Tips & Tricks: Cutting Perfect Angles

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by MsDebbieP posted 08-14-2011 02:01 PM 23685 views 3 times favorited 30 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 3200 days

08-14-2011 02:01 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tips angle precision

What are your “tips and tricks” (and challenges) re: cutting/sawing wood on exact angles (ex. 90 degrees)


Gateway to all Tips & Tricks Topics

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

30 replies so far

View joey bealis's profile

joey bealis

177 posts in 1546 days

#1 posted 08-14-2011 02:06 PM

Never had any tricks to cut perfect angles just the basics. Good square wood and your tools set up right.


View Don Butler's profile

Don Butler

1053 posts in 2434 days

#2 posted 08-14-2011 02:11 PM

I use a sled on my table saw.
Check the angle on the miter saw frequently.

On other angles, (45, 22.5) I have fixed angle sleds.

My secret?

Never use the miter guage that comes with the saw.

-- No trees were damaged in posting this message, but thousands of electrons were seriously inconvenienced.

View ajosephg's profile


1874 posts in 2600 days

#3 posted 08-14-2011 02:16 PM

Osborne miter gauge

-- Joe

View mainwoodworks's profile


112 posts in 1687 days

#4 posted 08-14-2011 02:21 PM

Take as long as it takes to set up your, table saw, radial saw, or chop saw. The closer the tolerance you can get it, the better the results will be. Check your angles with a drafting triangle. I use a 30 60 90 degree and a 45 90 degree triangle. They are not expensive and are very accurate.

As for the scroll saw, I find it easier to follow the pattern if it is printed in cyan or magenta. The contrasting color from the black blade, makes it much easier to see where the blade is on the pattern. I also have found that putting a screw in each corner (off of the pattern of course) helps me control the turning of a ganged project. And of course keep the bed of all saws waxed ( use “Mothers” wax).

Hope some of this helps

-- Measure twice, cut once, and hope for the best.

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 3200 days

#5 posted 08-14-2011 02:22 PM

I was reading a book on Intarsia and they were showing how to put two pieces together and then cut them at the same time to create the “perfect fit”.
I’ve never done it so can’t be more specific than that.

Now that I think of it, I think someone had posted something similar a few years ago re: cutting two pieces at the same time to always have the perfect “angle” on matching pieces (regardless of what the angle is).

What is the “real” information for this? (As I’m relying on my limited memory and skills)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View BobTheFish's profile


361 posts in 1591 days

#6 posted 08-14-2011 03:39 PM

Ms. Debbie, you do the same for veneers. Lay the one sheet over top the other both face side up, with the edges you want cut lined up, tape the sheets together, then cut through both sheets at the same time. What it does is accommodate for any human error or blade wiggle, because the two pieces will have the same “imperfections” at the same place. The imperfections are complimentary, so they fit together just as perfectly.

I have yet to master it, but it DOES make much more precisely fitting cuts.

View Karson's profile


34987 posts in 3439 days

#7 posted 08-14-2011 04:14 PM

Dennis did something like that on stack cutting on the music box he posted.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


16449 posts in 2715 days

#8 posted 08-14-2011 08:23 PM

Debbie, Yoiu stole me thunder ;-)) Guess I am now tipless ;-((

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 3200 days

#9 posted 08-14-2011 11:23 PM

oops :) Sorry T.S.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View WayneC's profile


12635 posts in 3136 days

#10 posted 08-14-2011 11:29 PM

Shooting boards can be used to trim the wood after cuts, making angles exact…..

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

8439 posts in 3091 days

#11 posted 08-15-2011 12:00 AM



-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View glue4you's profile


162 posts in 1519 days

#12 posted 08-15-2011 12:17 AM

Strange thing I find is: The older the machines the better the results. Bought a DW320 radial arm saw recently. Set it up once, works fine. If I do the same with my 2001 table saw I can adjust, double check, measure twice and cut once. But once I cut, it’s out of square. I still hope it’s not me.

I do what bentlyj suggests: I make test cuts on scrap.

In addition, I find these Japanese razor saws with the fixed angle guides (the ones with the magnets that you clamp on) really helpful. Have one for cutting dovetails and will soon buy one for perfect 90 and 45 degree cuts. I like the fact that you don’t have to check anything apart from one straight edge on your stock, but you need that anyway. If you use a saw with inline teeth there’s no way you could possibly screw up that cut. Problem with that technique is, that you can’t easily batch out multiples as with a ts and stop blocks. If you need consistent lenghts you have to find a way to achieve that.

-- Alex ----- Bavaria in Germany

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

8439 posts in 3091 days

#13 posted 08-15-2011 12:39 AM


”with the fixed angle guides”

Could you please post a link to some of those?

Sounds good…

Thank you.

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View Grumpy's profile


20617 posts in 2890 days

#14 posted 08-15-2011 12:39 AM

If you don’t have a mitre saw there is a very simple way to get the perfect cut.
1. Mark your mitres and cut with a hand saw.
2. put your two cut pieces together
3. If there are any gaps run a thin blade like a hacksaw or pull saw through the joint.
4. Keep repeating the process until you have a perfect joint.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

1981 posts in 1961 days

#15 posted 08-15-2011 03:08 PM

msdebbie; .................. I cut two pieces of wood at a time a lot. This is how I do inlays. Just tilt the table 3.7 degrees and after cutting the top piece drops into the bottom one perfectly. (This is called Double Bevel Inlay) With the table level I have done intarsia by stack cutting different types of wood for a perfect fit. Easy to do. Both intarsia and inlay came out perfect the first try.

-- "Just my opinion, I may be right"

showing 1 through 15 of 30 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics