Compound mightier saw

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Forum topic by electricalD posted 554 days ago 894 views 0 times favorited 28 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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115 posts in 1743 days

554 days ago

Hello everyone,
I am new to woodworking and soon to start purchasing the big tools for my shop. The first is a saw stop table saw. I was thinking about all the bigger tools and was wondering. Is there really a need for a compound mitre saw? If I have a table saw and I already got a Festool TS55 Plunge Cut saw, is a mitre saw justified? I see most people have either one on a bench or on some manufactured device. Your thoughts.


-- If there were no God, there would be no atheists, G. K. Chesterton

28 replies so far

View muleskinner's profile


668 posts in 1070 days

#1 posted 554 days ago

All I can tell you is that they’re great for cutting compound miters. :) I’ve always had at least a radial arm saw so have never had to depend solely on a table saw for miters and am glad of that. I have a SCMS now and I have no problem justifying it.

-- Visualize whirled peas

View crank49's profile


3378 posts in 1604 days

#2 posted 554 days ago

I think I may be in the minority here, but I find a miter saw very useful. I also do not like using a crosscut sled on the table saw. So there are two prefferences that run counter to the general trends here on LJ.

For me, a miter saw is the best way to get perfect, square or mitered cross cuts in long stock.
It’s safe, fast and repeatable.

The only time I revert to the table saw is when I have to cut something that is wider than 6” because that’s the limit of my miter saw.

I know that a sliding compound miter saw would increase that capacity to 12”, but those saws are too expensive for my taste. and a RAS would have even more capacity, but those things scare the hell out of me.

So, for me it’s my simple 10” miter saw for almost all short or long, and narrow cross cuts and table saw or band saw for everything else. If I had it to do again I might go with a 12” miter saw.

Now, if I had a Festool plunge saw, I might have a different perspective. but I just like the simplicity of plopping a 10ft board up on the mitersaw bench and sliding it through and chopping off the parts for my cut list and then moving on to the next station.

-- Michael :-{| “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― A H

View Manitario's profile


2304 posts in 1516 days

#3 posted 554 days ago

I have a mitre saw and I use it pretty much every time I woodwork. It is great for cutting wood to its final dimensions. I have my MS set up carefully so it is as accurate as my TS and way quicker to crosscut something to length.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View JesseTutt's profile


803 posts in 744 days

#4 posted 554 days ago

Like Manitario I have a accurate miter saw and use it for most cross cuts. On extremely precise cuts on small pieces I will use a sled.

-- Jesse, Saint Louis, Missouri

View DKV's profile


3077 posts in 1137 days

#5 posted 554 days ago

Jesse, can you give me an example of extremely precise cuts on small pieces? Thanks

-- 2014 will be a different least for me it will.

View runswithscissors's profile


907 posts in 658 days

#6 posted 554 days ago

The longer the stock, the more preferable is the miter saw. Really long pieces are difficult to move accurately and steadily for crosscuts on the TS.

View RVroman's profile


163 posts in 657 days

#7 posted 554 days ago

Another vote for the table saw and the compound miter saw. I use both quite often. I also agree with Jesse that when I have to do small accurate pieces (such as for a segmented bowl) I find the table saw with an Incra miter gauge more accurate than the miter saw.

-- Robert --- making toothpicks one 3x3x12 blank at a time!

View Grandpa's profile


3098 posts in 1309 days

#8 posted 554 days ago

You will get as many different opinions as there are people answering. I have 2 miter saws and 5 table saws. I seldom use more than 2 of them. I have a 12 inch compound miter saw, a 9 inchmiter saw and I use them a good bit. I am about to set up a radial arm saw too. I do like collecting tools. The miter saws have their place but if you are cutting small pieces of wood you don’t want your gingers down there near that 12 inch blade. On the other hand it is difficult to slide wood on a table and keep thing accurate. I think you can get a good sled the table saw is good for angles too. If you need to adjust the cut 1 degree then you better have a real good sled and be able to adjust it by the degree. I think it is a matter of preference and wht you can learn to do. You need to learn to use your tools. Often it depends on wht you started with. That is the go to tool.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

13826 posts in 971 days

#9 posted 554 days ago

I personally wouldn’t be without a good miter saw. Maybe it’s just cause I always have had one. I don’t like doing small parts on table saw.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it. - It's not ability that we often lack, but the patience to use our ability

View Nighthawk's profile


436 posts in 990 days

#10 posted 554 days ago

My compound sliding mitre saw is the work horse in my basement… it will gets used on every project and does most cuts except ripping the longer lengths…

However as said before every shop is different… you need to know what you will be making and the stood stock you have to use to make it from… Then add in budget, space in your shop…

For a long time I was with out a table saw… I just used a straight egde and a circular saw to do the same thing… There are many different ways of doing the same thing using different tools…

-- Rome wasn't built in a day... but I wasn't on that job? ...

View oldnovice's profile


3714 posts in 2001 days

#11 posted 554 days ago

If you have the room, buy a good!
They are very useful and sometimes it’s easier to move the blade than the wood!

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

View Purrmaster's profile


777 posts in 726 days

#12 posted 554 days ago

Miter saws are great. It’s true that you can do most of the things on a table saw that you can do on a miter saw.

I’ve got both and I use the miter saw all the time. It’s faster and easier to set up a crosscut on the miter saw than the table saw, especially on long pieces. Slapping a board on the miter saw and giving it a quick chop is much faster than setting up the table saw.

I also think a miter saw is generally safer. Because there is pretty much always a guard between you and the blade on the miter saw.

Once you have a miter saw you’ll find yourself using it constantly.

View shelly_b's profile


841 posts in 751 days

#13 posted 554 days ago

First I want to say that I am very jealous that you are just starting and already have a saw stop AND festool plunge cut saw:) I started a year ago and still have all the same craigs list tools I bought then…anyway, my compound miter gets use with pretty much every project. It really speeds things up. I would def get one if I were you. Esp if you make a station, then you don’t have to set up a place to stick a board to safely cut with a circ. saw. Good luck!

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4119 posts in 1490 days

#14 posted 554 days ago

I’ve the lot, TS, RAS, Wall mounted panelsaw, various chop & compound miter saws
all get used reguarly even my portable circular saw.
So I have the choice for most cuts, you wont regret adding the Miter saw to your collection
especially when you have a project requiring many set up changes. Just make sure you get a
12” crosscut and the facility to do dado’s
my 2p worth (UK = 2c)

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View knotscott's profile


5428 posts in 2009 days

#15 posted 554 days ago

My CMS collects dust unless I’m cutting very long boards or molding that I can’t do on the TS. A good TS setup is inherently more accurate than a CMS. That’s not saying that it can’t be accurate enough, or that it doesn’t have any use….just saying that mine gets a lot less use than the TS.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

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