place the inside face down and tilt the blade to 45 degrees. Or do you keep the blade square to the table and run the piece using a miter gauge set to 45 degrees? What is the preferred method here, and when is one used over the other?

I realize a miter chop saw would be the “accurate” tool of choice for this, but we all work w/ what we have.

8 replies so far

View Steve's profile


19 posts in 3073 days

#1 posted 10-17-2010 09:28 AM

2 points of view here to consider as knucklehead suggests build a mitre jig.

The benefit is that if it is square then it will always cut the same provided it has not been dropped.

Other thing to consider is how accurate is the saw tilt?

If you can guarantee an absolute 45 each time.
Then id’ be inclined to tilt the saw blade.

If after a few test cuts and tilts the angles vary slightly. I would then recommend the jig idea.

Much depends on the accuracy of the saw being used.



-- Cheers, Steve

View Sawdust4Blood's profile


405 posts in 3044 days

#2 posted 10-17-2010 01:47 PM

For me it depends on the piece being cut. My preference is to leave the blade square to the table and use my Incra miter gauge just because it’s usually faster. However, some miter cuts for flag boxes and such are in pieces that are too wide to cut on end (the blade won’t rise that high out of the table on a 10” saw) and then I tilt the blade and cut the piece face down to the table.

One thing that I would point out. Setting the blade to 45 degrees precisely is no more difficult than setting it precisely square to the table it just takes longer than adjusting a miter gauge or using a sled. Whether you choose to use a gauge/sled or move the blade, you’ll need a reliable way of ensuring the blade is set accurately or you’ll end up with gaps in your box/frame miters.

-- Greg, Severn MD

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10521 posts in 3451 days

#3 posted 10-17-2010 01:48 PM

Saw at 90, Kreg miter gauge, and a miterset to verify.
If the piece is too wide, use the Wixey on the tilted blade.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View dusty2's profile


323 posts in 3452 days

#4 posted 10-17-2010 02:20 PM

I know that I am in the wrong league here but I tilt the table (relying on built in, calibrated stops) and use a Wixey to assure myself that I am at the correct angle. I get very reliable and repeatable 45° cuts using this method. It works equally well at 22.5°s.

At other angles I am totally dependent upon the Wixey which does an excellent job.

-- Making Sawdust Safely

View helluvawreck's profile


31351 posts in 2889 days

#5 posted 10-17-2010 02:37 PM

I have dovetailed most of the boxes that I have made so I don’t use a miter joint on boxes. However I have built several corner cabinets over 6 ft tall and have had to make face frames that were two pieces with edges with 22-1/2 degree to yield a 45 degree joint using the biscuit joiner. The cabinets were built in two pieces so the face frames were around 3 and 4 feet long. I did build a glue clamp jig for the clamping. The face frames turned out very nicely and the joints were accurate and closed up well. So I believe that you should be able to get accurate boxes also by tilting the blade and crosscutting them to length. I guess it depends on whether you build a few boxes here and there or if that’s your main hobby. If I built one box after the other I would probably do what the others say and build a good jig for it. If I built a few every now and then I would tilt the blade and get by.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Bob Aquino's profile

Bob Aquino

6 posts in 2802 days

#6 posted 10-17-2010 02:38 PM

I’ve just started on a project to make a jewelry box for my wife for Christmas and a couple of extra “prototypes”. Since the sides are relatively tall and I wanted them mitered, doing it on the tablesaw is about the only way I can think to do it accurately. Yesterday I built a little jig to accomplish that, so far the results are very promising. Its made of baltic birch with a runner to fit the slot and the first use tailors it to the saw.

So far, so good:

When I rebuilt the saw, I took pains to make sure the tilt indicator was accurate and the stops were set correctly. Looks like its coming in pretty accurately. Color me happy.

-- Bob Aquino

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2657 posts in 2945 days

#7 posted 10-17-2010 03:09 PM

I make Lots of small cedar boxes ( about 8”x 12” x 2” ) and I cut the sides at 45 degrees in my sliding mitre saw and they come out great. I make the sides, glue them together and “clamp” in place with rubber bands before glueing on the top and bottom. Simple and quick.

-- Website is No PHD just a DD214 and a GED

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10521 posts in 3451 days

#8 posted 10-17-2010 04:46 PM

Most, including yours truly, would love to possess the experience and skill that defines “your league”.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

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