Need help with 45's

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Forum topic by jeffswildwood posted 02-12-2013 02:28 PM 1112 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3227 posts in 2000 days

02-12-2013 02:28 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Hi Guys. I have a project to do, picture frames, and need help with the 45 degree angles needed for this. I have a bottom of the line skil table saw, all I could afford, and just cant get the angles to come out. I set the miter to 45, no good. I tried the orange triangle to set the miter and that didn’t work. Next I tried a stanley rule with 45 on it and that again was a no go. I can’t make a sled due to the runners on the table top, the grooves have a lip to keep the miter in track making a way to make new runners almost impossible. Trial and error is just not working. Any suggestions?

-- We all make mistakes, the trick is to fix it in a way that says "I meant to do that".

16 replies so far

View chrisstef's profile


17423 posts in 3029 days

#1 posted 02-12-2013 02:32 PM

You can cut your miters as close to 45 as you can get with your gearand then clamp them to a work surface and run your circular saw through the joint. This should give you good mating surfaces as long as the kerf of the blade has made contact with both boards.

Or you could make a shooting board and use a hand plane.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2271 days

#2 posted 02-12-2013 02:38 PM

Are you just using the miter gauge? one of the issues is the piece will tend to “jump” once it touches the spinning blade. Try to make a longer sacrificial fence that attaches to your miter gauge, and clamp down your piece as tight as you can.
I had a cheap Ryobi table saw and there was a lot of slop in the miter gauge (side to side). If your saw has the same, wrap the bar in tin foil to take out the slop. It doesn’t last long, but it works.


View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2657 posts in 2944 days

#3 posted 02-12-2013 02:42 PM

I made a sled to fit the “T” shaped track on my table saw. I found a metal strip that just fit and then I screwed a washer to the bottom of it so that it would not lift out but would slide out the end. Works well for me. Making perfect 45’s is not as easy as it would appear to be. I once saw a video where a guy cut the miters on a scroll saw that looked like parts of a jig saw puzzle, not a straight line.

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

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3181 days

#4 posted 02-12-2013 02:44 PM

Shooting board.

-- jay,

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3671 days

#5 posted 02-12-2013 02:54 PM

if you are using a less than precise saw, and if your saw as any vibrations, or your blade isn’t parallel to your miter slot, or your blade isn’t sharp, or suitable for cross cuts than it’s practically impossible to get good tight miter joints.

+1 for shooting board – don’t try to force the power tool to get you the precision of a handtool.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View bondogaposis's profile


4755 posts in 2374 days

#6 posted 02-12-2013 02:56 PM

There are 2 things critical to making good miter joints. The first is getting a true 45° angle and the other is that opposing sides of any rectangle must be exactly equal in length. The first thing I would do is tune up your table saw and make sure you have a good sharp blade installed. Get an accurate 45° reference to set up your miter gauge, forget about the setting on the miter gauge, they are rarely accurate. Then cut a 45° in some test scrap stock and flip one of the pieces over and mate it with the other side and check to see if is 90° w/ a good square. Keep tweaking the miter gauge and making test cuts until you get an exact 90° from the 2 cut pieces. Then make an extension arm for the miter guage and a stop block. Take your picture frame stock and cut the first 45° then cut the 45° on the other side with the stop block in place to give you the correct length then go ahead and cut the opposing side using the same stop block set up to give 2 mitered pieces of the same length. Then repeat on the other 2 opposing sides to complete your mitered rectangle.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View a1Jim's profile


117115 posts in 3600 days

#7 posted 02-12-2013 03:09 PM

+1 Bondo

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Gerald Thompson's profile

Gerald Thompson

971 posts in 2257 days

#8 posted 02-12-2013 03:11 PM

+2 Shooting Board.

-- Jerry

View Kazooman's profile


1024 posts in 1975 days

#9 posted 02-12-2013 03:22 PM

If the pieces for the frames have flat surfaces then one way to get the opposite sides exactly equal in length is to stack them together and cut them simultaneously. I like to do this by securing them with several pieces of blue painter’s tape wrapped around the pieces.

View DS's profile


2924 posts in 2443 days

#10 posted 02-12-2013 03:40 PM

How about a simple old fashioned Miter Box ?
Solutions as cheap as $7.98

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

View oldnovice's profile


6895 posts in 3390 days

#11 posted 02-12-2013 04:35 PM

+1 DS251

And when you are through making your frame, you can use it for other things like making a precision frame cutiing jig! A precision would include a method to clamp the frame pieces securly and potentially allow putting two “close” cuts together and cut two frame pieces at once. When you cut two simultaneously they will fit much better.

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2698 days

#12 posted 02-12-2013 04:51 PM

How are you setting the miter gauge? Using the scale on it is not good enough. Get a drafting triangle. You can use 2 miter gauges with a board joining them. this works somewhat like a sled and works fairly well. I don’t understand why you can’t use oak runners and make a sled for your table. you could use the runner off your miter gauge and make a sled with one runner. A lot of people do this. I once loaned my miter saw to a fellow. He was trying to be a good neighbor so when he returned it he had a different blade on it (newly sharpened). It was terrible. I couldn’t make a joint that would mate to the other piece let alone make it 90 deg. The blade is important. A sled will probably be the best hope unless that miter box above is available.

View jeffswildwood's profile


3227 posts in 2000 days

#13 posted 02-12-2013 05:25 PM

Right now I am trying taking a board and screwing an edge guide for the side of my table top. When (and if) I hit the 45 ill add a shimmed guide for one of the tracks. I been getting close with this. Is this what is meant by a shooting board?? If all else fails I guess time to go back to “old school” and break out my old miter box. Thanks for all the tips, I am going to try them all, even cleaning my blade, unplugged! By the way, my miter gauge does have a LOT of slop in it. Guess its true, sooner or later someone is going to want a picture frame, that’s when you find out how tough 45’s are!

-- We all make mistakes, the trick is to fix it in a way that says "I meant to do that".

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8205 posts in 2599 days

#14 posted 02-12-2013 06:11 PM

Here’s a couple of shooting boards for ya.

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3181 days

#15 posted 02-12-2013 06:13 PM

DS251, that is far too simple. We are woodworkers and we must unnecessarily complicate things. :)

-- jay,

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